Producer Frank Marshall: ‘No Ideas’ for ‘Indiana Jones 5′

Published 3 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 10:00 pm,

Easily one of the most iconic characters of the 1980s, Indiana Jones helped cement George Lucas and Steven Spielberg as the go-to-guys for epic (and laugh-out-loud) action adventure. However, in spite of a solid story foundation (about an archaeologist/professor/adventurer out to unearth the world’s greatest mysteries) that would seemingly make for a steady stream of Indiana Jones stories (much like the James Bond movies), the filmmakers and star, Harrison Ford, limited the character to a trilogy of (mostly) solid films.

Until 2008, when heavy-hitters Spielberg, Lucas, Harrison, and… Shia LaBeouf brought the character back to the big screen for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A near-universally panned misadventure full of bizarre story choices and (arguably) sloppy filmmaking, the film also left a door wide open for potential sequels – sequels that, according to producer Frank Marshall, aren’t likely to ever be filmed.

Previously, both Ford and Spielberg had indicated that the basic Indiana Jones 5 story had been established – and that it was up to Lucas to flesh that core idea into a script.

In a dated interview with Ford, the actor laid out the trio’s process for developing Indiana Jones movies:

“We come to some basic agreement and then George goes away for a long time and works on it. Then Steven and I get it in some form, some embryonic form. Then if we like it we start working with George on it and at some point down the line it’s ready and we do it.”

At that time, Ford claimed: “Steven and George and I are sort of agreed on a germ of an idea and we’re seeing what comes of it” - with Spielberg updating press on the project over a year later: “George is in charge of breaking the stories [...] He is working on Indy V. We haven’t gone to screenplay yet, but he’s working on the story. I’ll leave it to George to come up with a good story.

Indiana Jones Blu Ray Collection Fall 2012 Producer Frank Marshall: No Ideas for Indiana Jones 5

Several years back, Marshall seemed optimistic about the possibility of another Indy adventure but now, speaking with Collider, the Hollywood veteran behind numerous fan favorite movies (including the Back to the Future and Bourne trilogies) asserted that despite repeated claims that George Lucas is working on Indiana Jones 5 story there are “no ideas” for a follow-up Indy adventure:

“I say, for me, [Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is] the last hurrah. I know that yes, we talk about it, but there’s no idea, there’s no MacGuffin.”

Admittedly, Marshall’s quote is tricky to decipher, since he leads with “I say” and “For me” – meaning that Ford, Lucas, or Spielberg might disagree. However, it’s hard to misconstrue the last part of his statement “I know that yes, we talk about it, but there’s no idea, there’s no MacGuffin.” The assertion is in direct opposition to prior updates on the project – likely indicating that while the filmmakers might have batted around a few ideas and sent Lucas off to ponder the best of the bunch, none of them were truly viable options for moving forward.

While it’s hard to dismiss the possibility of another Indiana Jones film (especially after Crystal Skull made $786 million worldwide), Harrison Ford definitely showed his age in the last installment and time will be a factor in any film that puts the iconic leading man center stage again – assuming he’s even interested in returning to the role.

 Producer Frank Marshall: No Ideas for Indiana Jones 5

Additionally, it’s possible that we could eventually see a rebooted Indy story; however, despite the series’ roots in campy WWII adventure serials, most fans would be opposed to anyone but Ford cracking the whip. For many, the actor is essential to the character – as evidenced by a mixed response to the 1990s TV spin-off, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, which managed to snag critical acclaim (including ten Emmy Award wins) but was effectively “cancelled” during its second season (though The Family Channel later produced four TV movies under the brand). In spite of competent contributions from George Hall (playing a 93 year-old version of the character) as well as Corey Carrier and Sean Patrick Flanery (playing Indy at 10-years-old and as a teenager, respectively), the core premise wasn’t enough to spark the interest of viewers without Ford at the forefront.

As a result, in spite of the rich set-up of an adventuring college professor who kicks Nazi butt while searching for supernatural artifacts, it’s possible that, in an industry chock full of reboots, spin-offs, and sequels, the Indiana Jones filmmakers may have already learned their lesson – and are prepared to let the fan-favorite character rest.


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for more on Indiana Jones 5 as well as future movie, TV, and gaming news.

