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Indy 5 Future of Indiana Jones franchise post-Harrison Ford

Discussion in 'Lucasfilm Ltd. In-Depth Discussion' started by NileQT87, Mar 21, 2020.

  1. NileQT87

    NileQT87 Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Nov 21, 2002
    Girls With Sabers (Reylo-centric YouTube livestream) recently mentioned roles they'd like to see Adam Driver tackle. Most of these choices are often classic literature period pieces with many of the usual Byronic suspects. But then they mentioned Indiana Jones (which has been brought up before).

    If you had asked me about Indiana Jones pre-KotCS replacing Harrison Ford, I'd have shouted it down as much as anyone. I'm a huge Harrison fangirl from way back. But... Yes, I do want the series to actually continue after Harrison.

    Here's a not-so-little writeup I did on the idea:

    Adam really is one of the better ideas so the series can be resurrected seriously and dramatically, rather than as a sanitized, comical CGI spectacle afraid of depicting history/cultures in a pulpy way and all of Indy's edgier imperfections (messy, serial romantic entanglements à la James Bond that would be #metoo'd now, grave robbing, deadly weapon use, etc...) being airbrushed out. Indy really needs to be sent permanently back to the '10s-'40s.

    Sadly, I don't trust Spielberg and Lucas these days to not gut it (Raiders and Temple were at risk of being R-rated and the latter helped create PG-13) and take shortcuts like not filming internationally (hopefully, without the dysentery and elephants eating dresses!). They were very different filmmakers in the '80s. Get new, serious-minded creative talent who is willing to take it back tonally to its roots.

    It's a franchise that desperately needs to go back to being a stronger PG-13 and be willing to keep Indy's less pristine, not-so-heroic qualities in regards to relationships, violence and unethical archaeology. It was obvious that Spielberg wouldn't make an Indy film like that again (also less willing to use such pulpy villain portrayals). It also needs exotic locations (no all-U.S. shoot) and to not let current cultural sensitivities intrude jarringly in a way that doesn't feel authentic to the genre or period.

    And it's not just because Adam vaguely looks like Harrison, but he also has the needed combination of masculinity, vulnerability, dry/acerbic/sarcastic humor (Harrison and Adam are both serious, socially-awkward, not-overly-cuddly introverts--goofball humor should never be Indy) and a serious, dramatic edge. Harrison is famous for his slow-mo dramatic head turns and speaking at a slower pace than current action stars. The original trilogy feels paced like period piece dramas full of talky scenes, exposition, lingering travelogue scenery and relationship dramas compared to tent pole summer blockbusters of today which never seem to have time for that between action set pieces.

    You need a serious, dramatic actor in the role who can do badass, tough-to-the-point-of-ruthlessly-deadly (think Cairo swordsman and flaming poultry), undeniably masculine action hero, yet fights in a scrappy, messy way where he's in over his head and gets visibly tired and injured, as well as a charming, sexy, romantic leading man.

    That vulnerable action hero quality is exactly how Adam chose to portray Ben's fighting style in order to evoke Han. Harrison was *never* a Rambo or Terminator in an era filled with action heroes of that type. He played vulnerable action heroes who showed when they were beaten down and visibly sick with dysentery (he looks utterly wrecked and sweat-soaked in those shots).

    I think the role really would fit a lot of things Adam could do very well. He's also the right age for Indy's heyday where the character really needs to be.

    Looks like Spielberg is definitely not directing (I 100% expected that). I think at this point it would be better to have Harrison do bookends (...set in the '70s) with the main adventure sent back to the '30s. The other route is total reboot and go full James Bond with the role. Fountain of Youth (or time-travel to fix the era problem) would maybe work thematically, but Indy in a time period where Star Wars is in theaters is yikes! Someone here made a good point about making the action more like The Fugitive, which would work better with Harrison's age.

    Either way, I legitimately consider Adam an ideal person to take over the role (even if he didn't look believably like a son of a Harrison character, I'd actually prefer going with an actor with the qualities we already know he has in common with Harrison as part of his natural personality and the strong acting chops over, say, exact hair coloring--Adam might have to tweak the haircut), along with a director with a serious, dramatic vision who can take it back to that old-fashioned period film tone and resurrect the series into something that can keep going.

    Another thing that could be perhaps worked more into the character if Adam were put in the role is some of the Young Indy backstory, which besides the childhood of being tutored by his father, globetrotting and meeting the who's who of the famous and infamous, was a character who was portrayed as having been in WWI as a teenager.

    Young Indy had an audience problem because it was a bit too close to the educational part of edutainment instead of pure action-adventure, though it did have episodes that tried to rectify that like Treasure of the Peacock's Eye and Masks of Evil.

