Article originally posted on the website abnersjournal.com, your source for all Indiana Jones 5 news, rumors, and fan-fiction, you can read it here
WELCOME to another installment of "The Reboot Awakens", your weekly update for all rumors and speculation on Indiana Jones 5.
Here it is: Episode 2. Feel free to take the discussion over to the Forum after reading and remember... anything goes.
INDY FIVE : THE REBOOT AWAKENS
EPISODE 2 : A TIME AND PLACE
MARCH 28, 2015
Last week I discussed Disney's involvement in the Indiana Jones franchise and why I think the inevitable new film is a good idea. If you have not read Episode 1, you can do so here. This week I wanted to delve deeper into a few things I mentioned in the prior episode: when and where I think Indy 5 could take place. But before that a quick update on some Indiana Jones news.
NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS
Nothing in the way of official news has been released this week from Disney, but who cares, check out these great finds.
- A source from People Magazine says that Harrison Ford will be leaving the hospital this weekend following his long stay due to injuries suffered after his plane crashed in Santa Monica on March 5th.
- Indiana Jones #1 fan-site theraider.net is back up and running after changing hosting networks. Go there now! Can't wait for the Raven forum to reopen next.
Indymag, a fantastic magazine for Indiana Jones fans just put out its 4th issue.
- If you have not heard the bi-weekly Indiana Jones podcast at The Indycast, do yourself a favor and go listen, they just released Episode 208!
AND NOW BACK TO THE DISCUSSION
Our image of Indiana Jones, mainly captured in the first three films, is that of a rugged archeologist that travels the world in the 1930's in search of valuable artifacts. And for those first three films, that was all we needed. But now Disney is taking on the task of continuing the series and the question remains: do they just continue this same formula?
I could see a problem arising if they choose to do so. For one, this formula, though entertaining, could soon seem repetitive over time, redundant, possibly even boring to some audiences. There is nothing worse than a predictable film, which might be the biggest downfall to the bombardment of superhero films coming out these days. Indiana Jones needs to evolve. The main thing lacking in the Indiana Jones series is an emotional attachment to the character. Disney could really benefit from adding a little more depth, a technique that has proven successful for the Bond series. One way to do this is to take Indy out of the 1930's and start him in the 1920's. Explore those relationships he developed before the Raiders film. And like always keep the locations unusual, unique for each storyline. Allow those locations to really change him, similar to the change that occurs in The Temple of Doom, where Indy started the film selfishly in search of "fortune and glory" and ended the film rescuing the children in the mines.
Indiana Jones was born on July 1, 1899, at the turn of the century, which makes it pretty easy to tell the character's age in the various films. Knowing this, and knowing that the television series, The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones, ended in the year 1920, we can see that the character has not been represented on screen from the ages 21-34. That is a lot of ground that could be covered. Also, according to a number of timelines, Indy met Marion Ravenwood around the same time that her father found the headpiece to the Staff of Ra, around 1925-1926. I think this would be the perfect spring board to begin the new film.
The introduction of Abner and a younger Marion is covering somewhat familiar territory but it would stand as a nice connection between the older films and the new ones. Actually this time period works on many levels. It allows the audience to see visually what made Indy the man he is in Temple of Doom, what led to this desire for "fortune and glory", because the young Indy in The Last Crusade was more honorable, much like his father. Was it Abner that made Indy so covetous, or was it the profession itself, competitors like Forestall and Belloq that led him to this philosophy? There is a reason why Abner called Indy a bum, "the most gifted bum he ever trained". What is that reason?
Another thing that the time period allows is a great story opportunity that has only been hinted at. In fact, a whole trilogy could take place involving the Abner character. For those of you not familiar with it, the story goes something like this:
Abner is Indy's teacher and also a mentor to the young man as he studies archeology at the University of Chicago from 1920-1922. The two become close friends. Indy eventually completes his undergraduate degree and he and Abner part ways. Indy moves onto the graduate program at the Sorbonne, in France. In 1925 Abner contacts Indy, asking for his help in hunting down the Ark of the Covenant, a long time obsession of Abner's. Indy ends up helping his friend, and it is then that they discover the headpiece to the Staff of Ra. It is also during this time that Indy starts seeing Abner's daughter Marion, unbeknownst to the professor. Abner eventually finds out about the romance and becomes angry. Feeling betrayed, Abner immediately cuts ties with Indy, putting a dramatic end to their friendship. Indy would not see Marion again until a decade later.
Now that's cinema! Hell, that's borderline Greek tragedy. And if you were to tell this story against the backdrop of an epic adventure then you have a definite classic on your hands. The first film could follow Indy and Abner, the second introduce Marion, the third could see the ultimate end of the relationship between mentor and student. And after those films you would still have about eight years until Temple of Doom.
Thinking of this possible Staff of Ra storyline, I start to imagine all of the locations that could be involved. Egypt of course, which I think would balance nicely with the color scheme of Raiders. But there is another country that I believe would lend itself to some beautiful imagery, and was actually hinted at as having a connection with the headpiece in the original first draft of Raiders.
In the original first draft written by Lawrence Kasdan the headpiece is broke into two pieces. Indy is aware of the locations of both; Abner having one piece in Nepal and a man named General Tengtu Hok, otherwise known as the "Wild Boar", has the other piece in Shanghai.
Yes, Shanghai, which the filmmakers, like many of the cut scenes in Raiders, would end up revisiting in Temple of Doom. But instead of diamonds and Lao Che, Indy ends up retrieving the first half of the headpiece before the Germans are able to get to it.
In both films the visit to China is short-lived and I always thought that it was a waste that the country wasn't explored further.
You could in fact stay close to the first draft and have China the harborer of the relic or even a map that leads to the headpiece. Also in that first draft was the inclusion of samurai warriors from Japan. That would make a great enemy for Indy to face, that or a mysterious group of Ninja warriors. Both give you a villain other than Nazis, and allows for a wider range of fight choreography and action scenes.
Like most fans of Spielberg and Lucas who are into film history, I came across the Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa in high school (for those of you not familiar with his work check out these sites here and here and here). Watching his films, one can easily see why his melodramatic style has been transferred over the years to the western genre. Indiana Jones, which has ties to classic westerns and filmmakers like John Ford, utilizes some of these same Shakespearean themes. Dusty streets, two men facing off, great supporting characters watching the duel nervously from afar. It seems only natural that the next step would be to connect the dots here. Much like Lucas and Spielberg were influenced by the old serials, they were also influenced by the samurai films of Kurosawa. What better way to pay homage than to throw Indy smack dab into one of these Asian landscapes.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Join Abner's Journal next week for EPISODE 3 : THE SILHOUETTE STAYS THE SAME, where we take a closer look at casting the Indiana Jones reboot.