Source: Collider

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  1. Look, everything that they did with the fouth installment had cliche’ written all over it. I mean the whole movie pretty much unfolded as it was supposed to. Like imagination just went right out the window in regards to the whole son he never knew about thing. And Aliens? What was Lucas thinking. Indy is an archaeologist, not a scientist. And the government calls him up during the Roswell Landing. Huh? It was just too much time between movies where they explained what happened between films as if this is what went down, just the way it happened. Just a joke. But we believe them because they say he won a tons of metals in the War. Come on. I say time for a reboot. Get someone in there prime who has a sense of humor, along with a sense of action. Combined with cocky self confidence…It’s all in the actor, so find a good one who is unknown. They Are Out There. And get a new writer other than Lucas. Someone who has time to sit down and write. So I say go for it. Reboot Indiana Jones for 2018 release.

  2. Having no ideas didn’t stop them making a fourth. They’ll find a way to scrape this off the road for one last kerching.

  3. Frank Marshal was the producer of Last Air Bender. A film that snubbed the East Asian community, the very community that was showcased in the original tv series. Quite frankly, over 1.5 billion of the world population doesn’t give a damn what he thinks.

  4. I’m a bit torn on this because the next one WILL be good, based on the odd numbers theory (that is only the odd numbered movies are worth watching) but I really have no interest in seeing Mr.Transformers (Shia LaBeouf) have the hat and whip passed to him to carry on. He was one of the worst parts of the last movie.

    I am surprised though that no one has thought of looking for the Spear of Destiny (the tip of the lance that allegedly pierced Christ’s side while on the cross). It’s been the focus in a number of other movies (Constantine and The Librarian TV movies come to mind) so why not Indiana Jones? Hitler was supposed to have even had it in his possession. I know that it’s on display in Austria but who says that is the real one?

    This also fits the other two “good” movies in that both of those were also centered in Biblical holy relics.

    • Now I like that idea, just because it sounds like Indy. Or suppose Indy went after the Garden of Eden? I’m sure more than a few bad guys would be drawn to the idea of the Tree of Life … assuming they can get past the angel with the sword of fire.

  5. Im surprised they havent thought about looking for Merlin’s staff. They could relate its powers to some ancient holy relic. Plus this could lead to some King Arthur Lore.

    Secondly, I want to see Indy go to a continent we haven’t seen yet like Australia. We’ve seen him traverse Asia, Africa, South America, Europe, and North America.

    I definately think the Tree of Life and Garden of Eden ideas are my favorites and could be very visually striking

    • By the way… I know people are not ok with the Bermuda Triangle idea but I think that it would be neat to see them sucked in and they are pulled to a place with lots of ancient relics from world history. A place that is like a heaven for Indy. Maybe there are some famous historical people there too that have been living there.

      Maybe Indy finds that this is the kind of place he wants to retire to because of all the “treasure” and in the end he chooses to stay leaving his son to pick up the mantle. Heck, maybe Indy Sr can be there and have been there the whole time.

      • The problem with ideas like the Bermuda Triangle, Garden of Eden and Atlantis is they are PLACES. Our intrepid adventurer goes after in ARTIFACTS.

        And Merlin’s staff is not appropriate either because Merlin was a mythic figure that really didn’t exist. All of the movie artifacts have basis in fact; Ark of the Covenant, Holy Grail, Sankara Stones and Crystal Skull.

        Plus there is nothing official that even documents Merlin (who didn’t exist) having a staff, wand or other item of interest. If you wanted to work from Arthurian myth, the best known artifact would be Excalibur but not even King Arthur, as he is written, is an actual person.

        You need to think artifact and then things that have been at least well documented as having existed.

        • I see your point, although I think the Bermuda Triangle could work still, but yes, technically you’re right, it’s not an artifact. There was a great Vanity Fair article I read years before Indy 4 that was all about the delays on Indy 4 and why there hasn’t been another sequel made and I’m pretty sure Bermuda Triangle and Haunted House were two ideas that they’d toyed with before settling on the Crystal Skull, tho’ I could be misremembering.

          Anyhow, a Bermuda Triangle could work in the sense that a ship with someone important to Indy goes missing there, perhaps after he’d tried to warn them off from going, so he goes to try and track it down and solve once and for all the mystery of why ships and planes disappear there, and also with the knowledge that there’s probably a wealth of artifacts to be found in the place where all those items eventually have ended up over the years. Also, Shia and Marion could be on the ship that disappears and then he goes searching for them without having to actually give them much if any screen time.

          • Well I’m not going to say they can’t do a Bermuda Triangle movie or place (they based an Indy game on Atlantis), it’s just not the characters forte, imho and they should stick with that. If they did as you suggested it would just feel a bit too contrived for my tastes.

