After years of back-and-forth, the fifth and final movie of the Indian Jones franchise has entered edits. The news comes after plenty of uncertainty regarding the film’s production, which has been stalled for a variety of reasons over the years—which includes George Lucas’s departure from the project and Steven Spielberg stepping down as director.
The stakes have never been higher for Indy fans. At 80 years of age, it will be Ford’s last project that pays homage to his origins as a star back in the 1970s. As the conclusion to the mega-popular series, there’s even more pressure to get the film right.
Indian Jones has been one of the most influential pop culture series to emerge from Hollywood. In fact, the Jones character, a smart-mouthed anthropologist with a penchant for adventure, has since become a stereotype. First came movies from The Goonies to The Mummy.
Then came video game iterations, such as Sony’s Uncharted and Core Design’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider series. Today, even online slots draw inspiration from Indy’s escapades, including action-adventure titles like Rich Wilde and the Book of the Dead and Book of Ra.
Clearly, there’s a lot riding on a franchise that has so greatly influenced pop culture of all stripes. And now that the still-untitled fifth installation has entered editing, the clock is ticking for fans worldwide.
A Fifth & Final Film?
Great emphasis has been put on Harrison Ford’s participation in Indy 5. Not only is the actor’s age a factor in how his character can navigate the film, but writers must also take care in how they choose to end the Indy legacy. Fans of Daniel Craig’s James Bond can appreciate how tricky this can be.
Some fans have speculated the plot could revolve around Ford’s age, helping assuage the future of the franchise. Will a fountain of youth and time travel device be critical to leaving the series with a (new) Indian Jones? Or will Ford’s departure from the series mark the end of the endlessly curious anthropologist and his wayward projects abroad?
An Evolving Indy
Unlike the Bond franchise, Ford alone has headed the George Lucas franchise—from 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Art to 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. This presents unique questions for the future—and not just whether the series will continue in some form.
As mentioned above, Lucas’s Indiana Jones introduced a new form of action-adventure film to Hollywood. It entailed a singularly ‘American’ spirit, which involves adventurous spirit, individualism, and a drive for exploration. But with almost half a century between the first and last films, Indiana Jones might not represent his country so squarely anymore.
Cultural notes aside (of which there are many), Indy was a man of the outdoors. Today’s world is increasingly digital and virtual. How does a hero like Indy fit into modern life? And will this be a focal point of the plot for the fifth film?
Struggling to Get Off the Ground
From the outside looking in, there were periods when the fifth installation seemed to be a pipe dream. With Lucas and Spielberg participating in a limited capacity with the film (both as producers), many fans have been placated… but there’s still a lack of details surrounding the film.
First, there’s no official title (though some believe it will be Indy). Second, other major cast members, from Antonio Banderas to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, still have undisclosed roles. Third, there are still no comprehensive plot details available. The only hints stem from filming locations, which run the gambit from Sicily to Scotland to Morocco.
At the crux of the film’s delay seems to be a writing struggle, which likely harkens back to debates on how to end the series, or to keep it open. Previously, Lucas mentioned introducing Shia LaBeouf’s character, Mutt Williams, in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as a future replacement for Indy.
However, given LaBeouf’s absence from the official casting list, there’s an even greater chance that part of the years-long delay has been based on not just the rollout of Star Wars films, but also a difficult decision about Indy’s future.