If there’s a movie more deeply entrenched in development hell than something like Uncharted has been, it’s Indiana Jones 5; the project has been a mess of will-they or won’t-they since Harrison Ford starred in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull back in 2008. It didn’t land with fans or critics quite the same way the previous ones had. Lucasfilm considered rebooting the franchise entirely and recasting Ford with the likes of Chris Pratt, but audiences weren’t receptive to the idea. Neither was Ford.
Last year, Spielberg stepped down as director to make way for James Mangold, the visionary behind Logan, another movie about an aging badass, and the project has taken off splendidly since. Indiana Jones 5 is currently shooting in the United Kingdom, alternating between Pinewood Studios and filming on-location. And with it, we get our first look at Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones himself, in his classic duds. It’s basically the same brown and tan jacket-and-fedora ensemble sans the revolver and the whip. Check out the exclusive photo below:
Indiana Jones 5 has gone a long way before finally making it to principal photography. The last installment, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, took almost a decade to sort out and fans didn’t even like it. Many felt Lucasfilm should have ended the series on a high with The Last Crusade, and Spielberg and Ford agreed. The studio wanted more Indy, but the original cast and crew weren’t keen about making more. Talks of Shia LaBeouf taking over Indiana Jones as Mutt Williams began circulating, but quickly lost steam. LaBeouf’s swashbuckling greaser was the most widely panned element of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and neither Harrison Ford nor his equally vocal fanbase wanted him back. Besides, Spielberg couldn’t think up a brand-new MacGuffin after the last movie’s telepathic crystal skull hit phenomenally rock bottom, and without a brilliant new concept for Indy 5, the movie simply wasn’t happening.
After Jurassic World propelled former Parks and Recreation funnyman, Chris Pratt, to grizzled, wisecracking rogue status, and Disney took over Lucasfilm, rumors about the Guardians of the Galaxy star playing a younger Indiana Jones made waves on social media. He was geekdom’s hottest new adventurer since Chris Pine played Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek with all the charm and cynicism of Han Solo, and everyone wanted him on board either as Indy’s other son or Jones himself.
But Harrison Ford made it clear he wouldn’t be sharing the spotlight with the 41-year-old Marvel Cinematic Universe mainstay in any capacity; in his own words, it was “either him or Pratt.” Ford, at 78, is currently 20 years older than Sean Connery was when he played the elder Jones in The Last Crusade. Fans and executives both had doubts about Ford’s ability to step into a physically demanding role — a sentiment that continues to this day. Mostly unanimous opinions about Ford’s age and state of health trended on social media recently, with the general sentiment being he’s simply too old to continue playing Indy the same way he always has.
It’s about time to tip off the fedora hat to someone who could still believably travel the world and fight rogue paramilitary, or so the comments go. But Lucasfilm has decided Harrison Ford is simply too valuable an asset to let go, hence the movie has gone on as planned. Ford will reportedly be de-aged for a major storyline involving the mythical Fountain of Youth.
Indiana Jones 5 stars bareknuckled archaeologist Harrison Ford as Indy and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Kretschmann, Boyd Holbrook, and Shaunette Renée Wilson in currently undisclosed roles. The plot will feature the Cold War-era Space Race and (yes) more Nazis. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The films, set in 60s New York City, was written by a three-man team composed of brothers Jez and John-Henry Butterworth (Ford v Ferrari) and director James Mangold. Longtime Indy director Steven Spielberg, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall, and Simon Emanuel are producing alongside Paramount and Disney. Indiana Jones 5 comes out on July 29, 2022.