Ever since we were all children (or in the case of some slightly more mature readers...young adults) there have been a handful of people we've always wished we could be. Batman, Superman, Spider-Man and James Bond often make up that list but it's a safe bet that the all-time king of that mountain is Indiana Jones. It's one of those weird paradoxes where a college professor can end up being the figurehead of idolization and a goal to achieve in life.
Many people get into the field of archeology based on what they saw on screen thinking it was going to be this exciting life of adventure, religious mysticism and free love...only to find out that, instead, they're just digging in the dirt on some under funded project and probably getting Malaria from a mosquito.
A couple of years ago, when the Walt Disney company acquired the rights to Lucasfilm Ltd. the first thing that went into effect was production on Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens as well as a new series of spin-off films now known as the Star Wars Anthology. The other major thing that happened as a result of that deal, however, was the acquirement of the Indiana Jones franchise (stripping it from, a more than likely bitter, Paramount Pictures). Immediately fans demanded to know what the plans were for Indy, now under the banner of Disney (which has been gaining steam in the action/adventure genre with Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
Fans began salivating when Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, made that announcement that a fifth Indiana Jones adventure was in the plans under the new parenthood of Walt Disney Pictures by stating that it,
will one day be made inside this company. When it will happen, I'm not quite sure. We haven't started working on a script yet, but we are talking about it.
So there you have it, folks. Lucasfilm and Disney will, one day, make a new Indiana Jones adventure. But that's old news. As it most of this topic. What's on everyones minds nowadays is whether or not it will be a sequel with Harrison Ford or whether it will be a reboot with a new, younger and more fit actor to take on the fedora and whip for a new generation.
A lot of fan speculation has circled around recent box office superstar [Chris Pratt] picking up that mantle.
I have nothing against Chris Pratt. I think he's a tremendous actor. I've thought that since the days of Everwood. I loved Guardians of the Galaxy (holding it in such esteem as one of the best movies Marvel has offered so far) and I can't wait to see Jurassic World. And The Lego Movie?! YES!!! (Screw you, Oscars!) If anybody was going to take Indiana Jones away from Harrison Ford it would, rightfully so, be him.
However, that doesn't seem to be in the cards. Pratt, himself, recently shut down the rumors by stating he had talked with Disney about it but they were just talks. His schedule is currently full for the foreseeable future with the Jurassic World press tour and multiple films involved with his Marvel contract (not just Guardians of the Galaxy 2 but also, it seems, GotG 3 and at least one of the Avengers: Infinity War parts).
I can see how comments like that can come as a crushing blow to some fans, but I'm here to tell you one definitive fact:
We DON'T need an Indiana Jones reboot!
Indiana Jones has been the idol of people the world over for more than 30 years, which says a lot considering he's only had four theatrical adventures and a relatively short-lived television series depicting his childhood adventures.
Do you remember The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles?
Harrison Ford even guest starred in a feature length episode of the show as the elder Indy who was telling the story that particular time around. And one of those adventures – the one where he met Pancho Villa – was actually referenced in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Indiana Jones helped define not one, but two generations. I can see the appeal for wanting to ensure that such a legacy can transcend time and continue to define more generations to come. I truly can. But a big part – if not the most essential part – of that legacy, though, belongs to Harrison Ford.
Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones!
The most fatiguing part of a franchise that is frequently rebooted is the revolving door of actors that take over the lead role. The James Bond franchise, as entertaining as it has been over the years, is bogged down by the variety of actors that have driven the Aston Martin and drank the martinis. Discussions of the franchise steer more toward who did it better than the value of the stories themselves. The same can be said of Batman. There was even a gag in the movie Neighbors wherein Seth Rogen and Zac Efron talk about who their Batman is.
Indiana Jones doesn't need to be the next James Bond or Batman.
I don't want a day to come where people have the conversation about who the better Indiana Jones was between Harrison Ford, Chris Pratt or Asa Butterfield. Indiana Jones is an enduring legacy. A milestone in cinema history. An icon. He should be treated with the respect as such.
Another reason why we don't need a reboot is that there's no requirement to redefine the story. For all of its faults (and there were many), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did one thing exceptionally well and that was that it played up the fact that Indiana Jones is older. He's not immortal. His adventures don't need to be started over from scratch. He's a man. And men get old. Men die. That's life, boys and girls. Everyone has an open and shut story and I feel like it's important that someone as iconic as Indiana Jones be the exception to the Hollywood rule and live his cinematic life the same way that we mere mortals live ours.
