Indiana Jones is returning
But without George Lucas this time. Does that make it better? It’s interesting that in the last decade Harrison Ford has revisited his two most beloved characters, Han Solo and Indiana Jones, and it turned out so wildly different. Everyone loved Han Solo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, particularly because the character got the heroic end he always deserved—he should have died in Return of the Jedi—but Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull almost destroyed Indy’s legacy.
Well Disney wants a Mulligan. They released a statement today announcing a fifth Indiana Jones movie, slated for July 19, 2019. Steve Spielberg will direct. Ford will star. And George Lucas is not mentioned. The rights for Indy had to be negotiated separately from Disney’s buyout of LucasFilm, in a deal with Paramount, not Lucas. So it’s highly likely Lucas won’t be involved with Indy for the first time in franchise history. Pre-Force Awakens, there probably would have been more grumbling about that. But now, I think everyone pretty much sees it as a good sign. Fair or not, the legacy of George Lucas is one in which his creations have to be saved from their creator.
I love Indiana Jones, and I am curious to see what Indy will be without George Lucas, and how they handle time—will it be set in the 1960s?—but the difference between Han Solo and Indiana Jones is that Han is a character who evolves, and Indy isn’t. From the moment we meet him, Han Solo is growing and maturing and evolving, but Indiana Jones isn’t really a character. He’s an archetype—Adventure Hero In Cool Hat And Jacket—that you drop into different stories. Indy doesn’t change. He’s always kind of a womanizer who thinks It Belongs In A Museum. Part of the problem with Crystal Skull isn’t just the everything about it, it’s specifically that the notion of an older Indy goes against his archetypical unchanging quality. Doing a Lucas-free Indy movie will give us a chance to answer whether or not the Crystal Skull problem was Lucas’s dumb ideas or if Indiana Jones, like James Bond, needs to be recast every 10-15 years.
Also keep an eye out for Marvel’s Inhumans to move its release date. It’s currently slated for July 12, 2019, but it will undoubtedly get rescheduled. It will be the first time Marvel kicks a release date because of another movie. They didn’t even move for Star Wars.