Disney purchased Lucasfilm for the small sum of $4 billion in 2012, and immediately went to work on ushering in the new era of Star Wars on film. Shortly after the transaction, the movie that would become Star Wars: The Force Awakens was green lit, and an entire slate of projects set in a galaxy far, far away was announced – with the Mouse House replicating Marvel’s annual release pattern with their latest acquisition. But, as many moviegoers know, Star Wars is hardly the only massive franchise Lucasfilm has at its disposal.
The studio is also the home of the famed Indiana Jones action/adventure series, starring Harrison Ford as the titular world-renowned archeologist. Rumors of a possible fifth installment have been swirling around for years, and recently Disney officially announced that Indiana Jones 5 (not the actual title) has been pegged for a July 2019 release. Steven Spielberg will once again be in the director’s chair, with Ford reprising one of his most iconic roles yet again. Everybody’s theorizing about what might happen, including us. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Things We Want To See In Indiana Jones 5.
10. Practical Visual Effects
When the promotional campaign for The Force Awakens was in full swing, a major point of emphasis was highlighting the use of practical special effects and locations. Though CGI was a must in such a massive blockbuster, J.J. Abrams shot as much in-camera as possible. It would be nice then, if Lucasfilm’s initiative extended to their other big property and Spielberg went back to the old school techniques that were used to perfection in the original trilogy. Much like the first Star Wars films, the classic Indy flicks sported fantastic effects work, with Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Temple of Doom taking home Oscars.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was seen as a departure, thanks to digital gophers and monkeys swinging in the jungle. A tangible aspect of the first three films was lost, causing there to be a disconnect between the audience and the story. Since Indiana Jones 5 will surely have a massive budget, some CGI is to be expected, but since the films take place on Earth (and not a fictional galaxy), there’s no reason to overuse it. Go back to what worked so well before.
9. Great Supporting Cast
Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinema, but even he needs some help. His allies over the years have become just as integral a part of the franchise as Dr. Jones. Fans have fond memories of characters like Marcus Brody and Sallah, and even Short Round has his fans. We’d be remiss to not mention the incomparable Sean Connery as Henry Jones, Sr., Indiana’s father and a primary reason why The Last Crusade was such a great film. In addition, the “Indy girls” each lent their own charm, most noticeably the feisty Marion Ravenwood in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
For a handful of reasons, it’s impossible to get the old band back together again, but it’s still a must to give Indy valuable companions for his latest journey. Whether that means the return of a familiar face (an adult Short Round teaming with Jones could work very well), or a brand new character working with Dr. Jones, the new film could possibly live or die on the strength of the supporting players. We all love Indiana, but if he has some unbearable friends, the nostalgia will wear off real quick. Fingers crossed, at the very least, John Rhys-Davies returns as Sallah, something he’s mentioned he’s game for.
8. Realistic Stunts
As hard as it is to believe, Harrison Ford will have celebrated his 77th birthday by the time Indiana Jones 5 reaches theaters. The actor is truly an ageless wonder (he delivered a great performance in The Force Awakens), but it’s something that Spielberg must keep in mind when choreographing the action sequences. Audiences are going to be aware of Ford’s advancing age when they settle in to watch the film, so it’s pertinent to keep the proceedings grounded in some sort of reality and not do anything over-the-top with Indy.
This shouldn’t be too hard to achieve, since Ford gracefully handled Han Solo’s action bits in The Force Awakens. Nobody is saying that Indiana Jones should stay on the sidelines, Spielberg and company just have to work with the actor they have now and resist the temptation to relive the glory days. Indy, much like Ford, is no longer in his prime, and he can’t get dragged by a truck or leap on to tanks anymore. The prior movies all had memorable stunts and action sequences, so hopefully the filmmakers can continue the tradition.
7. Gruesome Violence
Whether it’s Nazi faces melting or hearts being pulled out of chests, Indiana Jones deaths can be the stuff of nightmares. The content was so extreme in The Temple of Doom that it led to the MPAA creating the PG-13 rating, which is now the coveted mark for Hollywood tentpoles. Simply put, gruesome killings and dismemberments are a key part of the Indy formula. The action wouldn’t have left much of an impact without guys being shredded by plane propellers or eaten by crocodiles. And more often than not, Indy was the source of much carnage, straight up murdering a number of his foes.
That all changed in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Indy apparently tamed in his elder years, as he is directly responsible for a single death in the fourth installment. That did not sit well with many longtime fans, who were used to the character killing several enemies en route to accomplishing his mission. People were always trying to kill Indy, so he had to fight for his life and kill them right back. Even though Lucasfilm is now under the Disney banner, they’re not exactly sanitizing their action scenes (blood smeared on the stormtrooper helmet), so ideally Indiana Jones 5 will the triumphant return of a violent Dr. Jones.
6. John Williams Score
Much like Star Wars, the Indiana Jones franchise has an instantly recognizable musical theme created by the maestro John Williams. As part of his long-running relationship with Spielberg, Williams composed the scores for the previous four films, so it wouldn’t seem right if he didn’t come back for the fifth. He’s arguably as much a part of the series as Spielberg and Ford. Even if it’s just for one final time, it would be great to have Williams return to the Indy well, just as he did for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and help enthrall a new generation with the character.
Williams may not be as prolific now as he was early in his career, when he seemingly redefined movie music, but he’s still at the top of his game. His score for The Force Awakens earned the living legend his 50th Oscar nomination, and included some memorable cues like “Rey’s Theme” and “The Jedi Steps.” As long as he’s up for the task, Williams should be welcomed back with open arms. If Spielberg and Ford are at it again, why not Williams?
