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New ‘Indiana Jones’ Film Officially In Development

Updated: Jun 1, 2020

Director James Mangold is set to helm the project.

Indiana Jones Amblin Entertainment
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones [Amblin Entertainment]

After much speculation, it looks like a new Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) adventure is finally coming to the big screen. The untitled film will be the fifth in the storied franchise. James Mangold, known for his gritty Logan (2017) and the stylish Ford v. Ferrari (2019) is set to direct.

The latest Indiana Jones installment was scheduled for release some time in 2021, but will likely be pushed back to 2022 due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

During a recent “Quarantine Watch Party” for Logan, Mangold discussed his upcoming approach to the new Indiana Jones film:

“I’m always trying to find an emotional center to operate from. I think the most important thing is, in an age when franchises have become a commodity, that serving the same thing again. At least for me, in the dances I’ve had with any franchises, serving the same thing again, the same way, usually just produces a longing for the first time you ate it. Meaning, it makes an audience wish that they just had the first one over again. So you have to push something to some place new, while also remembering the core reasons why everyone was gathered.”

James Mangold
James Mangold directs Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in ‘Logan’ [20th Century Fox]

In a recent interview with Collider, creative producer Frank Marshall confirmed that the film is currently in talks with studios. Marshall also revealed that Steven Spielberg will be back to help produce the project. The legendary filmmaker directed the first four iconic action-adventure Indiana Jones movies, beginning with Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981.

Marshall made it known that the film will not go into pre-production until the COVID-19 pandemic is over:

“It’s going to obviously slow things down, so we’re trying to adjust,” Marshall said about the coronavirus impact. “You won’t see a lot of big crowd scenes, for example, for awhile. There won’t be any more craft service, so maybe that’ll be good for people, keeping more fit. It’s a moving target right now.”

As far as the script goes, Lucasfilm’s president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed to BBC back in February that the new Indiana Jones film will be the next chapter in the character’s saga. “Yeah, it’s not a reboot; it’s a continuation.”

Kathleen Kennedy Frank Marshall
Kathleen Kennedy, left, and Frank Marshall, right [Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/REX/S]

As of now, veteran screenwriter David Koepp, who penned the franchise’s last installment, will be returning to write the fifth film. Screenwriter and frequent Spielberg and Disney collaborator Jonathan Kasdan is rumored to be involved with the project, but his official role is unclear at this point. Kasdan’s father, Lawrence Kasdan, wrote the script for Raiders

Oscar nominee Harrison Ford is set to reprise his iconic role as adventurer Indiana Jones. When asked about a possible fifth film in the franchise during a 2016 interview, Spielberg said, “The one thing I can tell you is I’m not killing off Harrison [Ford] at the end of it.”

George Lucas created the iconic Indiana Jones character, and has developed the stories for all four of the franchise’s films so far. It is unclear whether or not Lucas will be providing any creative input on the story or script, but he is on board as an executive producer.

The Walt Disney Company has owned the Indiana Jones franchise since it’s acquisition of Lucasfilms in 2012 when Lucas sold it to Disney for a whopping $4 billion. In 2013, Walt Disney Studios and Paramount Pictures reached a deal that gave Disney the marketing and distribution rights for future Indiana Jones films.

George Lucas Steven Spielberg
George Lucas, left, and Steve Spielberg, right [Getty]

Paramount still retains the distribution rights for the first four films in the franchise, and “will receive financial participation on any future films that are produced or released,” according to a joint statement that was released by both studios at the time.

The last time Indiana Jones donned his signature hat, leather jacket, and whip on the big screen was 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The film took place in 1957, nineteen years after the events in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Harrison Ford reprised his role as Dr. Jones, and he was reunited with Karen Allen, who played Marion Ravenwood in Raiders

The film also starred Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett (The Aviator, Blue Jasmine, The Lord of the Rings) and Shia LaBeouf (Transformers, Holes, Fury). 

It grossed over $790 million at the worldwide box office. According to Box Office Mojo, the franchise has grossed nearly $2 billion globally at the box office.

It will be interesting to see what happens with the changing of the guard in the director’s chair for this new Indiana Jones flick. After seeing what Mangold did with Logan, some similarities can be drawn between Wolverine and Doctor Jones. They’re both getting old, and they’ve been around the block a few times. They’ve pretty much seen it all, they certainly have no time for nonsense - and anyone who gets in their way, well...just don’t get in their way. Hopefully, Mangold will bring fans a much grittier film this time around with an intense Indiana Jones unlike anything we’ve seen before.

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