[UPDATE: Frank Darabont Has Denied the Indiana Jones Rumor.]

The future of the Star Wars franchise is already in motion, but even now that Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have taken complete control of the rights to the Indiana Jones property, it’s still not clear what tomorrow will bring for the bullwhip-cracking, fedora-wearing, globe-trotting archaeologist.

Disney Chairman Alan Horn spoke publicly on the long-rumored Indiana Jones 5 a few months back, indicating that the project is still in its early days (apparently, a story hasn’t even been settled on yet) and that we shouldn’t expect the film to hit theaters until 2016 or 2017, at the earliest. Since then, claims have emerged that certain staff members on Star Wars: Episode VII are contractually obligated to work on at least two new Indy Jones films.

Latino Review – citing the same sources that gave them the scoop on Bradley Cooper voicing Rocket Raccoon in Disney/Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – claims that Mouse House and Lucasfilm executives have taken small steps towards recasting the Indiana Jones character, for a new trilogy of film installments in the serial adventure-inspired franchise.

The site includes the disclaimer that Indiana Jones 5 could still happen, with Harrison Ford reprising his signature role one more time after the 2008 installment Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (Last year, the 71-year old actor said that he feels it’s “perfectly appropriate” for him to play the character again.) However, as the clock keeps ticking, the window of opportunity in which Ford as Dr. Jones will get to properly ride off into the sunset (… again) “is getting smaller and smaller.”

That Ford could be replaced by someone else in the Indiana Jones role (due to his age) is something that many fans have long acknowledged as a legitimate possibility, well before Disney secured the full rights to the series. Just as there may soon come a day when Hugh Jackman is no longer the actor playing Wolverine (or Tony Stark might no longer be synonymous with Robert Downey Jr.), it makes sense that Dr. Jones could get a new face in the future, much like his fellow iconic screen heroes James Bond and Batman (among others) have before him.

[UPDATE: /Film claims it has a source who “100% debunks” the assertion that Indiana Jones recasting talk is ongoing right now. If nothing else, though, that’s a nice reminder for everyone to not get too worked up about this story (either way).]

So, who might don Jones’ fedora after Ford? Well, again, everything’s up in the air right now, but Bradley Cooper is apparently the actor currently atop Disney’s wanted list. It makes sense; in addition to being around the same age as Ford when he made Raiders of the Lost Ark, Cooper’s also proven to be capable of bringing a similar mix of cockiness and humor to that which Ford infused the character with. (Not to mention, the good-looking actor has a history with Disney, thanks to Guardians).

That’s not to say an offer has been made yet, of course – we don’t even know if Cooper actually wants to take on the role, as he’s been more inclined to work on indie and/or non-pop genre fare in recent times (see: the upcoming Serena and American Sniper). Plus, as his star looks to keep rising higher and higher over the years ahead, Disney and Lucasfilm might ultimately prefer someone who commands a smaller paycheck than Cooper will.

Either way, Walking Dead TV show creator Frank Darabont might be involved with the next installment in the franchise, should it star Ford or not. The screenwriter/director penned an unused script draft for the fourth Indiana Jones movie – it was better than the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull script, in my opinion – and he would be inclined to deliver a good mix of thrills, story, and character development in his own Indy Jones movie. So, if nothing else, we hope the Darabont rumor pans out.

Agree/disagree? How do you feel about the possibility of Ford being replaced as Indiana Jones, be it by Bradley Cooper or someone else altogether?

We’ll keep you updated on the Indiana Jones franchise’s status as more information becomes available.

Source: Latino Review