The first trailer for Indiana Jones 5 dropped yesterday and it is terrible. I know I am deeply cynical about continuing the Indy saga after Indiana Jones and the Cursed Thing That Never Happened broke my heart in 2008, but all I see in this new trailer are the same beats as that movie, and I don’t see how what was a huge mistake fourteen years ago is suddenly going to be the right thing now. Can Phoebe Waller-Bridge punch it up? Will the presence of Boyd Holbrook make it better? Will Mads Mikkelsen dance, perhaps, and lighten our souls even momentarily in this dreary world? If any or all of that happens, will it outweigh what I believe to be the fundamental mistake of not recasting Indiana Jones? 


The film is officially titled Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. We’ve come along way from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and The Last Crusade. Those titles all imply a certain grandeur, a wide scope of spectacle. Dial of Destiny sounds like a 1980s boardgame that comes with a fake phone. I’m sure this will all work out.


The trailer punches the nostalgia button hard, referencing Indy’s past adventures against Nazis—the de-aging tech continues to improve every year—and the return of John Rhys Davies as Sallah, plus the ubiquitous epic take on the John Williams theme (already epic in and of itself). We also get to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge in action as Indy’s goddaughter. They’ve already played the secret kid card, so they can’t go there again, but her styling and attitude suggest at some point someone thought about a Marion Ravenwood daughter, and here we are. As for the adventure, eh. I remain unsold. Oh, a big chase in a parade? Is that like a big chase in a JUNGLE? I don’t trust any of these people making these decisions. They’ve already f-cked this up once before.

Also, Dr. Henry Jones, Jr. saying, “I don’t believe in magic,” is LUDICROUS. Sir, you have seen Nazis get their FACES MELTED by God’s power, you have seen a man bring people back from the dead, you drank from the Holy Grail and are, technically, IMMORTAL. You don’t believe in magic?! Your whole LIFE is magic! I know Indy is supposed to be a rational science type, but you think by his sixties, after everything he’s seen, Indy’s attitude would be a little more…open-minded. If anything, if we must do Old Indy, he should probably be a crackpot in his field by this point. He’s seen incredible things, but he can’t back any of it up, you think that would have some kind of effect on his career. Instead, we see him still teaching like a normal dude, though his students don’t appear to be writing “I love you” on their eyelids anymore.


I maintain Indiana Jones should be treated like James Bond and recast every 10-15 years. The films live in the early 20th century, like the adventure serials that inspired Raiders. And, just as there is a plum opportunity to reimagine Bond for the 2020s, Indy could be reimagined from a more contemporary perspective, too. “It belongs in a museum,” he says, but what does that mean as repatriation of artifacts becomes a bigger cultural issue? Build a 1930s adventure around Indy trying to return an artifact to its homeland. Plus, Indiana Jones is not a character people want to see age. Indy is fun. He’s cool. You know what isn’t fun and cool? Aging. So recast Indy every few years, keep him forever thorty-ish, and make Glen Powell the new Indiana Jones. C’mon. You can 100% see it.