UPDATE: April Fools! Ken Jeong isn't linked to Indiana Jones 5. But who would be a good pick for Short Round?
Steven Spielberg has started to piece together the supporting cast for Indiana Jones 5, recruiting Ken Jeong to portray an adult Short Round. Since Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney in 2012, most of their resources have been dedicated to the great Star Wars renaissance, but the studio's other legendary franchise isn't forgotten. A fifth adventure for Henry Jones, Jr. is slated for release in July 2020, with Harrison Ford once again portraying the titular character. Spielberg recently confirmed he plans to begin production next April.
The character of Short Round made his only previous appearance in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom as Indy's loyal child sidekick. Some viewers found him to be annoying, but he arguably was a valuable presence in the film (he's the one who saves Indy from his trance-like state towards the end). "Shorty" had a sweet dynamic with Indiana, which made it odd that he wasn't mentioned at all in the other three films. But now, Spielberg will have an opportunity to flesh out Jones' relationship with an old friend.
Lucasfilm made the announcement via press release, expressing enthusiasm for what's to come:
Ken Jeong (The Hangover, Dr. Ken) has been cast in the untitled fifth Indiana Jones film as Short Round. Jeong will co-star alongside Harrison Ford, who reprises his iconic role as Indiana Jones. More information regarding the movie's cast will be revealed soon.
"I always felt Short Round was a great character, so I'm excited to finally have the chance to bring him back as an adult," said Steven Spielberg. "Ken, I believe, perfectly encapsulates all of Short Round's best qualities and will bring immense amounts of heart and humor to the part. I couldn't be happier and he'll make a great team with Harrison."
The untitled fifth Indiana Jones film is scheduled for release on July 10, 2020.
With this development, the curtain has slightly been pulled back on Indiana Jones 5. While we still don't know what priceless artifact Indy will be pursuing, he'll be reunited with his former partner in crime. This is in keeping with non-movie Indiana Jones canon, which established Short Round had developed a knack for discovering antiquities in his older age. In the book The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones, it's said Short Round went after the Peacock's Eye. His inclusion in the upcoming sequel provides Spielberg with an opportunity to play up the father/son bond between the two. Since Indy's biological son won't be in Indiana Jones 5, perhaps Dr. Jones can find love through his surrogate family and ride triumphantly into the sunset once more.
The hiring of Jeong, who he best known for his role as Mr. Chow in the Hangover trilogy, is sure to raise some eyebrows. A recast was likely always in order, seeing that Jonathan Ke Quan (who played Short Round in Temple) hasn't acted since 2002. Jeong isn't the first name that comes to mind for such an action-orientated character, but if anyone can make it work, it's Spielberg. After all, Ready Player One boasts one of the director's finest ensembles, so it's clear he has an eye for talent. This is very much a mulligan to atone for the mistakes of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, so he isn't going to repeat mistakes.
- Indiana Jones 5 (2021) release date: Jul 09, 2021