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

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Nooooooooo! Please don’t Leave Indy alone!

  2. An Indiana Jones reboot is the worst idea I have ever heard.

  3. This is what happens when you insinuate handing the whip over to shia labouef

  4. I wish that Indy 4 had been near universally-panned, but I get the impression that those of us who thought it was an outright travesty are among the minority. I wish that one more good Indy movie could be made, to make up for the awful 4th film, but it’s so unlikely that it would be any good. I’d prefer that they let it rest. And I do have a hard time imagining an Indy film without Ford. I don’t think I’d like it.

  5. Don’t even think about rebooting this franchise! As far as I’m concern the hat and the whip are officially retired.

  6. The Indiana Jones franchise (ignoring the fourth movie) is one of my all-time favorite franchise of all time.
    That said, they shouldn’t reboot it (if they want a modern Indiana Jones, just do an Uncharted movie) and they shouldn’t let LaBeouf take over either.

    I hated how they tainted this wonderful franchise with the fourth movie, but I don’t think there’s any chance of redemption left… Ford is getting older, they wouldn’t be able to put together the same type of story with the same quality of the first Indy flicks and they wouldn’t be able to capture the same spirit as the first Indy flicks either.

    I think it’s best to let Mr. Jones be… let him rest… he’s been through so much already…

  7. Indiana Jones and The Lost City of Atlantis. MacGuffin acquired

    • Wasn’t the Bermuda Triangle kicked around as an idea by those guys for a while? There’s hardly a lack of ideas…

  8. A reboot could be good, I say wait until after George kicks the bucket though. Indiana Jones is like the American James bond. If they can make 24(?) official James bond movies, they can make a few more Indy films IMO.

    • I have to disagree. The character of James Bond is bigger than the individual actors playing him, so he works in perpetuity. Plus it’s based on source material that existed long before the movies, and that’s what they’ll always go back to when in doubt. Indiana Jones is Harrison Ford, in my opinion, no matter how you slice it.

      • Most fans probably just don’t want to accept another actor in the role. I am not saying it would be easy, but I do believe that a good Indy reboot is possible. James does indeed have years of source material, and so does Indy, World History! The movie I am waiting for? Indiana Jones and the Raiders of Oak Island ;)

  9. Don’t even think of rebooting or replacing Ford in the leading role. If you plan on one more indy film if it should ever take shape Ford needs to reprise his role one last time. I know he’s aged since the originals but if he should not return for another film as indie then let this franchise rest. Ford is the one true Indiana Jones and imo no one else could ever replace him in the role it would just be to weird.

  10. I think an Indy 5 would be great, if they could just find an excuse to forget about Shia Labouf’s character. Out of all the films Raiders is really in a category of its own, it’s dangerous and scary and has one of the greatest endings of an action movie ever, it’d be nice to see a film with that kind of flavor again instead of one that’s trying to appeal to all ages and sell slurpees with Ewoks instead of Wookies. But having rewatched the first three Indy movies before going to see Crystal Skull I really didn’t think it was as bad as everyone says, other than Shia.

    • I agree. I think the 4th film started out pretty good (well, the fridge scene was ridiculous), and the film had some really good, classic Indy moments (the motorcycle chase in the library, reunion with Marion, man-eating ants), but then it fell apart with Shia swinging with monkeys and the cheesy aliens finale. So much potential and it WAS great to see Ford reprising his role as Indiana Jones, but that movie was more a SyFy Channel original flick than a bonafide Indy film. Would love to see them give it another go (WITHOUT SHIA!) and get it right and end the series on a high note.

      • Even though I’m in the camp that despises the film, I do have to admit that the second half of it is really where it all fell apart. The first half had plenty of problems, but I was willing to overlook most of them. Even the CG gophers and the ridiculous fridge scene. The motorcycle chase was fun enough, and I think that the graveyard scene was the best in the film. The movie actually had a reasonably coherent plot in the first half. The film started to go downhill pretty much when Marion showed up.

  11. Indiana Jones and Last Crusade. LAST. The fact that Lucas writing a script is involved in this idea just makes it sound like a disaster in the making.

  12. They could always have him find the spear of destiny or noahs ark!

  13. Another Indy movie? Great, but: 1)forget about Shia Labouf’s character, 2)forget about Atlantis, The Bermuda Triangle or aliens, 3)Harrison Ford is the only Indiana Jones, 4)go back to the spirit of the firsts films.

