With the news that Steven Spielberg will no longer be directing the bizarre film project Indiana Jones 5, a few readers asked me for Balladeer’s Blog’s take.
In the past I’ve mentioned how foolish it is to think that Harrison Ford MUST play Indy in all the movies. James Bond and Tarzan are just two recurring heroes that have survived multiple casting changes over the years.
The obvious move long ago would have been to cast a younger actor – say, Chris Pratt – as Indiana Jones and detail some of his earlier adventures. I love the Roaring Twenties so I think it would have been great to see Dr Jones’ activities in that decade.
Since it would be before Raiders of the Lost Ark even Belloq (maybe Gary Oldman) could appear in a few installments. I can’t possibly be alone in wanting to see some of those “many stimulating encounters” that Belloq referred to having with Indy in Raiders.
Belloq was French, so do a story with Dr Jones searching for a lost relic in 1920s Vietnam. Belloq’s hoity-toity family could be among the French plantation owners there, helping to set up a clash with our hero. Or have the two vying with each other to recover ancient Russian artifacts from violent factions of Red and White Russians in the years after the Russian Civil War. Any number of things.
One of the main things I hate about keeping Harrison Ford as Indy is the fact that Ford’s age requires the setting to be the 1950s or 1960s. Those decades are far too late for the “homage to 1930s pulp and serial heroes” charm of the original Indiana Jones trilogy.
Back in 2008, instead of the awful Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls, they could have made Son of Indiana Jones. Chris Pratt – or anyone else NOT named Shia Lebouf, who is shia venny talent – could have been the son of Indy and Marion, named Gemini Jones or Mercury Jones or something similar.
The opening could have been set at a celebration Indy and Marion threw for their son in honor of him getting his PhD in physics or another science. We’d still have a “Doctor Jones” as the hero, but him being a scientist would have gone with the theme of the continuation of the franchise.
That theme? Paying homage to the 1950s sci-fi and/or monster flicks to substitute for the homage to 1930s pulps and serials that Pappy Jones’ adventures represented. The new Doctor Jones could clash with aliens, campy Commies or even “American Kaiju” figures like Big Bugs or an amazing colossal man or two. He’d be a more action-oriented Captain Z-Ro or Quatermass-type.
This way, with Harrison Ford and Karen Allen appearing in small supporting roles, it would still count as the same franchise but with storylines updated to the 1950s. For hypersensitive people who fret over Indiana Jones recovering relics from non-white cultures that story element would be gone for good, but would be seamlessly replaced.
At any rate, I feel that keeping Indiana Jones chained to the mummified Harrison Ford is doing a huge injustice to the character.
By the way, I love contemplating these types of revisions, so readers can feel free to bombard me with any stories or characters on which they think I might have an interesting take.
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