Believe it or not, the original Indiana Jones trilogy is almost thirty years old! Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade came out in 1989, and the series went on a twenty-year hiatus before Kingdom of the Crystal Skull hit the scene in 2009. What more can we say about Steven Spielberg’s incredible saga? Indiana Jones is a cultural icon across the world and is still actor Harrison Ford’s favorite role all these years later.
Indiana Jones 5 will see Harrison Ford don the fedora and whip once more in 2019 in what will probably be the final film of the original series. This also means that fans will have to face an awful truth; Ford isn’t getting any younger, and Disney has stated that they intend to continue the Indiana Jones movies far into the future. This means recasting the franchises’ great characters, maybe even starting over from scratch?
As much as we hate to think about it, a new actor playing Indy is inevitable. For this article, we are leaving out characters from the fourth movie as it was made in 2009 and technically was “cast today.”
Now we pose the question – What If The Indiana Jones Movies Were Cast Today?
16. Satipo – Dev Patel
Oh Sapito, how we barely knew thee… Most people don’t even remember this character’s name (and for good reason). Instead, they call him “Alfred Molina’s character” or “that guy who dies at the beginning of Raiders.” Even so, they remember Sapito for his betrayal of Doctor Jones and horrifying death. Played by Doc Ock himself, Sapito accompanied Indy to the temple in Raiders of the Lost Ark. When the temple was collapsing around them, he refused to throw the whip to Jones across the deep chasm unless he was given the Golden Idol first. Jones complied, and Sapito seemingly ran off with the Idol. However, once Indy was across he discovered that Sapito had forgotten about the deadly booby trap he had pointed out earlier and was impaled on the thrusting spears.
It may only be a bit part, but it’s a memorable one! For us, we think that this role would be excellent for Dev Patel. The British actor has only gotten the chance to play a villain once, playing Prince Zuko in the abomination that was The Last Airbender. We’d absolutely love to see the normally charming and friendly actor go against the grain and play a scummy coward.
15. The Grail Knight – Michael Gambon
Whoever we chose for this one, we hope we didn’t choose… poorly. Appearing at the climax of The Last Crusade, the Grail Knight is one of the coolest characters in the entire franchise. The Grail Knight and his two brothers served as knights of the First Crusade and stumbled upon the Holy Grail during their expedition. All three took an oath to protect the Grail, but only the eldest was willing to make the eternal sacrifice of remaining in the cave with the holy object for centuries. When Indy finds the Knight, he exclaims that the Grail Knight must have been there since at least 1066.
He may have the name similar to that of a legendary warrior, but the Grail Knight is more of a wise pacifist. He tries to draw his sword and attack, but the years have not been kind and his frail body isn’t up to the challenge. Instead, he tries to trick the invaders into drinking from the wrong cup in a game of wits.
Michael Gambon, best known for playing Dumbledore in the later Harry Potter movies, has proven time and time again that he can play the wise old badass. Let’s also not forget about his voice; hearing Gambon’s charming British voice coming from the Grail Knight would be music to our ears.
14. Willie Scott – Jane Krakowski
You all remember Willie Scott. Sadly, she is often considered the worst love interest in the series by far, screaming in half of her dialogue and acting like a stubborn clutz in a majority of her scenes. Indy first meets Willie at the beginning of Temple of Doom when she is performing at the club where Dr. Jones is trying to make a deal with some sketchy people. When gunfire breaks out, Indy ends protects Willie; after a long series of events, the two end up stranded in India and spend the rest of the film working together. Or he spends the rest of the film saving her while she stands around looking horrified. To be fair, she did save Indy from being crushed by the ceiling spikes!
In Temple of Doom, the character was brilliantly (or should we say infamously?) portrayed by Cate Kapshaw. For a recast/reboot of the franchise we think Jane Krakowski would fit the bill. Willie is a loud, spoiled, stubborn Hollywood performer. Does that not sound like so many of the other characters Krakowski has played in the past? Both Jenna Maroney (from 30 Rock) and Jacqueline White (from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) embody everything we love to hate about the character of Willie. Maybe Krakowski’s comedic talent would actually turn her into a somewhat bearable character!
13. Short Round – Ian Chen
Short Round is a complete stereotype in the original film, but Indy’s Temple of Doom sidekick could be up-dated so we could still get the friendship between the two minus the racism. The father/son dynamic is a theme that is front and center in the third and fourth films of the franchise, but people often overlook the way it is presented in the second. Temple of Doom is the first time that Jones has someone else to take care of (outside of his love interest) during his adventures. Plus, Short Round is actually a really good companion! Indy’s father is fairly useless in the third film and Mutt…well, the less we have to talk about Mutt the better. Short Round, on the other hand, is able to drive the getaway car at the beginning and saves Indy himself from the wrath of the boy prince’s voodoo doll.