5. A Great Script
Much like The Force Awakens, Indiana Jones 5 will mark the first time in the series that George Lucas is not involved with crafting the story. Depending on who you ask, that’s a positive development, since Lucas was the catalyst behind the sci-fi and alien elements of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Spielberg was reluctant to run with that angle, but finally caved so they could make the film. In the end, Lucas might have been better served listening to his friend, since the narrative of the fourth film was seen as one of its weakest elements.
Now, Spielberg should be relatively free to design the adventure that he personally wants to do – with the input of a screenwriter, of course. Disney’s announcement made no mention of who’s penning the script, but since Indy 5 won’t be released for more than three years, they’re not in any rush. That length of time should prove to be a benefit, since the team has a while to iron out all the details. Of paramount importance will be giving Indy a strong McGuffin to find, something similar to the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail. An adventure of good vs. evil needs high stakes, after all.
4. A Compelling Villain
They say a story is only as good as its villain, and the previous Indiana Jones films have had their fair share of great ones. Belloq was the ideal foil for Dr. Jones, always getting an edge on his rival until the bitter end. Mola Ram was the embodiment of pure evil, keeping children as slaves in his temple of doom and ripping out the hearts of sacrifices to the gods. Elsa Schneider and Donovan were affiliated with the Nazi party, looking for the Grail for their own purposes and to advance Hitler’s agenda. Each one gave Indy a new challenge to deal with, and were intimidating adversaries that absolutely had to be stopped.
You may notice that Cate Blanchett’s Irina Spalko is missing from the above paragraph, and that’s because she was hardly as great a threat as her predecessors. She wasn’t exactly memorable, and was hardly portrayed as a true villain. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did not make a real effort to explain why the Russians winning would be horrible, a stark contrast from Nazis harnessing ultimate destructive power or child slave laborers continuing to prosper under cover of darkness. With Soviets/Communists once again serving as the antagonists (in a proposed 1960s setting), the challenge is to make them a serious danger to the safety of the world.
3. Limited Callbacks to Previous Films
Much like the old James Bond films, the Indiana Jones movies more or less exist as their own standalone stories. Sure, there’s connective tissue between the installments (especially so in Crystal Skull), but the franchise is not like Star Wars or Lord of the Rings, where the individual movies work together to tell a larger, cohesive narrative. Since Spielberg isn’t working with a real elaborate continuity, he has the ability to make something that’s independent from what’s come before. He can create something that’s mostly new and doesn’t rely on the older films.
Obviously, there will be some callbacks to the previous adventures; whenever a franchise runs as long as this, that’s inevitable. Still, it’s vital that the Indiana Jones 5 story stands on its own merits and doesn’t overdo it on the nostalgic vibes. Some felt this was a shortcoming of The Force Awakens, but that film still did enough differently that the comparisons didn’t detract from the experience. If Indy 5 can achieve something similar, then fans should be in for a treat. And Spielberg is a smart enough filmmaker to resist the temptation of going back to the well, so there shouldn’t be much to worry about.
2. Focus On The Hero, Not His Family
The last two Indy films sported large roles for the title character’s family members. His father went along for the ride in The Last Crusade, while his son and eventual wife were a part of Crystal Skull. The results of this have been somewhat mixed. Henry Jones, Sr. is a fan-favorite addition, but after the fourth film, few will be clamoring for more time with Marion and Mutt. For all intents and purposes, their time in the series may be over, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
From a narrative standpoint, there isn’t really anywhere to go with that particular bunch of characters. The focus on Indiana Jones 5 should be on the hero, with a minor role (at best) for relatives. Placing him with a different group of people, fans will ideally be able to see a new side of Dr. Jones as he forms more relationships. Karen Allen and Shia LaBeouf could cameo, or just be mentioned in lines of dialogue, but they shouldn’t factor heavily into the plot. They have very little, if anything, left to contribute to the franchise.
1. A Definitive Ending
Indiana Jones 5 is going to have to work overtime to justify its existence, since the series has already seen one perfect ending in The Last Crusade, with Indy riding off into the sunset with his friends after discovering the Holy Grail. Spielberg had intended for that shot to be the closing of the book, but he came back years later to end Dr. Jones’ story with him getting married (a solid end point, though not as strong as before). Now, we’re three years away from the next “final” chapter in the archeologist’s life. And this time it should provide fans with a definitive conclusion.
It’s long been reported that Lucasfilm will not recast Indiana Jones, maintaining that only Ford will wear the fedora. Again, the actor will be 77 by the time Indy 5 premieres, so it does not seem like multiple sequels are on the horizon. This could very well be the end of the road for Dr. Jones. It’s interesting that Spielberg is directing the fifth film, since he realized that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a bump in the road. He perhaps sees this as a shot at redemption to amend a past mistake and complete the series on a high note. Hopefully he has one thrilling finale in store, and bringing the character back one more time will be a worthwhile exercise.
It’s easy to forget now, but there was a time when some people were skeptical of The Force Awakens, out of fear that the reputations of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia would be sullied. After all, fans had been burned by the prequels, so “new Star Wars” was something to be viewed with cautious optimism. Something similar could be said about Indiana Jones 5. They tried to do this already, and it didn’t work, so why do it again?
But, The Force Awakens was successful – both critically and commercially. It brought the series back to its glory years, and now it’s virtually impossible to think of the saga without its seventh chapter. Return of the Jedi seemed to end on a high note, but there was obviously more story to tell. Lucasfilm is trying to work their magic again with Indy 5, and if they handle the return of Dr. Jones as masterfully as the return of Han Solo, then this could be as vital an installment as the ones moviegoers hold near and dear to their hearts. At the very least, it’s best to wait and see what they come up with.
Indiana Jones 5 will hit theaters July 19, 2019.