Despite its age and a much-maligned fourth installment, the Indiana Jones series stands strong as a set of action movie masterpieces and cultural icons. To this day, Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones still leaves a profound effect on anyone who sees his adventures unfold on either the big screen or home video. Now, an animator has gone the extra mile to make a short animation dedicated to the daring archaeologist. The film will soon be released online, and animation could also be the key to unlock Indy's future.
Indiana Jones And His Animated Origins
A few years ago, during the hype for Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Lucasfilm and ACME Archives commissioned Netherlands-based animator and character designer Patrick Schoenmaker to envision Indiana Jones as the hero of his very own animated series. The end result was a recreation of a scene from Indy's first movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. The piece is shown below.
While his clients moved on, Patrick could not let go of his excitement as he wanted to draw more Indy and even bring the adventurer to animated life. He then spent the next five years working on his own animated fan film titled The Adventures of Indiana Jones, which is finally moving out of production and into its long awaited online release.
Patrick Schoenmaker posted this message on his personal site about his upcoming passion project.
'Indiana Jones' must have been my first true movie hero ever since I watched 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' on a VCR way back when. Yes, some other heroes came and went, but Indy always held a special place. After 'Crystal Skull' was released, my love for the character was once again fully ignited and with no new movies on the horizon back then, I decided to set up an 'Indiana Jones' project of my own to keep the fire burning a little bit longer. So, that was back in 2011 and ‘a little bit longer’ turned into 5 years of hard work. The end of the project is finally in sight.
The are no details regarding the animated movie's plot but based on concept art released by the animator, it looks like The Adventures of Indiana Jones will be incorporating every iconic element that helped immortalize Steven Spielberg's action movie franchise. From Nazis to ancient artifacts to temples filled with skeletons, The Adventures of Indiana Jones appears to have it all.
Some familiar faces will also make an animated comeback. These returning characters include Indy's academic friend Marcus Brody, his sidekick Short Stop from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and his father Henry Jones Sr. from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
There is no word as to who will be providing the voices, if there are any, but Schoenmaker getting help from friends and/or freelance voice actors would be a good guess. (The live-action versions of those characters were played by Denholm Elliott, Jonathan Ke Quan, and Sean Connery.) The Adventures of Indiana Jones is set to be released online on September 29, 2016, as per an announcement on a Tumblr page dedicated to Steven Spielberg's works.
Production for a fifth Indiana Jones movie isn't far off, but the future of the Indiana Jones franchise as a whole is still up in the air. Disney CEO Bob Iger has gone on record to state that there are plans for a possible Indiana Jones shared universe, but nothing else was revealed. As of now, only the fifth installment has been confirmed and even that is shrouded in secrecy.
The Adventures of Indiana Jones may be unofficial, but its existence is something both fans and Disney's executives should take note of. Given Harrison Ford's age, it's obvious he won't be able to play one of his most iconic roles forever. For all we know, the fifth movie may be his last performance as Indiana Jones. Yet he could continue to do so by voicing the character instead, if Disney decides to create an animated series inspired by Patrick Schoenmaker's work. Disney's other properties, like the ever-growing world of Star Wars and Marvel's superhero teams such as the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, continue their stories away from the big screen in their own televised animated shows. Indy & Co. could follow suit.
Doing so would be part of what Iger hopes to achieve with an Indiana Jones shared universe, at half the budget. If anything, an animated version of the character can open doors to action sequences, events and settings producers may consider too expensive for a live-action movie. Whether or not Disney animates Indy, fans of the world's most violent whip-cracking archaeologist are in for something special when September 29 rolls around.
In the same vein of The Adventures of Indiana Jones, another animator by name of Paul Johnson dedicated four years of work to create TIE Fighter: an animated homage to Star Wars. TIE Fighter re-imagines the Imperial TIE Fighter pilots as the heroes of their very own '80s styled anime. Check it out below.