Though he is only eleven years old, Ian Chen would be great as Short Round. Part of what made the character so appealing was that he acted as the comedic relief for the film. If you’ve ever watched ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, you already know that Chen is quite hilarious for his young age! Chen has been nominated for and won multiple “Best Young Actor” awards in his small three-year-old career. This kid is going places, and the Indiana Jones series would be an excellent platform for him.
12. Young Indiana Jones – Ty Simpkins
No, we aren’t talking about the prequel TV series of the same name. Instead we are talking about the teenage Indiana Jones who shows up at the beginning of The Last Crusade, where the character is a young Boy Scout who tries to stop tomb raiders from stealing an ancient artifact. In true Spielberg fashion the chase leads to Indy chasing the criminals across a circus train, with many of the animals acting as obstacles standing in the hero’s way. In this film, young Indy is portrayed by River Phoenix.
One thing that has always bugged us about this scene is the fact that Jones is supposed to be a teenager, yet Phoenix was in his twenties when the movie was made. Are we really supposed to believe that this character is thirteen years old!? If we had to recast this role we’d give it to Ty Simpkins. Most famous for his recent appearances in Jurassic World, Insidious, and Iron Man 3, Simpkins has shown that he can play the “strong willed youngster” that Indiana Jones would have been back in 1912. Also, despite the fact that the actor is turning sixteen this year, he has the ability to appear much younger than he actually is (making him ideal for a thirteen-year-old Indy).
11. Zalim Singh- Sunny Pawar
You may be asking “who?” We’ll admit that we had to look this character’s name up. Most people remember Zalim Singh as simply “the boy prince” from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Singh was the ruler of the Pankot Province of India who takes Indy, Short Round, and Willie into his palace and offers them the utmost hospitality after finding them lost in the jungle. It is then discovered that the prince has been being drugged by his assistant and has been secretly participating in the Thuggee cult rituals against his will. He most famously tortures Indiana Jones with a voodoo doll as he tries to fight one of the villain’s henchmen on a rock crusher.
There’s nothing glorious about child rulers. They are much too young to understand all the intricacies of politics and war, and often they just act as a public face for a behind the scenes puppet master to control. It’s a very disturbing concept. Sunny Pawar has only one film credit to his name, but boy, is it a big one! Pawar co-starred with Dev Patel as Saroo in Lion. Pawar played the young version of the character while Patel played the grown-up version. Pawar made the award show rounds during the most recent Oscar season and charmed all of Hollywood.
10. Mola Ram – Sendhil Ramamurthy
Mola Ram is the Indiana Jones villain that everyone remembers. Amrish Puri brought the character to life in the most terrifying way possible, ripping out peoples’ hearts and brainwashing them into being his slaves all while menacingly giving us that wide-eyed stare. We’ll be the first to admit that Mola Ram is the only character from the Indiana Jones films that left us hiding under our covers as a child! As the Thuggee High Priest, Ram kidnapped the children of a local village and forced them to work in his mines; the villain wanted to find the other Sankara Stones in order to bring back the ancient God Kali.
In order to properly pull off Mola Ram, we need an actor who has the gusto of a fearless leader as well as the ability to be downright intimidating. Sendhil Ramamurthy of Heroes fame is someone who can pull that off. For a short period of time on Heroes the actor’s character became a villain, becoming more and more aggressive and using his powers to commit evil deeds. Though he has been limited to more bit parts these days, Ramamurthy could dig into his dark side and deliver an awesome interpretation of Mola Ram.
9. Walter Donovan – Anthony Hopkins
On the other hand, Walter Donovan is the Indiana Jones villain people always forget about. Belloq was charming, Mola Ram was terrifying, and even Spalko was fairly memorable thanks to the acting of Cate Blanchett. Donovan, on the other hand, is usually just remembered for his gruesome death from drinking from the wrong grail. This villain was more of a chess master than the ones that came before him; he used the disappearance of Henry Jones Sr. (which he himself was responsible for) to lure Indiana Jones into helping him find the Holy Grail. To make things worse, Donovan reveals that he has been working for the Nazis the entire time. How low can you go?
As tempting as it is to just leave this role to Julian Glover, who brilliantly portrayed Master Pycelle on Game of Thrones and was originally in this role, Anthony Hopkins has proven to be up to the challenge of playing this kind of character time and time again. In his older years, the legendary actor has become the go-to for cunning and brilliant characters. The guy is a classically-trained Shakespearean actor and played Hannibal Lecter, for crying out loud! Most recently Hopkins could be seen as Dr. Ford on the hit HBO show Westworld, where he played the role of the park’s creative director.
