Goodbye Han Solo, Hello Indiana Jones!

As I was getting into my car this morning I saw a headline on Facebook announcing that Indiana Jones 5 will be released on July 19, 2019. The article went further to add that Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, and both Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall would all be returning to reprise their respective roles acting, directing, and producing.

This is awesome!

I hope by now that anyone who was concerned about Disney taking over Lucasfilm can rest assured that they have no intentions to ruin their franchises. All they’ve done with Marvel is make money and make movies–lost of movies. Then they started working on the Star Wars universe. I loved Episode VIII and I loved Rogue One. Maybe I’m just easy to please, but I have no reservations getting excited for a Disney produced Indiana Jones.

Now, let’s be honest. Harrison Ford is getting older. As Jacob Hall over at Slashfilm so accurately points out, Mr. Ford will be 77 when the next film is released. When I hear that my first thought is, “How old was Sean Connery in The Rock?” Well, apparently he was 66. That’s how old Harrison Ford was when the last Indiana Jones movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, came out. How much of a difference can 11 years make? Well ….

I think it’s safe to say that the next Indiana Jones movie will finally be the passing of the proverbial torch. We thought that Shia LeBeouf was going to be the next whip-bearer after the last film, and maybe he still will be, but so far we just don’t know. So, let’s imagine and hope for a little bit. I mean, what else are we going to do for the next two years?

The Problem

If The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull took place in 1957, then we can safely assume that the next film will take place in the 60s. If tradition holds, the movie will focus on some sort of supernatural phenomenon. There wasn’t an obsession with that in the 1960’s, right?

That’s a joke, by the way.

So, according to IMDB, the last film had an estimated budget of $185,000,000 and they made back about double that. I don’t think Disney will be satisfied with those returns. An Indiana Jones movie that makes anything less than 750,000,000 will be a disappointment. So, go with what works right? Nazis? Probably not. Communists? Maybe. Blood-thirsty followers of Kali? Maybe not.

What Disney needs to figure out is how to restart the franchise in a satisfying way. I doubt Disney plans on doing a one-off movie with such a high-profile character and franchise. No. Disney wants to start a new trilogy, even if they haven’t said it yet. So what are the characteristics that make Indiana Jones so good and how can they reboot the franchise with a new lead but without losing what makes it so great?

You need a mystical object. You need a really, really bad guy. You need a cool time period. And hats. You need really cool hats.

So, can Mutt Williams, Shia LeBeouf’s character in Crystal Skull, carry the mantle in the 1960s? I hope so. Some may worry that Disney will ignore Crystal Skull if it proves too inconvenient to build from, but the world of Indiana Jones may be much easier to work with than the entire Star Wars Universe.

It’s agreed. Shia LeBeouf has to be in it. So long as he isn’t too busy with some political or life-as-art project. The question then is how to turn Mutt Williams into Indiana Jones III. Hmmm….

The Pitch

If Disney takes The Force Awakens approach and replays Indiana Jones’ greatest hits as a means to transition towards the future, it may look something like this …

Mutt Williams, now a somewhat settled and respectable college professor, is called in by the CIA to go undercover in China to save an important government asset. When Mutt discovers that his father, Indiana Jones is the asset, the two work together to claim an important Chinese artifact with supernatural abilities …

No, wait. The Chinese film market is too big to insult. The Chinese can’t be the bad guys. Russians! They hate Disney right now away …

Mutt Williams, a teacher-by-day and spy-by-night, is called in by the CIA to go to southern Russia to save an asset from the Gulag. When he arrives, he discovers his father, Indiana Jones, is the asset! Together they use their wits and their fists to reclaim a supernatural Chinese artifact stolen by the Russians and use it to save the world from … Godzilla!

No, that doesn’t work either. Godzilla was big in the 60s, but Disney doesn’t own the rights. Hmmm.

Mutt Williams, a teacher-by-day and spy-by-night, is called in by the CIA to go to southern Russia to save an asset from the Gulag. When he arrives, he discovers his father, Indiana Jones, is the asset! Together they use their wits and their fists to reclaim a supernatural Chinese artifact stolen by the Russians and use it to save the world from … Hydra! Mutt and Indiana face off with the newly revealed Evil Captain America in a Indiana Jones and Marvel mashup!

No. That’s too much. I guess Disney has their work cut out for them. But hey, I’m available if they need a writer!

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