There's also something to be said about how accepting an audience can be towards a new actor taking up a role that was defined for decades by a single actor (not counting Sean Patrick Flanery – or even River Phoenix – because they played the character at a time when he was significantly younger than Harrison Ford). I really wish J.J. Abrams' reboot of Star Trek had left out the part about time travel and Leonard Nimoy and just been a straight, unaffiliated remake of the original series because one of the biggest things that I couldn't get behind was that we suddenly had new actors playing these iconic roles. They were entertaining enough movies and I enjoy watching them but William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley were Kirk, Spock and Bones (respectively) for 40+ years and I just couldn't get down with new people playing those parts. Now maybe that's just me and other people had no issues with the reboot cast. Regardless, it's a valid feeling that I would take with me into a reboot of Indiana Jones as well and the quality of the film would suffer for it.
Now, there are specific times when a film just generally becomes outdated and (if popular enough at a specific time) needs to be updated to appeal to a new audience. Kids today can't relate to the 1980s, which is why you got remakes of The Karate Kid, Footloose and just about every horror movie that decade had to offer. However, there a few movies in this world that are completely timeless that can be watched any time and be just as enjoyable and moving as they ever were. As a technical period piece (taking place in the 30s up through the 50s), Indiana Jones movies are not bound by the need to be culturally relevant to the time period they're being viewed in. Essentially put, Indiana Jones is the epitome of timeless movies. A few outdated special effects aside, it holds up just as well today as it ever did.
Lastly, why we don't need a reboot of Indiana Jones is the familial bonding that comes with such an iconic franchise. There are movies that, as a parent, you can't wait to show to your kids. Star Wars tops the list for most parents but right up there with it is also Raiders of the Lost Ark. For people who are interested in that sorta thing (which, let's be honest...if you're reading this then you are) it's a pretty important thing to do between a parent and their child. Now, unfortunately, Star Wars has fallen into a little bit of a trap with which films do parents today start their kids with? When we were younger all we had was the original trilogy, so when the prequels came out we understood the story and all of the little inside jokes and easter eggs. But the new generations aren't going to understand why you're showing them part 4 first. Indiana Jones doesn't really have that issue. Yes, Temple of Doom is a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark but they all follow their own unique stories so they aren't as dependent on an order as Star Wars is. But if it gets a reboot then you now have to fight with which version they're going to have more of an interest in following. When my daughter is old enough to watch Superman movies am I going to show her the older and less relevant (albeit vastly superior) Christopher Reeve movies? Or am I going to show her the darker, more disappointing (yet more culturally relevant) Man of Steel? And what the hell do I do with Spider-Man?!?! The Sam Raimi movies? The Amazing Spider-Man? The new MCU reboot?! They aren't even separated by significant decades. That's just a chaotic mess of "what the hell just happened?!?!"
I don't want that with Indiana Jones.
I want to be able to sit down with my child (or children if I have another one in the future) and watch the original, perfectly enjoyable and timelessly iconic franchise and not have to explain to them why there are different actors and different timelines and why one is completely separate from the other. You're a company built on family interaction, Disney. Don't complicate precious moments like that just because you want to make billions of dollars on franchise by potentially making it last for decades more than it needs to.
Now, that said...
Should Disney and Lucasfilm make any more Indiana Jones movies at all?
Yes. Of course they should. Sure, The Last Crusade was supposed to be just that...the LAST. And Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was far from what people wanted after such a long absence. But regardless of that, I am all for more adventures of Indiana Jones...with HARRISON FORD. For as long as he is able Harrison Ford should keep being Indiana Jones. And we all know that he is able. And don't tell me that isn't what you REALLY want to see. After all, who didn't give off a geeky squeal when they saw this for the first time?
And if Disney really wants to keep things going longer than Harrison Ford is up for then who's to say it has to be a hard reboot? Why not a soft reboot with Harrison Ford passing the torch to a new adventurer? And no, I don't mean Shia LeBeouf. His remarks about Crystal Skull proved that he is not deserving of such an honor. But maybe Chris Pratt, Ryan Reynolds or some other young, hotshot actor can step in to the next movie as a partner who branches off into his own series of spin-off adventures. I mean hell, Sylvester Stallone is in the process of doing that very same thing with the Rocky franchise. He's gotten too old to keep stepping into the ring so he's handing the reins over to Michael B. Jordan in the new Creed spin-off. I think that's a perfectly viable option to ensure things continue on without upsetting the current continuity.
But I think that's enough rambling on my part. What do you all think? Am I right in wanting to see Indiana Jones preserved as we've always known him? Or does the character transcend the actor playing him? Sound off below.