How Would You Handle the Future of the ‘Indiana Jones’ Franchise?

By March 26, 2014

By now, you’ve all undoubtedly heard the rumor about Disney’s plan to continue the Indiana Jones franchise in a “James Bond” style fashion by recasting the role if star Harrison Ford is too old when another movie is ready to go into production. (Bradley Cooper is reportedly at the top of the studio’s wishlist should they decide to go that route, though no offer has been made and the studio likely hasn’t even had a meeting with Cooper about this yet). Since Indiana Jones is one of my favorite cinematic characters – Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade are among my favorite films ever made – this announcement naturally got me thinking: if Steven Spielberg handed me the metaphorical keys to the Indiana Jones franchise, what would I do with it? It’s a tougher question than you might think.

Since Disney completed its maneuver to gain the rights to future Indiana Jones films, we can be sure of one thing: our favorite whip-carrying professor is coming to the big screen at some point. The studio will absolutely continue to mine the character of Indiana Jones for further adventures (read: moneymaking opportunities), so stopping the franchise after Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is no longer an option. But will Harrison Ford be donning the iconic fedora in a new movie, or will it be passed off to a younger star? Ford has expressed interest in playing the part again, but since he’s not getting any younger and he’ll be busy (at least for a little while) with Star Wars: Episode VII coming up, a new Ford-led Indy film won’t be rolling any time in the immediate future.

Indy bazooka

Back when Kingdom of the Crystal Skull came out, it seemed likely that Shia LaBeouf would inherit the hat for future big-screen adventures (maybe in Mutt Williams and the Pyramid of Gold, or something like that), but with the young actor’s recent antics involving plagiarism and the fact that he spoke out against Spielberg when Crystal Skull was released, we’re guessing that opportunity has vanished. Bradley Cooper seems…well, fine, I guess, but here’s the problem with equating Indiana Jones to James Bond: Ford has been the face of this franchise for more than thirty years. With the Bond franchise, audiences are already familiar with the idea that James Bond can be played by more than one man, so recasting that role isn’t as monumental a change. I’d argue that Sherlock Holmes (another character that has been played by multiple actors over time) falls into the same boat: right now, Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, and Jonny Lee Miller are all playing him at the same time. But Indy – at least, as an adult – has always been Harrison Ford. Can anyone else come in and make that role his own at this point?

So what would you do if you had control over the future of the franchise? Would you go ahead with a straight sequel, assuming all the key players are up for returning? Recast the main characters and remake the original films? Expand the universe by recasting and telling brand new Indiana Jones stories? Fandom often gets crapped on for making dumb suggestions when it comes to their favorite cinematic properties, and I want to prove that theory wrong. Let us know how you’d handle the Indy franchise in the comments below.

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.
  • Tobias Kuhn

    I don’t mind Skull. They should do one last which Ford and please use less CGI