After reprising Han Solo in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford is preparing to return to his other classic character for Lucasfilm: Indiana Jones. Walt Disney Pictures recently announced that the currently untitled Indiana Jones 5 will hit theaters in July 2019, with Steven Spielberg once again calling the shots from the director's chair. The filmmaker's longtime collaborator David Koepp will pen the script.
Since Lucasfilm was so successful at relaunching the galaxy far, far away, there are many curious to see if they'll be able to restore the archeologist to his former glory - and what (if any) strategies that made Star Wars 7 a massive critical and commercial hit will be carried over to this property. It will be interesting to see how Indy 5 is handled, particularly since Ford will have celebrated his 77th birthday by the time the movie premieres. For their part, the studio is confident in their leading man and are looking to make the project a proper sequel that picks up where viewers last left off.
While at CinemaCon (hat tip Variety), franchise producer Frank Marshall reiterated that Ford will not be recast as Indiana Jones, believing that the character is so iconic, only one actor can play him. This stance eliminates any chance of Indy 5 being a prequel of sorts, with Ford merely bookending an adventure headlined by a younger thespian in the role. As fans theorize about what could happen, that was one possibility discussed, but Marshall revealed in his interview that the latest installment will be a "continuation" of the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull story.
Marshall did not elaborate on what exactly he meant by that, meaning his statement will only fuel more speculation. For the most part, the Indiana Jones series is not one known for its continuity; the previous films more or less existed as standalone narratives, with only a few references to each other and no overarching story beats that carried over. Things were a little different for Crystal Skull, which brought back Raiders of the Lost Ark's Marion Ravenwood, but it was still primarily self-contained. One would think that'll be the case with Indy 5, especially since the Crystal Skull plot was fully resolved when the end credits rolled. Making a direct followup to that film would be a mistake, but some continuation might be necessary.
When moviegoers last saw Indiana Jones, he was a newly married man, looking to settle down with a family. Even though Crystal Skull was not as beloved as the original trilogy, it would still be somewhat jarring for Indy 5 to just ignore what came before completely. Karen Allen and Shia LaBeouf don't have to necessarily return as Marion and Mutt Williams, but they should still be mentioned in some capacity. For example, the absence of Henry Jones, Sr. and Marcus Brody in Crystal Skull was explained via lines of dialogue. If Spielberg would prefer to surround Indy with a new supporting cast, he could do that again and still have the fifth film be a "continuation."
It will most likely be a while before fans learn what's exactly going on with Indiana Jones 5, however. Spielberg has a pretty full plate at the moment. He's currently working on Ready Player One for a March 2018 release, and will then move to the historical drama The Kidnapping of Edgardo Morata, which is eyeing an awards season 2017 bow. Arguably, Indy 5 is on the director's back burner for the time being, as he tackles his other commitments. Production on Dr. Jones' next adventure probably won't start until 2018 at the earliest, so until then, fans will have to make do with hypothesizing.
Indiana Jones 5 hits theaters July 19, 2019.