Earlier today, Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy stated that a new Indiana Jones movie may be on the cards. Specifically, she said that a new Indiana Jones film “will one day be made inside this company [that would be Lucasfilm, owned by Disney].
“When it will happen, I’m not quite sure. We haven’t started working on a script yet, but we are talking about it.”
Kennedy, incidentally, was Steven Spielberg’s executive producer from 1982 until 2012, so it’s more than likely that when she opines that Lucasfilm is talking about a new film featuring everyone’s favourite fedora-wearing archaeology professor, it’s likely to happen in short order – possibly once she wraps up JJ Abrams’s new Star Wars film.
The thing is, that if we’d heard talk of a new Indiana Jones film before 2008, we’d have been really excited. Of course, that was before we sat through Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, a film so bad that it not only made us want to forget the franchise as a going concern, it supplanted the term ‘jumping the shark’ with ‘nuking the fridge’.
It’s probably too much to ask that LucasArts just let Indy retire his fedora with any amount of dignity and respect. So since it looks like we’re stuck with a new Indiana Jones film, here’s what we’d like to see – and not see – from a sequel.
A New Indiana Jones
For the '80s and '90s generation, Harrison Ford will always be Indiana Jones – in much the same way as Sean Connery was James Bond for our parents. But even though Mr Ford acquitted himself admirably in the last Jones instalment – however turgid it was – he’s a bit long in the tooth now to be getting dragged behind convoys, leaping out of planes with only a dingy to break his fall and stuffing flagpoles between the front-wheel spokes of motorcycles.
If Indy stands a chance of being rebooted as an action franchise, it’s going to need some new blood. This idea isn’t all that left-of-the-dial, either. Harrison Ford isn’t the only bloke to have played Dr Jones; Sean Patrick Flannery played him in the TV show and River Phoenix showed that with a few grimaces and eye-glints, it was possible to approximate Harrison Ford for a 20-minute stretch. Furthermore, while getting another actor other than Ford to play Jones may strike some as sacrilege, Tom Hardy looks set to improve on Mel Gibson’s work in this year’s Mad Max movie, so this sort of thing isn’t unheard of. Seriously, give Chris Pine a bullwhip and a leather jacket and see what happens.
No Shia Labeouf Please!
We don’t have it in for Shia Labeouf (yes we do –ed.). We don’t have a problem with him propping up Michael Bay’s Transformers films (er, what? –ed.) or putting a bag on his head and wigging out at a red carpet event (you serious –ed.). We even don’t have a problem with him appearing in a weirdly creepy music video (ewwwwww –ed.) if that’s what passes for art these days. But he has no business in an Indiana Jones film. To be honest, we wouldn’t be surprised if he’d been cast in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull to take some of the heat off Harrison Ford playing Indiana Jones as he marched through the back end of middle age.
When Shia’s character stooped to pick up Indy’s fedora at the end of that movie, our blood froze as we envisioned a whole new series of films and TV shows starring Shia as Mutt Jones in Mutt’s High Adventures or The Mutt Jones Chronicles. That frame came within a whisker of nuking our love for this film franchise, so let’s try and avoid that in any sequels, yes?
Less ET and More Occult
Indiana Jones has always existed in that weird space where superstition, occult belief and ancient lore are real enough to kill you. It doesn’t really require much suspension of disbelief to accept that sacred stones confer power or the ark of the covenant has it in for the Nazis at a time where the Jazz Age is about to meet the Second World War head on.
Aliens, however, seem completely out of sync with this time’s aesthetic. Furthermore, when they popped up at the end of the last film, they looked downright stupid. Seriously, leave that stuff to the X-Files and get Indiana back underground investigating temples, tombs and caverns. You know – the stuff he’s good at.
No Animatronic Monkeys!
The moment in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull where the monkeys help Mutt escape through the trees was as much of a deal-breaker in this franchise as when Indy was blown up by a nuclear bomb and survived by hiding in a fridge.
We're not against animals cropping up in Indy films at all: the monkey in Raiders and the elephant in Temple of Doom were great. But once Industrial Light and Magic starts supplying the wildlife, some semblance of reality goes clean out the window. And since this franchise relies on its audience buying into the idea of sacred stones, immortal knights and melting Nazis, we'd opine it needs all of the help it can get.