Everyone’s favorite swashbuckling archaeologist is headed back to the big screen in the upcoming fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. The latest update confirms that this chapter of the series is likely to be the final one for its franchise star.
The film is set to be directed once again by Steven Spielberg, with franchise creator George Lucas on board as executive producer. The sequel currently known as Indiana Jones 5 will also bring back Harrison Ford as Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones, reuniting the actor-director duo from all four of the prior installments in the franchise.
Currently scheduled to hit theaters July 10, 2020, and based on a script by Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull writer David Koepp, here’s everything we know about Indiana Jones 5 so far.
Goodbye, Dr. Jones? (Hello, Dr. Joan?)
Indiana Jones’ next adventure could be his last — or the last one for Harrison Ford, at least.
While promoting his sci-fi film Ready Player One, director Steven Spielberg indicated that the still-untitled fifth Indiana Jones movie will be Ford’s final performance as the iconic character.
“This will be Harrison Ford’s last Indiana Jones movie, I am pretty sure, but it will certainly continue after that,” he told The Sun.
As for who will pick up the fedora after Ford, Spielberg hinted that he’d consider an actress taking over the franchise. It’s time the character took “a different form,” argued Spielberg, and expressed a willingness to cast a female lead in the title role — with a slight modification.
“We’d have to change the name from ‘Jones’ to ‘Joan,'” he joked. “And there would be nothing wrong with that.”
While receiving an award at 2018’s Empire Awards, Spielberg revealed that filming will officially begin on the fifth Indiana Jones movie in April 2019 in the U.K.
“It’s always worth the trip when I get to work with this deep bench of talent coming out of the U.K.,” he said. “The actors, and the crew, the chippies, the sparks, the drivers — everybody who has helped me make my movies here,and will continue helping me make my movies here, when I come back in April 2019 to make the fifth Indiana Jones movie right here.”
Answering the call
Various cast members from the four previous films have expressed an interest in returning for the fifth installment of the franchise, but official confirmations have been hard to come by so far.
One of the only certainties at this point is the absence of Shia LaBeouf in the new film. The Transformers actor played Mutt Williams, Indiana’s son with Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), in 2008’s Crystal Skull. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Koepp confirmed that LaBeouf will not be reprising that role.
“Harrison plays Indiana Jones, that I can certainly say,” said Koepp. “And the Shia LaBeouf character is not in the film.”
Franchise actor John Rhys-Davies told Digital Spy in February 2016 that he’d be up for reprising his role as Sallah in the next film if the character had a “meaningful” role to play in the film. This is a marked departure from his earlier stance on the series, given that he declined a role in Crystal Skull due to the nature of the character’s proposed part in that film.
During the 2016 Toronto ComiCon, actress Karen Allen also indicated she hopes to have a role in the new film for her franchise character, Marion, who appeared in both Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Crystal Skull.
The story continues … or does it?
Details are scarce regarding the plot of Indiana Jones 5, but there are ample amounts of speculation and rumors to consider.
The rumor about INDY 5 is completely false. Nothing has changed, we are not shooting next year and still in the research phase…
— Frank Marshall (@LeDoctor) June 9, 2010
Nevertheless, Marshall later added that the fifth movie will be a continuation of the events following Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, rather than any sort of reboot or prequel. Beyond that, one thing that’s certain is that we won’t see Ford’s iconic character killed off in the fifth Indiana Jones feature.
“The one thing I will tell you is I’m not killing off Harrison [Ford] at the end of it,” said Spielberg of his plans for the film in a June 2016 interview.
Lucas’ involvement appears to be more limited than on past films, as Koepp indicated a few months later that Lucas “is not (involved), to my knowledge.”
“I’ve had no contact with him,” explained Koepp, indicating that the fifth film in the franchise could be the first installment without story input from Lucas.
Specific plot details regarding the fifth film’s story remain under wraps.
On again, off again
Initial plans for a sequel to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull appeared to fizzle out in mid-2012 when Marshall suggested that 2008’s Crystal Skull was “the last hurrah” for the series’ titular hero. Things got even murkier when Disney acquired Lucasfilm later that year.
However, after several years of Disney and Lucasfilm executives hinting about a potential fifth installment of the franchise, the project was officially confirmed in May 2015 by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. Spielberg’s attachment as the film’s director was also reconfirmed, and he added that franchise creator George Lucas would serve as an executive producer on the film.
“I would never make an Indiana Jones film without George Lucas,” said Spielberg in a June 2016 interview while promoting his film The BFG. “That’d be insane.”
Although all of the major figures are involved in the project, the fifth film could still be the final chapter in the original arc of the series. In an interview conducted later that same month, Disney CEO Bog Iger told The Hollywood Reporter that the current plan for the franchise involved “a continuum and then a reboot of some sort.”
Timing is everything
Asked about the possibility of a fifth film, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in 2015 that another Indiana Jones movie “will one day be made inside this company. When it will happen, I’m not quite sure. We haven’t started working on a script yet, but we are talking about it.”
Just shy of a year later, Walt Disney Studios assigned the fifth installment of the franchise a release date of July 19, 2019.
That release date held up for just over a year before Disney reshuffled its release calendar, pushing the still-untitled fifth Indiana Jones movie back to a new release date of July 10, 2020. In its place, Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King was scheduled for the July 2019 weekend previously set aside for the Indiana Jones sequel.
Dr. Jones, we presume?
As rumors regarding a potential fifth installment of the Indiana Jones heated up in early 2015, an unconfirmed report began circulating online that Disney was considering Jurassic World and Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt as a potential replacement for Harrison Ford in a rebooted Indiana Jones series.
When asked about the report later that month by TMZ, Pratt seemed a bit less certain he’d be donning Indiana Jones’ fedora any time soon.
Talk of anyone replacing Ford in the iconic role died down as it became more certain that the franchise star would indeed be reprising the role of intrepid archaeologist Indiana Jones. Ford’s return was eventually confirmed by Marshall in October 2015.
Ford will be three days shy of his 78th birthday when the film hits theaters.
The sound of adventure
Five-time Academy Award winner John Williams has been a staple of the Indiana Jones franchise, having composed the score for all four films in the series.
Williams’ return for the fifth installment of the franchise was confirmed in early June 2016 during an event where the composer was honored by the American Film Institute. His involvement was confirmed by none other than Spielberg.
— Scott Mantz (@MovieMantz) June 10, 2016
When Williams returns, he’ll be looking to replicate the success he had with the first three Indiana Jones movies, which each earned Academy Award nominations for their score. That run ended with the much-maligned fourth film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which did not receive a nomination.
Updated on April 5: Added confirmation from Steven Spielberg that the fifth film will be the last one to star Harrison Ford.
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