            The other problem specifically with the Bermuda triangle is they just barely played the “alien” card. Considering the BT is widely thought to be caused by alien interference, they would then have to come up with a more earth based explanation (please don’t suggest Atlantis :) )

            • Ha! Okay, I won’t say Atlantis. :)

              I do think Lucas should at least be given credit for moving Indy forward and trying to give him themes that reflect the time period of the 50′s the way that the earlier movies recalled the serials of the 30′s et al., but most of those themes involve science fiction and the Red Menace, so it seems fans either think that’s appropriate for the character or they don’t. Frankly, I think when it all really boils down to it, I have a hard time believing that after the end of Raiders Dr. Jones didn’t just marry Marion and become a civilian and that was that. I’d still like to see an Indy 5 tho’…

              • Interestingly you touched on one of the problems I had with #4…..using the Russians as the bad guys. Not that it wasn’t correct or appropriate, especially for the time period but battling the Nazis just felt more epic? More good vs evil? No one would argue with you that the Nazis were pretty much the definition of evil but Russia and the cold war just feels different, it was more a battle of governments.

                Maybe “problem” isn’t the right word as much as a missing element. Setting the adventures in the 30′s-40′s has that more wild, adventurous and dangerous aspect (very Maltese Falcon) that feels lost in the last movie. It’s too bad they didn’t make more of the Indy movies consecutively when Ford was younger and they didn’t have to progress the timeline to better match his age.

        • Well, technically Indy DID go after a place, not an artifact. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, the computer game back in ’92 or so. But there you go…it’s already been done, so technically he can’t go after Atlantis.

  6. The bigest reason on Indiana jones is not get made are:
    Hollywood lost ideas of the 1930 pulp stories,
    The trend is over for jungle adventure movies.
    Indiana Jones in not a superhero, as nowdays holywood is sick to continue making Science Fiction -fantasy generes.
    The debate of neglecting Indiana Jones 4 is for Critics when exites them to watch Prometheus, Avatar, Independece Day and so forth with thematical spirit of Alience, but when filmaker incooperatethe the same or similar theme in movies like Indiana Jones they fire up and go nuts.
    Is it becuse Indian JOnes is a real hero or a fiction brought down from other proto Indian Jones character of Secrets of the Incas?
    Since when Indiana Jones is not a scientist, what does the failled of Archeology tell you, arent they scientist arent they holding doctors PHD in the universities, or you think that scientis are crazy freaks that are creating the destiny of the human race?
    The 4 Indy movie was the right choice to use the aliens agenda that is the last phase of history that has not been elaborated, even if it does, the freaks are using the best of their foce to shutt it downe.
    And critics are the same shisopherenic sick peole, that nothing satisfied them, not matter what ever has been put on film.
    I guess the critcs and the scientest are pals working for the same goal.

    Now for mr Marshall i don’t think he has any clue what the other 3 peer have envisioned, becuse those three SSH are the icons of Indy not even Katleen not even Marshall, its not their desition to make any accusition about project that has been in the heart of the trios since Harrison become the most iconic star till date.I don’t think Harrison will drop the idea that can rasim again to bee as popular as before always Indiana Jones.
    Just look what happened to Stallone, Willis, Cruise, and other, they have gone back to their old roots icons, Rocky , Rambo, Mc Claine, Hunt, that made them Megastars that we are all proud off and keepenjoying their films since. Do you Think! Harrison will let go his Second Chance not to reprise the role for what made him famous?
    The only reson Indy 4 was weaker if epole like to put it that way compered to other 3 movies. They should not change the script from Frank Darabond, and that mas their biggest mistake, because theat first script City of the Gods was much more darker and had all the thrills and exotics as the first one did and second not the third, I still consder the Third Indy movie a comedy compered to the other two.The bigest weakes point of Indy 4 was using too much comedy instead to be darker and more sirous, as the first to Indy movies were.
    This is the bigest problem that some movis face now days to much mis genere they us in moves.
    If they want to rely pull off Indy 5 they comedy and humore should be absent, the less the better, they should make it Action Thriller adventure as was Dark Knight Rising, this is waht is needing for Indy 5 to be sucsessfull. And Mr Lucas has to wake up from his syndrom post Phantom Mance and make serous Indy Adventure not Jar Jar cartoon charecter.
    I bet you all this is all propaganda made just to see if the mass would react on an other Indy adventure before they put he final dun deal and development satge of the Fifth Indy Project.
    Reportes and news freak, and movie buffs should not spill the beans so eary, and kill the project and that is what is happening nowadays, like they killed number of fenomenal project: King Conan, Crusade, Flash Gordon, Captain Blood, Captain Kidd, Black Flag and now Indy 5.
    Frank is now concentration on his Bourne 4 Project so he has idea for Bourne 5 to bring back Matt and Renner if Bourne 4 does well at box office record.
    I think Frank doesn’t want to tell the truth, as Vic mentioned he probubly doesn’t agree with the trio for the story and neglect every attept made when some one ask him about Indy 5, Peple are knokking on wrong doors.
    remeber last year harrison is prepering for Indy 5 even he is going to the juim to beef up, waht does that tell you, since then he is using smaller rols in movies.
    I have feeling that end of this year there would be anouncment made about Indy 5 in Development stage.
    Gorge Lucas has this fobia in him that he mentioned few moth back about the event of December 21 2012, of world end and end of Maya Prphecy, i think he is wating the time frame when something is going to happen.
    If this event happens then all Talkbacker and Naysayas hs to bit their tung and give apoligies to George and the Fans of Indy 4. they he can connect the dots and make the missing link of the Human existence.
    Are we from the stars or someone changed the creation story and made us primates from apes, in order to ensalve us.
    enought said