    Masks of Evil is the episode that skirts close to contradicting how much of a non-believer Indy could possibly be in Raiders by having him meet a rat-fanged, vampiric Dracula who has been undead since the 15th century--the Crusader knight wasn't even his first immortal. In a reboot, the idea of Indy as a skeptic would probably have to go, given his new set of adventures are likely to be more mystical than historical. Temple also contradicted Raiders with that, given they had Indy go into a full-blown mystical trance under the Black Sleep of Kali (one of the more unique performances of Harrison's career, even with all the sci-fi/fantasy roles he ended up in!).

    Harrison's nature man and D.I.Y. carpenter pilot persona always fit really well into both Han and Indy. There was a lot of him in those roles. He's a guy who you could really imagine going from motorcycle to plane to horse to tank in one movie.

    Indy also has to be cast with an actor who can legitimately learn how to use a bullwhip (yes, it's dangerous) on top of horse riding and various other weapons (swords, guns, etc...). Indy really had the best of the best with stuntmen, but you know when it's really Harrison getting dragged behind the truck, for example. Harrison also had the bonus of not being afraid of heights (real rope bridge), snakes or any creepy crawlies. Spielberg actually was afraid of heights when it came to the bridge, whereas Harrison was just running across it.

    If Adam was brought into the role, Indy's WWI military backstory might be used more prominently. Another aspect of the character (and another thing that I think fits Adam very well), and the thing that separates Indy most from Han, is that Indy also has a nerdier side to him. He's a tweed-clad professor who wears glasses when he's presenting himself in a more professional way (not only while being a very poor teacher with a class full of moony schoolgirls and late to grade all their papers, but when he's attending fancy dinners). It's also a part of his persona that came from who his father was and how he grew up. That early maturity aspect and ability to switch from nerdy archaeologist to self-reliant action man is something also very present in Young Indy.

    It's kind of like how every James Bond is a bit different with aspects tailored to each actor, yet key traits remaining more consistent. Han and Indy were built with pieces of Harrison in the mix; some just naturally brought out in the performance and others written in. Spielberg's love for father/son stories across many of his earlier films is quite present in The Last Crusade, so that was a bit of himself put into that film. The ex-military aspect is a little piece of already-present canon that could be used with Adam.

    Thoughts? Who else do you think could wear the fedora? Would you rather see Harrison in a bookend adventure or a clean reboot?

    Chris Pratt and his ilk often get mentioned for this sort of thing and are perhaps more obvious fits for the kind of goofier humor we see in CGI-fest blockbusters today (what I don't want for Indy), but I think I'd rather see an actor who already has these similarities with Harrison and the acting chops to bring the franchise back to its tonal roots.

    This might be too many big blockbusters for Adam (would he be willing?) after SW and perhaps too obviously connected... And yet, River Phoenix played Harrison's character's son in Mosquito Coast and was cast as the first of the young Indys based on it. Harrison recommended River. George Lucas used to say the same thing about casting Harrison too many times (couldn't audition for SW because of American Graffiti and wasn't considered for Indy, despite being Spielberg's first choice because of ESB, until Tom Selleck's contractual obligation for Magnum P.I. got in the way) and look how that kept turning out.

    We also know that Harrison is full of praise for Adam. The appeal of the father/son story and respect for Adam as an actor were a big part of why he came back for TRoS. I think it'd be a choice he'd approve of if he were willing to give the role up and allow the franchise to continue. I know he's highly protective over the role and has expressed not wanting it to go the James Bond route, but it might work with the right talent.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2020
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  2. indydefense

    indydefense Jedi Knight star 3

    Jan 2, 2019
    Those are some great ideas! I'd also like to see a revival &recast of Young Indy, with a little more action than before. There are quite a few unused scripts that Lucas and co. were working on, such as one where Indy goes on a dig with Abner Ravenwood in Jerusalem. There are also more historical figures he could encounter, like JRR Tolkien, who was a soldier in WWI.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
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  3. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Shelf of Shame Host star 9 VIP - Game Host

    Nov 20, 2012
  4. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2013
    I'd love to see a Clone Wars style animated TV show about what Indy was up to during World War Two.

    Admittedly this doesn't necessarily fit the "post Harrison Ford" thing, since one of the advantages of such a show would be that you could still use his voice without having to care that the actor's now as old as he is.
    Django Fett likes this.
  5. NileQT87

    NileQT87 Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Nov 21, 2002
    Harrison is definitely out of the price range for an animated cartoon, I'm afraid. I think movies or a television show would do the character, even if it has to be without Harrison, far more justice.