    • Meaning what exactly? What is the spirit of the first films that Atlantis, Bermuda Triangle, alien, etc. lacks…?

      A haunted house would be interesting.

      • There are so many artifacts that could be used, a haunted house being haunted because a voodoo priest (or who ever) is raising the dead because he/she got hold of a powerful artifact that could make the dead rise or whatever.

        Why not have the Spear of Destiny? Excalibur? Or how about Moses’ staff?

    • If you played Indiana Jones: Fate of Atlantis PC game from the 90′s, you would want to see the movie…

  14. I love indy but i think when it came to no 4 i think it did not reach up to what we were hoping because the times we are living now to when we all saw the other indy films where fresh and technolgy was still new. We all have become accustomed to expecting to much, and also were to use to special effects, also the story in indy 4 was a little bit lacking the kick you get from the previous indys. I think and I hope that if there is a next one that it harkens back to its religious roots because when it did there was something very special.

    I suppose its getting the right subject to work, but indys story line is always strong around the religious aspects, the one little thing i liked in the last indy was a small little nod to the ark, is it possible that they may go back to it in some way. That could be a possible road to enquire, there is other great subjects and other amazing stories that are linked to legend folklore and faith and culture. Look at Ireland the hill of Tara, there is some great legends there that are suppose to link the ark, now this is all here say about the hill of Tara and the ark, that place is very very incredible to explore if George Lucas is stuck for a subject, there is some great stuff from the irish celtic storyline,, the book of kells, the ancient prophecys by an irish saint who spoke about the future of our weather in these times and the changing of the seasons. I hope George Lucas you look into this you might find a story. Indy 4 was not as bad as it has been made out just the story and subject matter needed something else but still it was good to see another Indy , i think its just the times we are in,, i suppose its hard to make another great classic indy, please God it will happen and that Harrison Ford is indy in it,, all the best

  15. I loved all of the Indiana Jones flicks except for the second one.

  16. Shia was pretty good in Indy 4 but I don’t see him taking up the mantle.

  17. I’m not going to comment (at least, not yet) about the viability of a fifth Indy adventure, but I must say that “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles” was a fantastic series…great adventures, wondrous historical connections, and pitch-perfect continuations (really, precursors and revelations, of course) of Indy’s growth & development and his quest for knowledge and understanding. The series really should have been allowed to run much longer; it beautifully complemented the films…

    • That’s compelling, I never watched it but now I’m tempted, and there’s at least one episode where Harrison Ford makes a cameo. So it wasn’t too watered down for television or anything? I know a lot of ILM experimenting went on in that show before they unveiled effects more formally in the movies.

      • Well, of course, there was no cursing (NOT actually an issue in these films, anyway) and no “movie-like” sexual encounters (again, NOT an issue), but the stories were great and truly showed a younger Indy. As a bonus (at least, for me :) ), the DVD sets (3 volumes) even contain extensive historical pieces that highlight and further the episodes’ looks at the real history happening around Indy.

        I wish there were something like it now…

  18. I would be for Indy 5, but it depends on WHO is playing Indy, Ford is getting old (who am I kidding? He IS old) but a reboot may be a good thing? I would not like the “young adventures”, but a movie of what happened between the movies.

    I would be all for a “Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny” or, “Indiana Jones and the Quest for Excalibur” movie, but (at risk of people getting mad at me) I would rather have someone who does not need to use the bathroom every five minutes.

    As far as who would replace him if there was a reboot, I have no idea. As long as it is live action and not animated using Fords voice, I would give it a shot.

    Just my opinion, so please don’t get to mad at me for stating it.

  19. Some fans consider the second film to be a misstep (not me) but they redeemed themselves for the third one which captured the atmosphere of the original. Crystal Skull could be that misstep and maybe they could redeem themselves with one final film. The fourth film was a sour note to leave on, they need to take a good hard look at the originals and try to recapture that magic.

  20. Some fans consider the second film to be a misstep (not me) but they redeemed themselves for the third one which captured the atmosphere of the original. Crystal Skull could be that misstep and maybe they could redeem themselves with one final film. The fourth film was a sour note to leave on, they need to take a good hard look at the originals and try to recapture that magic.