  7. THe fourth movie was awesome! Every bit as good as the first three! I say make two more harrison ford movies, to complete the second trilogy, and then reboot the franchise.

    • Not sure if trolling or…

    • My thoughts exactly! Complete the second trilogy so that we have one of him in his prime and one of him in his old age after he settled down and then Disney can give Shai a Mutt Williams TV svhow

  8. @pelegon, you have me lost there. Not sure I got you. But if you meant you liked the aliens encounter idea then I’m on the other side of the fence on that one. Reminded me of ‘Flight 714′ in Tintin books. Both stories were off character. Who knows? Maybe that’s where Spielberg got the idea from. Similar endings.

    Anyway, I agree with mongoose on the ‘real artifacts vs. myth’ thing (although many nowadays would want us believe that Indy’s artifacts also fall under the latter category so Merlin’s staff fits). I can understand how some might get such issues mixed up though. Having said that, if they want to do another Indy, I’d suggest a new actor. I spent the most of Crystal Skull staring at Ford and reminiscing- thinking how fit he was in Last Crusade and how he’d aged and how time was a harsh reality check. It’s too much of a distraction in my opinion. Let ‘em reboot or go back a notch to a time between Last Crusade and Crystal Skull. We’ll heal eventually over the new cast with a good story.

    I’m sure Moore had the same ish when he took over from Connery as Bond; so did Dalton, and Brosnan. We all know Craig was never favoured before taking the reigns either. Now Matt Damon’s handed over Bourne. There was a huge fans’ protest when Keaton was picked as Batman (and he’s right up there with Bale IMO). Change is a fact of life. Humans will adjust. Just find another fella with a boy-ish grin. :)

    • About Merlin’s staff…….as I said above, all the other artifacts have existed or at the very least been documented in texts we don’t question the validity of (unless you want to denounce the validity of the Old Testament)

      Merlin, on the other hand, was a character dreamed up by Geoffrey in the 12th century that was pieced together from a number of sources. He was a great creative writer and could be likened to the William Shakespeare of his day but we don’t consider Shakespeare’s works to be historical fact. He took his somewhat mundane history and embellished it a bit (ok a lot)

      There is also no mention of a staff in Geoffrey’s works that I can recall and was most likely added later to add to the general “old man” and wizard characterization. Suffice it to say there is no special artifact associated with Merlin, at least historically speaking (as much as a mythical figure can have an artifact). Even if we go back to one of the original sources such as Myrddin Wyllt, there is no mention of any special items in his possession.

      The stories of Indiana Jones have stayed pretty grounded in reality OTHER than dealing with divine and documented mystical origins. Yes, they could just make it up but that kind of flies in the face of what the character is all about. We don’t need him to be charging after fake magical artifacts with elves, dwarves faeries and the like lurking around every corner.

      I also disagree with the comparison to James Bond. He is a very specific character and is not interchangeable where as 007 can be attached to just about anyone because those shows are pretty episodic. They tried to pass the torch to LaBeouf but it just wouldn’t be the same. The only way they could continue would be to do a reboot but who would want to see that?

      • “About Merlin’s staff…….as I said above, all the other artifacts have existed or at the very least been documented in texts we don’t question the validity of (unless you want to denounce the validity of the Old Testament)”

        Well, there was that whole worldwide flood that probably never happened, and that six-day creation story that probably never happened, and that whole Exodus story that probably never happened. I can’t seem to find any sources for the existence of the Ark of the Covenant besides the Bible. The Sankara stones were somewhat based on the idea of Hindu sacred rocks, but the Sankara stones themselves are a fiction invention. And the Holy Grail isn’t specifically mentioned in the Bible at all. That legends seems to have sprung up in medieval sources long after the fact. All of the crystal skulls that have been thoroughly studied have been proven to have been manufactured in the mid-19th century or later (almost certainly in Europe).