8. Elsa Schneider – Eva Green
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Dr. Elsa Schneider is uniquely acts as both love interest and villain to Indiana Jones. A brilliant Austrian archaeologist, she was hired by Walter Donovan to track down the Holy Grail alongside Henry Jones Sr. However, unlike Henry, she had no problem allying herself with the Nazis and using less than ethical means to get things done. Schneider is torn between her desire for the Grail and her desire to “do the right thing.” In the climax of the story, she intentionally gives Donovan the wrong Grail, but then tries to escape the cave with the real Grail. As the cave collapses, she falls into a chasm and is caught by Indy. However, her greed for the grail gets the best of her and she accidentally wiggles out of Indy’s grip as she reaches for the cup.
Morally grey female character with style and a subtly sinister personality? Eva Green it is! The actress has more than shown her prowess, with several awards nominations for her role in Penny Dreadful as Vanessa Ives. In Casino Royale she played Vesper Lynd, a Bond Girl who matched 007 but was also had a dark secret. Green isn’t short on villain roles, either; she was the antagonist in 300: Rise of an Empire as well as Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Despite the critical reception of both of those films, Green was praised as the standout role for both.
7. Arnold Toht – Toby Jones
Alright, this one is way too easy. Much like the boy prince from earlier, most people don’t know this character by his real name, instead referring to him as the “creepy bald Nazi who gets his face melted.” Arnold Toht is a Gestapo agent who appears throughout Raiders of the Lost Ark. Although he never really gets his hands dirty, Toht is almost as scary as Mola Ram!
He first shows up to intimidate Marion Ravenwood into giving him the medallion that would lead them to the Ark. However, Indy arrives in the nick of time and fights them off. In the scuffle, Toht gets the engravings of the medallion burned onto his hand, but later realizes that he only has one side and returns to intimidate her again once she is captured by Belloq’s men. At the end of the movie this villain memorably has his face completely melted by the powers of the Ark.
Is there anyone else that could play Toht other than Toby Jones? Look at that comparison picture… Jones portrayed Arnim Zola in Captain America: The First Avenger as well as its sequel, The Winter Soldier. Director Joe Johnson has said repeatedly that the first Captain America was inspired by Indiana Jones, and the design of Zola really shows this; the suit, hat, glasses, and expressions are almost exactly the same! This may be the easy way out, but there’s nobody better than Toby Jones for this role.
6. Marcus Brody – Stellan Skarsgaard
The character of fan-favorite Marcus Brody has been retired for the near future, as Denholm Elliot tragically passed away in the period between The Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However, the character was immortalized in the fourth film by a bronze statue in his memory that stands in front of Marshall College. It’s not difficult to see why fans love Brody; he was a sweet, charming man who was a total fish out of water whenever he got involved with any of Indy’s exploits. Brody appeared in both Raiders and Crusade, making him one of the few characters to make multiple appearances throughout the franchise.
If they were ever to recast or reboot the series, Stellan Skarsgaard would be perfect for the role. The actor has shown that he can do comedy thanks to the MCU’s Thor films; in these movies he plays Erik Selvig, a professor of astrophysics at Culver University who gets tangled up in the God of Thunder’s business. Selvig is eccentric to the point that some even think he is completely loony (as evidenced when they lock him up in an asylum). Brody acted as Indiana Jone’s father figure throughout his life, and Skarsgaard can definitely do family drama: He played Will Turner’s estranged father in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
5. Sallah – Sayed Badreya
We’re still bitter that Sallah didn’t make an appearance in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. We get that the movie took place in South America rather than the Middle East, but couldn’t they have put some sort of cameo into the story? Willie Scott even got a picture in the fourth movie, but nothing for Sallah! The burly Sallah was Indy’s closest friend during Raiders of the Lost Ark, saving him from poisoned dates and assisting the archaeologist in recovering the Ark of the Covenant from its burial spot. He returned in The Last Crusade in more of a comedic role, but he was still great nonetheless! Sallah was played by Gimli himself, John Rhys-Davies.
One of the major gripes of Sallah’s character is that he was supposed to be Egyptian yet he was played by a Welsh actor. If Indiana Jones was made today, there’d be no way that would fly. That’s why we are proposing Sallah to be played by Sayed Badreya. The actor is Egyptian and already looks the part: he’s got the large build and welcoming smile of the character already down to a tee. So far the actor has been mostly reduced to bit parts in large blockbusters, such as Independence Day and the original Iron Man. However, this could easily be the role that puts him on the map.