    I don't want to see the character watered down, the dangerous or scary situations lessened and the history sanitized to that extent, even if it still exists to capture the minds of every age.

    I think the bookend adventure is the way to hand off the role, while still allowing him to be part of it.

    Unfortunately, I actually believe the era issue to be a bigger problem than Harrison's own physicality due to age. The character was born in 1899, which means the timeline has to move up accordingly. At a certain point, the world changed so much (and got so much smaller) that Indy's entire persona becomes a man out of time. While there are parts of the world that still manage to be untouched by time, they're getting far fewer. Cultural attitudes to archaeology itself start making Indy's way of doing things even murkier.

    Historically speaking, a lot of the early adventurers and travelers were really like Indiana Jones (think of the likes of circus-strongman-turned-adventurer Giovanni Belzoni being chased through Karnak by Napoléon's troops and grabbing a gun being fired out of their hands with a statue still bearing marks from that altercation!) and some of them really died during their adventures to dangerous, far-off lands (if not murdered or caught in dicey political situations, it was causes like dysentery, the plague--such as in the case of half of Napoléon's troops at Jaffa and Lord Carnarvon's mosquito bite). And as we know from the filming of Raiders, those risks (dysentery) were far from over in some of these countries as late as 1980.

    Between WWI and WWII was really the final heyday of this era. The end of colonialism also occurred at this time. Colonialism was when a lot of Western foreigners began being able to semi-safely travel to these places (outside of a military context) and were doing so in significant numbers. This coincided with a lot of scientists and historians going over in addition to tourists, soldiers, diplomats and bureaucrats. Everyone was looking to make the next big discovery, no matter what their background was. Subsequently, there were a lot of these really colorful characters. After that, the era of Lawrence of Arabia was over.

    WWII's big tie-in to this crazy treasure-seeking and grave-robbing archaeology that captured the world's imagination at the time was how Hitler really was sending archaeologists to go looking for 'magical' relics like the Spear of Destiny.

    WWI, in particular, was a really bizarre war in that it was the end of many ancient royal families and warfare that included fighting on horseback, horse-drawn carts, bayonets, kilted regiments, etc..., then suddenly facing planes, tanks, submarines, poisonous gases and trenches. Indy's timeline bridges two worlds that are crashing together--ancient and modern.

    After a certain point, Indy is more likely to just start getting arrested for doing what he used to do. Thus, the part of a teacher and a teller of stories from a different era is all that he'd be left with unless he went legit. As far as going more modern, well, do we really want to watch Indy carefully brushing away dirt or crashing through things? That's not to say that the world stopped being dangerous for well-meaning historians caught in the middle of political situations. Just look at what happened at Palmyra or even the ransacking and looting of the Egyptian Museum.

    Indy's birth year is really why the franchise needs to return to its home era when it's revitalized into something that can continue into the far future.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  6. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2013
    This is actually why, before KOTCS, I was always kind of opposed to Soviet villains for the Indy movies. The reason the World War Two setting works so well is that, as you say, the fascists really were obsessed with that kind of thing. Not just obtaining artifacts, but just more generally appropriating the mythology of the past and recreating it in the present (with a Roman Empire theme for the Italians, and a Teutonic one for the Germans) for their own purposes. As enemies for someone like Indy, they're basically perfect.

    The communists are... incredibly not. For them, all the shining utopias are in the future, not the past. Which actually makes them kind of perfect as a certain kind of villain, embodying the arrival of that age you're talking about when men like Indy are increasingly relics themselves. They're just not the kind of villains you could see racing Indy to the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant.

    (KOTCS gets around this by shifting the artifact-race from the "ancient mythology and religion" category to the "ancient aliens and weird science" category. Which does also work, but I understand turned off a lot of people).
    NileQT87 likes this.
  7. Ackbar's Fishsticks

    Ackbar's Fishsticks Jedi Master star 4

    Aug 25, 2013
    You could totally make modern action-adventure movies around archaeology and keep them much more exciting than "carefully brushing away dirt," it's just that, as you say, it'd be a very different kind of movie, less "colonial era adventure" and more "crime/caper." Less following maps to buried treasure and finding your way through booby-trapped temples, more navigating through the world of smugglers, fences, underground auctions, and that entire black market underworld that moves ancient artifacts from conflict zones to private collectors. (Daesh's trafficking in artifacts is just screaming for a Lara Croft/Nathan Drake type movie based around it).

    That world is probably so different from Indy's as to be unrecognizable, but it'd be a decent place to dump his successor into. Pity the only person in that role so far is Shia LaBoeuf, who just... no.
    NileQT87 likes this.