        So as far as I’m concerned, anything from myth and legend is fair game, because most of it is probably nonsense anyway. If it makes for a good story, then I say go for it.

        Not saying I want another Indiana Jones film, though. I completely agree that Indy isn’t comparable to Bond in the respect that he can just be replaced with another actor. Harrison Ford was too much a part of the genesis of that character. The Bond movies can base themselves on the books as well as on former films in the series, but with Indiana Jones, the original films ARE the source material against which any future Indy films will be defined.

        • Gosh, I need to work on proofreading my own comments. Too many typos.

        • You use a lot of “probabilities” there ;) I would rather have the artifacts based on something a rather large percentage of the world believes in rather than a made up artifact from a character we know to be 100% fictional.

          As for the Holy Grail its in Matthew 26:27 (and also Luke I believe)

          27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it

          About the Sankara Stones…I’m not going to say they didn’t take a few liberties with them and their name (just like I’m sure they took some liberties making the Ark and Holy grail) but they are based on actual stones called the “Lingam”

          And the Crystal Skulls….many have been proven to be fake but not all have been examined and there are some anomalies that have yet to be fully explained. They are the weaker of the “genuine” artifacts.

          • “You use a lot of “probabilities” there I would rather have the artifacts based on something a rather large percentage of the world believes in rather than a made up artifact from a character we know to be 100% fictional.”

            I can understand that. If that’s your measuring stick, then I suppose you’re pretty much stuck with artifacts from only the major religions. Personally, I don’t that the number of people who believe in something defines how likely that something is to be true, but I can certainly understand wanting to stick what seems more likely to you.

            You’re right to point out that verse. I didn’t include it, because I never thought of that as being an intentional reference to the holy grail. My point was that the legend of a specific cup, which caught the blood of Jesus at the crucifixion and subsequently became a holy artifact, did not arise until many centuries after the crucifixion was said to have happened. There’s no way of knowing whether that verse refers to THE cup or just a cup.

            The Sankara stones certainly did have something of a precedent in Hinduism. I think there was never any disagreement there. I was merely expressing the point that, unlike the Ark of The Covenant and the Holy Grail, I know of no specific legendary, magical objects that correspond to the Sankara Stones in such an exact way. Lingam seems to be a term for a very common, freely available type of object.

            It’s true that not every crystal skull has been examined. I don’t know which anomalies you refer to, but I’d certainly be curious to hear more about them. I used to be fascinated by the crystal skulls, until I discovered that none have been found to be pre-Columbian in origin.

  9. @mongoose, I agree with you 100% on the artifacts. No need to explain ‘cos I do believe in the Old Testament. Just sayin that some in our present secular world wouldn’t know the difference.

    As for Bond being different, not quite.. Both are characters who find themselves in situations greater than themselves. Hence their personal lives, supporting characters, subplots et al are not as defined. They come into a story and not the other way round. Hence the story takes say 75-80% credit. With that in mind, I personally think a new Indy with a very good story will survive the critics like Craig seems to have in Bond.

    • Well they could try and pull a “Batman” and change out the actor but I think most feel that Ford is the character so anyone else trying to step into the role for another installment (especially after they have gone to the effort advancing the “story” to match his age) just wouldn’t work now.

      I say do #5 IF they can come up with a good idea SOON or just let it go. Not every franchise has to go on forever. If they can copycat the character with Fraiser in the Mummy series, someone can do it again.

      • I think the other elephant in the room is that nobody but Lucas makes final decisions about Indy stuff, that’s why there was such a long gap between 3 and 4, everybody else repeatedly lined up to do it and Lucas pulled the plug several times for whatever reasons, probably including just because he could. So doing it without Lucas’ direct involvement, Harrison Ford as Indy, or Spielberg directing means an almost a guaranteed no to a reboot or producers making decisions that don’t involve Lucas.

        • yes Lucas, the prima donna of our age. :P

  10. A FEMALE ‘Indy’ would be good. ~ Stark

  11. NO! This notice not is the end, is old. Yesterday George Lucas say the new Indiana Jones are action in Italia:á-la-historia-en-italia-según-los-últimos-rumore/10151080834003433

    And today rumors. Monica Bellucci and Penelope Cruz in the film:

    See you Indyfans!

  12. Well I have the perfect person to play Indiana Jones: Thomas Jane
    He fits the role perfectly, is about the right age, and is young enough to make at least 3-4 sequels.

    My Bet Thomas Jane.