4. Rene Belloq – Christoph Waltz
There’s scummy, and then there’s Belloq. This French archaeologist tormented Indiana Jones for years by following him, letting Jones do all the dirty work, and then forcefully taking his discoveries and claiming as his own. What a douche. Even so, Belloq’s intellect and charm make him the most dangerous villain in the entire franchise. He was even able to calmly convince Indiana Jones to lay down his arms when he had a freaking bazooka aimed directly in his direction. Belloq is much less morally inclined that Dr. Jones, as he willingly assists the Nazis in finding the Ark simply because he realizes how big of an archaeological discovery it would be. In the end Belloq meets his grisly fate when the Ark is opened, causing his head to explode like a watermelon.
Ironically, we’re casting a German-speaking actor for the role of a French archaeologist who is assisting the Germans. It makes sense in our head! Christoph Waltz is easily the most charismatic actor out there right now; even in his role as the pure evil Hans Landa, the actor spewed immeasurable levels of charm. The Austrian-born actor is also great at playing characters whose over-confidence about their intellect and schemes eventuallys lead to their downfall. Hans Landa, Dr. Schultz, Richelieu, Blofield, Walter Keane… the list goes on and on. We love Christoph Waltz. We love to hate Rene Belloq. It’s a match made in heaven.
3. Henry Jones Sr. – Harrison Ford
Sean Connery and Harrison Ford’s chemistry is a big part of what made The Last Crusade many fans’ favorite Indiana Jones movie. The two played off of each other like a real father and son; Henry Jones was constantly getting in Indy’s way and annoying the hell out of him, but he still loved his dad and did his best to make sure he was safe. To be fair, Henry Jones wasn’t a great father. His obsessive search for the Holy Grail always seemed to take priority over his family, leading Indy and his father to become estranged. Of course, by the end of The Last Crusade the two had rekindled their relationship and rode off into the sunset. Sadly, Henry Jones Sr. died sometime between then and the events of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
If Indiana Jones was made today there is no doubt in our mind that Harrison Ford would be cast as Henry Jones Sr. It would be perfectly fitting; the actor is still making movies and has constantly expressed his love for the Indiana Jones character. There would also be symbolism at work here, as casting Ford as Indy’s father would act as sort of a metaphorical “passing of the torch” as well as an acknowledgement by the actor that he was happy with the direction of the franchise. Plus Harrison Ford has been on a streak of playing the “old wise mentor” character lately!
2. Marion Ravenwood – Anne Hathaway
Marion Ravenwood is the “Princess Leia” of the Indiana Jones franchise. No matter how many times they bicker or how many times he tries to woo other women, Indy will always end up back with Marion. The two characters originally had a love affair back when Indy was working for her father. However, he was sent away when Abner Ravenwood discovered the romance since Jones was ten years older than her at the time. Years, later Indy comes back to talk to Marion about the medallion her father gave her just in time to save her from Arnold Toht and his men. The two embark on an adventure and then seemingly split up. It is revealed years later, when the character returned in Crystal Skull, that Indy is actually the father of Marion’s son, Mutt Williams.
Although she is slightly older than Karen Allen was during the filming of Raiders, Anne Hathaway would be our Marion. The Interstellar and Devil Wears Prada actress has all the characteristics needed for the tough-as-nails character; Hathaway has proven that she can be strong, independent, and hold her own with the tough guys of the world. But she also shows the more tender, emotional, and caring side of Marion in roles like Les Miserables. Not to mention, we think she’d have great chemistry with our Indiana Jones actor!
1. Indiana Jones- Oscar Isaac
No, not Chris Pratt. Every single time the idea of recasting Indiana Jones comes up somebody throws out the name. Look, we adore Pratt, but we can do better. Pratt has a great resume of wise-cracking rogues, but there’s an intelligence and calm to Indy that Pratt just lacks.
Oscar Isaac, on the other hand, would be amazing. Isaac is still fairly new to the scene, not making much of a splash until he starred in 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis. Since then he’s gone on to land roles in some of the biggest franchises around; J.J. Abrams was so impressed with his performance as Poe in The Force Awakens that he gave the character a bigger role, and he was pegged as the big bad for 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. If you want a taste of what Isaac would be like as Henry Jones Jr. just go re-watch The Force Awakens. As a character, Poe has everything we love about Indiana Jones and then some! The dry humor… the love of adventure… the grumpy-yet-charismatic attitude… it’s all there. The actor even gets to test out the iconic fedora in his next movie The Promise!
What do you think of our list? Are we wrong about not wanting Chris Pratt as Indiana Jones? Let us know in the comments!
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