Raiders At 40: The Future Of Indiana Jones?

As I write this right now, a new Indiana Jones film is in production and currently filming. I’m a massive Indy fan, so much so that I’m one of the few that, despite its problems, I actually enjoyed Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Yet, even I just can’t get excited or even slightly interested in this new film. I guess I could break out plenty of jokes about Harrison Ford being too old, etc. But when the 78-year-old (as of writing) actor is fitter and more active than the 44-year-old me writing this article, I’m really not in a position to suggest he’s too old to play the character.

OLD INDY

Yes, that is old Indiana Jones. No, it is not Harrison Ford. That is George Hall playing a 93-year-old Indy from The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV show. That’s the key thing about Dr Jones, he’s not like James Bond who magically regenerates every few years and keeps going for decades. Indy grows old and eventually dies. You can’t have someone else step in and play the character, it has to be Harrison Ford… Or a stand-in and CGI technology to make it look like Ford.

Anyway, even though I liked the film, I can still admit that Crystal Skull had numerous problems. But an aged Ford playing Dr Jones wasn’t one of them as he was still fantastic in the role. What was a problem for me was the year the film was set, that being 1957. There’s just something about Indy that feels like it should be set no later than the 1940s. Despite my enjoying Crystal Skull, I really had a problem with it being in the fifties, and the late fifties too. I mean, given the over a decade gap between flicks (fourteen years from Crystal Skull to Indy 5’s suggested 2022 release), this means the new one would have to be set in the early seventies… and that’s way too late for an Indiana Jones film. Maybe they could get away with a late sixties setting (there have been rumours it’ll use the 1969 moon landing as a backdrop)? Either way, that just doesn’t sit right with me for an Indiana Jones adventure. So, I thought I’d pitch an idea of how to keep the Indy film franchise going, all while keeping well away from a more modern setting.

INDY BACK

De-ageing. Everyone is going crazy for de-ageing technology these days. From an older Robert Downey Jr. appearing younger as Tony Stark in the Marvel flicks, to (a then) late fifties Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem being back in 1988 in Coming 2 America. But let’s not mention the terrible de-ageing of Jeff Bridges in Tron Legacy. De-ageing tech is really quite impressive these days and any actor/character can now become any age they want. So why not a younger Indiana Jones back in his prime? In fact, I’m going to call it now that Indy 5 will use de-ageing. Perhaps not for the whole flick, but I’m willing to bet that a younger, prime-aged, circa Last Crusade era Dr Jones will be in the film, a flashback, the traditional mini-movie opening or something. I bet we will see a younger Indy in the film.

Anyway, using a de-aged Harrison Ford, there’s plenty to work with. Indy has an existence outside of the films you know. He has an entire history of adventures that he’s been on in his life. They could even make a movie about Indy’s relationship with Abner Ravenwood, and his lack of relationship with his own father. The long rumoured and very vague romantic involvement with Marion. It could work as a direct prequel to Raiders and show just how Indy helped Abner to find the headpiece to the Staff of Ra. 

Take a look at Indiana Jones in video games too, there are several games that are considered canon with the character. Adventures that have never been on the big screen. There are novels and comic books that could be used as a source. There’s even Indiana Jones theme park rides and attractions with stories not based on the films that could be explored. They could de-age Harrison Ford and put him in several ‘unseen’ Indy adventures, all keeping within the timeframe of when the character was in his prime too. Take a look at my previous article where I explored Indy sequels that never got made. Those are just some of the scripts and story ideas, there could be more unused scripts that are not known about. Seriously, there’s loads of ideas that could last years. Just as an example, the adventure game, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis is often considered one of Indy’s greatest adventures. Yet it has never been made into a film. It could though. A big-screen version of Fate of Atlantis could be amazing and Indy could still be age-appropriate too. I’d personally love to see Indiana Jones and Sophia Hapgood on the big screen.

FATE OF ATLANTIS

Speaking of games, It’s quite surprising there haven’t been more. I know that there’s a new Indy game coming from Bethesda and Machine games… Coming when is anyone’s guess. It could be years away yet. But why haven’t there been more Indy games? Before this new title was announced, the last ‘proper’ Indiana Jones game was Lego Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues from 2009. As I write this, it is the summer of 2021. That’s twelve years without a real Indy game. Again, there’s a rich history of the character that could be explored in video games and yet, that’s just not happening. Indiana Jones really could have a deep and long-lasting history, even after Indy 5 is released next year. It’s a shame that the character is not being used as much as it could be.


There’s still more to come with my Raiders at 40 celebrations. Next up, I take a look at perhaps, the most famous Raiders of the Lost Ark scene. I’m talking giant boulder action.

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