  21. I’ve only seen clips of the young Indiana Jones series and it actually looked like an interesting take on the character. I’m bumed that it looks like the 5th Indy movie may not come I loved all the originals but really didn’t care that much for Indy 4 I didnt hate it because if Shia I though casting him in the role was one of the flaws of the film, I think they could’ve gotten someone who was more masculine and tougher looking and maybe Shia could’ve been like a student that admired Indy and wanted to follow him on his adventures and the two young sidekicks could’ve been at odds with one another or something, liked the idea of Marion coming back but not so much about her having a kid with Indy.

    To be honest I’m not entirely against them rebooting this franchise it’s a huge change but change is never bad it’s just different and everyone has a hard time with different. I think it’ll be a big deal when if they reboot the franchise when they recast Indy man we all thought the other reboot casting calls were a big deal this one is gonna be huge, it’s like recasting Rocky, man. But who knows maybe if they reboot it they can make it the best Indiana Jones movie out of them all,

    you guys gotta have hope if you don’t then the Indiana Jones Franchise will really be dead and it’ll never come back.

    If they do reboot it maybe they’ll change some things in a good way I still hope he has similar chemistry with his father the third one is one of my favorites.

    To play Indian Jones in the reboot-

    I say Tom Hardy
    Gary Oldman is the villain
    Charlize Theron is the Indy Girl

    I don’t care if they reboot it with another actor I just want to see the good old man with the hat again.

  22. DO indy and the sord of Arthur

  23. I still say that if a competent story can be developed, they should take a more realistic “Tintin” style approach to film it. That way they could essentially make Ford look the way he did in Raiders and still tell whatever story they want to tell. That also would allow Ford to play Indy for as long as he can still speak. Just a thought….

  24. I still say that if a competent story can be developed, they should take a more realistic “Tintin” style approach to film it. That way they could essentially make Ford look the way he did in Raiders and still tell whatever story they want to. Just a thought….

  25. They have a perfect set up to do a story about how Hitler was looking for the sword Excalibur. If he found it then he could just claim the thrown of England. But Indy gets drag into the hunt and eventually ends up at the bunker for the climax where Hitler gets destroyed.

    • Except that the series is way past that year, it takes place in the 50′s and beyond now, and what you’re describing happened in 1945.

  26. It would be good to see one final Indy movie provided the story is solid.
    they could hook up harrison ford, ala CGI like McG did arnold in terminator salvation,i’m saying far as doing elaborate action sequences. The feel has to be right. One of the things I always loved about the Indy movies was the sound effects everytime someone gets punched in the face. if they do a mix of live & thoroughly done CGI,tastefully of course, I think they could easily do another 2 movies. Provided all parties involved in the movie are on the same page & want to make it happen for the fans.

    • Punch in Ben Burtt/Indiana Jones on youtube, you’ll be glad you did. He is the best part of all the Indy and Star Wars movies, seriously. He made the new Star Trek movie sound absolutely amazing. Sound design is far too overlooked and it’s so important, especially for movies like that. And you’ll be fascinated by how they came up with the sounds for Indy’s punches.

      Leather jackets, cabbages, a baseball mitt, and a baseball bat. I kid you not. :)

  27. I have an idea.

  28. George Lucas should produce a series of Saturday matinee serials and play them throughout one Summer movie season. Other studios could bid for the opportunity to have these episodes run before their films.

    Lucas could compile all the episodes into one direct to DVD following the end of the Summer and it would sell.

    You people are fooling yourselves if you think that people wouldn’t pay to see another actor in the role. If Spielberg is behind the camera, they will come.

    • Oh, I’m sure they would pay, especially if Spielberg was directing. (I highly doubt that Spielberg would direct another Indy film without Ford, but that’s beside the point.) I speak only for myself when I say that I probably wouldn’t see it.

      • I can’t quite picture how that would work, but it’d be great to have serials exist for kids to go to again, like they used to, instead of sittin’ in front of the boob tube. A place where kids could pay a couple bucks and see the adventures of Captain Marvel or Buck Rogers or The Shadow or… sigh.

  29. I say show the ending of Indy 4 in the beginning of this movie, and then have Indiana Jones waking up suddenly in a sweat, then we realize Crystal Skull was all just a bad nightmare and none of that happened…

    • Haha!