More than anything, I love Indiana Jones. And more than any disappointing pop culture thing that has happened so far in the 2000s, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom the Crystal Skull broke me. Games of Thrones had a disappointing finale? I made my peace with it. New New Star Wars sh-t the bed? Whatever, Star Wars never sticks the landing. DC f-cking up their superheroes? They’ll figure it out eventually. But Indiana Jones and the Unspeakable Sequel? I will NEVER get over it. I always had a sneaking suspicion that Indiana Jones should be like James Bond, played by a series of new actors every decade or so. Like Bond, Indy is one of those characters you don’t want to see age, which Crystal Skull proved. Indy is also too specific to one style and tone—pre-war adventure serials—to survive outside of that greenhouse. At most you could stretch back to the early 1900s, but Indiana Jones should always exist in a world apart from our own. The more it looks like the contemporary world, the less it works, and Crystal Skull proved that when the Indy formula failed to map successfully onto a Fifties B-movie sci-fi style.
But nothing ever stands in the way of Disney and our money, so we’re getting a fifth Indiana Jones movie—Indiana Jones and the Long Goodbye—and they’re trying to win us over by casting everyone’s favorite imaginary best friend, Phoebe Waller-Bridge. I will not be won over! I have been dreading this fifth Indy movie for 13 YEARS and I WILL NOT STOP NOW. When Indy 5 was first announced back in 2016 I noted it could answer the question of whether or not Indiana Jones can evolve, or if it is a character that needs regular recasting. Five years later, I don’t wonder anymore. I’ve re-watched all four Indy movies several times in the intervening years, and I am convinced Indiana Jones shouldn’t age. Even by 2018 I was hoping to live in an alternate reality where we would not be subjected to more Old Indy.
How much do you want to bet Waller-Bridge is playing another long-lost Jones child? This didn’t work out previously with Shia LaBeouf, so they’ll try again and hope we’ll accept a Jones daughter over a Jones son. Will she have a stupid name like “Mutt”? Or will they give her a cool name more in line with “Indiana”? Something like…Delta Jones. Or maybe Abilene Jones, stick with the geographical naming convention. I just don’t think it’s a coincidence they’ve cast a famous brunette when Indy’s top love interest is Marion Ravenswood, one of cinema’s great brunettes. Details of Indy 5 are scarce, but Harrison Ford will be back as Old Indy, John Williams will once again compose the score, and James Mangold is taking over director duties from Steven Spielberg. This will be the first time we’ll see Indiana Jones without Spielberg directing (he is still producing with George Lucas producing), and I could almost be tempted to reinvest based on that, except that I fundamentally do not think Old Indy works. I’m over it. I don’t want it. Phoebe Waller-Bridge isn’t convincing me, no, not even with that sly smile and twinkle in her eyes.