Indiana Jones 5 is a Go!

Indiana Jones
Indiana Jones.

Disney, the new owners of LucasFilm have just announced the production start of Indiana Jones 5, with Steven Spielberg in the director's chair!  The film will hit theaters July 19, 2019.  As usual, the film will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Franck Marshall.  George Lucas is not involved with the film in anyway (more on that below!) 

There's a lot to say about this, but they're unconnected random thoughts:

  • It was unknown if Disney was going to use LucasFilm for anything other than Star Wars.  In an article I did estimating how many Star Wars films it would take to earn back their multi-billion purchase, I didn't include Indiana Jones, LucasFilm's other big property.  If they're also going to exploit the Indiana Jones franchise for at least one more film (though many more would be difficult given Harrison Ford's advancing age), this is only going to make the purchase of Lucasfilm that much more profitable.
  • Harrison Ford is on some sort of resurgence, going back in his old age to re-play all the famous iconic characters that made him a movie star in the first place.  Not only is he coming back for a fifth Indiana Jones film, but, of course, there was his recent starring role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he's recently wrapped filming on a Blade Runner sequel set to be released January 2018
  • There were a lot of rumors for awhile that Chris Pratt would be taking over the iconic role, but Spielberg recently went on the record to say that there's only one character that can play Indiana Jones and that's Harrison Ford.
  • There's also internet conjecture (take it for what you will) that both Spielberg and Ford were frustrated with the public's reaction to the last film in the franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.  While the film did smashingly well at the box office (after all, who wasn't going to go see a new Indiana Jones film since it had been decades since the last one was in cinemas?) it was not a hit with either critics or fans, who derided the injection of Area 51 and UFOs as too silly, even for a pulp action franchise.  
  • George Lucas, having sold his LucasFilm studios to Disney, is not involved at all in this film.  Previously, it had taken so long for an Indiana Jones film to come out because both Lucas and Spielberg had to agree on the concept and the script.  With Lucas out of the picture, Spielberg is free to make his own Indian Jones vision and Disney is likely going to be light on control and just let Spielberg make his film.  However, I have to wonder if this is going to create any friction in the supposedly close friendship between Lucas and Spielberg; Lucas is already on record as not having ben pleased with how the new Star Wars film turned out and suggesting at seller's remorse for losing control over the characters and Universe that he's resided over with total power for the last 30 years.  Will he also lament his lack of ability to control the new Indiana Jones film?
  • Of course, Indiana Jones fans blame Lucas for the last film in the franchise (which, was written by Lucas) as being derived from the same rotten cloth as the Star Wars prequels that are so maligned.  (Personally, I think the action sequences in the prequels are fantastic, it's just the dialogue and characters that are poorly conceived.)  With Lucas out of the picture, what kind of Indiana Jones can we expect.

    Okay, my random thoughts out of the way, I'll close with this:  I'm excited.  The Indiana Jones films are, adjusted for inflation, the most profitable action franchise of all time, and Indiana Jones remains the singular most influential action hero of all time; Raiders of the Lost Ark set the template for how action films should be made.

    (To click on the Best and Worst of Archeological Adventuring Action Films, click here!)