Article entitled "Bridging the Gap", originally posted on the website abnersjournal.com, you can read it here
YOU KNOW IT'S SAD BUT TRUE
As Disney gears up to reboot the Indiana Jones franchise, it is looking more and more that fans need to prepare themselves for another actor to don the fedora. With that said, I wanted to share some thoughts on things that I think should be considered when replacing Harrison Ford.
First of all, the source material that exists should not be thrown out, but instead it should be built upon. Fans do not want to pretend that Raiders did not happen. The reboot should incorporate the existing material into the character's mythos. Stories should be created around the events of the television show and the films. There is a large gap that has not been shown on screen with the television series ending with Indy at the age of 21 and the film series picking up his story at the age of 35. That is fourteen years worth of story potential. (Read The Reboot Awakens episode, A Time and Place, for more thoughts on this idea.)
The complaint that I have heard about this idea is that in the mind of some fans Indiana Jones is a "man". That is what they see and that is what they want to be given, a man in his thirties and forties. I understand that argument, but I think it would be easier for the audience to except another actor in the role if they were given a slightly different incarnation of that character. It is okay to add some depth to the character as well. Seeing Indiana Jones' first teaching assignment, his work with his mentor Abner Ravenwood, his love affair with Abner's daughter Marion, would be dramatic and would add depth to the character and the world he exists in. And that is what Disney is trying to do, create a long-lasting series of films, that do not become stale or predictable after awhile. That is one of the complaints of the superhero genre, that it is redundant. So how do you overcome this problem? You add depth to the story, by making the characters believable and complex. You do not follow a formula or structure, instead you take chances, try something different.
This brings me to Chris Pratt, the current front-runner for the reboot. I don't mind Chris Pratt playing the role. I think he would do a great job! In fact, the idea is really growing on me, and I think, like most people out there, I'll have a better opinion once Jurassic World is released. But as far as this article is concerned, I am discussing the possibility of casting a younger actor in the role and Pratt will be turning 36 this year, which might make him a little too old to play a young Indy. Another concern is humor, and this is harder to explain. The humor that came from Indiana Jones was subtle. It was slight facial expressions, a glance here, a smile there. He was a serious man who found himself in absurd situations, that is what made those moments funny. I think there should be a certain edge to the character, a certain darkness, and I haven't seen Pratt play that role yet (not saying he couldn't pull it off). I also would like to see someone that resembles Harrison Ford a little more. I know that's asking a lot, but if you're trying to allow the other films to exist in the Universe, why not find an actor that would bridge the gap between River Phoenix and Ford, or Sean Patrick Flanery and Ford.
An argument against this, is the comparison of the Indiana Jones franchise and the Bond franchise. Bond has been played by a number of actors on film, all with their own take on the character. Sure, Indiana Jones could do that. And down the road, we'll look back and compare the actors that have played Indy in three films here, two film there, this one was fantastic, this one not so much. I don't like that idea. I think, you pick one actor and roll the dice, push in all your chips, let that actor be Indiana Jones for a generation. Let him be 25 and let him play the character until he is fifty five or sixty five. I mean, could you imagine if we would of had that opportunity with Harrison Ford, if we had a few more films while he was in his prime?
As far as who should play the role, I don't know. Find an unknown. My vote would be Garrett Hedlund right now, just for his performance in On the Road. I believe he has the right look, and could pull off Indiana Jones at 26 or 27. Just check out this short clip from the upcoming film Mojave over at IndieWire (here is the link), and imagine Garrett Hedlund as Indiana Jones and Oscar Isaac as a rival archeologist...
I guess I was hoping for Harrison Ford to do one more, and use that film to introduce the new actor through flashbacks, the young Indiana Jones scenes could act as the major action set pieces. It would also give you the chance to bring in Indy's mentor, Abner Ravenwood, who I could see being played by a George Clooney type. A big name like that would be a box-office draw even if the actor playing Indy was an unknown. Now I'm just rambling. I'm sure there will be some news soon. Until next time, I bid you adieu.