Indiana Jones series producer Frank Marshall recently claimed–contrary to rumors of a Bradley Cooper/Chris Pratt-type filling the role for future installments–that a hypothetical Indy 5 would not do “the Bond thing where we’re going to call somebody else Indiana Jones.” Now series mastermind Steven Spielberg has doubled down on this rhetoric, telling Screen Daily that adventure still has a name: Harrison Ford.
“I don’t think anyone could replace Harrison as Indy, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen,” confirmed Spielberg. “It’s certainly not my intention to ever have another actor step into his shoes in the way there have been many actors that have played Spider-Man or Batman. There is only going to be one actor playing Indiana Jones and that’s Harrison Ford.”
A lot of people may wonder why Spielberg would want to return to this well after years of creative struggle resulted in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which has become something of a punchline in the director’s filmography. It might have something to do with the fact that, despite the bitter reception it received, the fourth Indy installment still stands as the director’s highest-grossing movie of the last 22 years. Let that sink in for a second. Now imagine how much it would have made if the film was well-received? Yeah.
“Because there are more adventures out there than films,” Spielberg stated as his reason to want to do another. “So as long as there’s more adventures out there, I’ve got a bullwhip, a fedora, a leather jacket and a man on a horse who knows how to get the job done.”
With Ford now 73-years old and Academy Award winner Spielberg turning 69 on December 18, a fifth Indiana Jones seems like something that needs to happen sooner rather than later. Not that we have any doubts that an elder Spielberg can still bring the heat (70-year-old George Miller proved with Mad Max: Fury Road that geezers can make action movies too) and there’s probably a sense from all major parties (George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, etc) that they don’t want the series to go out taking one on the chin. Frank Darabont’s superior script for part 4 was scrapped because Lucas wanted the film to have more action, Spielberg chose to shoot the whole globe-trotting story in the U.S. to be closer to his family, Shia LaBeouf publicly trashed it and John Hurt quipped about “the lack of enjoyment in making it.” The biggest problem with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was it was so concerned with pleasing all the people making it that they forgot about the ones who would be watching it, ultimately failing to please anybody. It’s not likely they’ll make that mistake again.