Sometimes I feel like it’s the only topic of discussion when it comes to movies – which beloved franchise is getting a fresh take and how awful will it be?
Finally, the Great Reboot Monster has come for our good friend Indiana Jones. At least, that’s according to the rumors.
We have yet to visualize how the House of Mouse will handle the fairly-recently acquired Lucasfilm properties, though, it admittedly is not the fear-inducing cringe which would have accompanied any other big production company or, God forbid, Lucas himself.
The Big D likely has the best intentions in mind for the franchise, just as it does for Star Wars. I stress the word “likely” here, however, as we haven’t seen any product just yet. They are continuing to make smart moves with their ownership of Marvel (mostly by just holding the main license and letting the dough flow in based on all the established projects out there) and the Muppets (by allowing more movies to be made and, honestly, another Muppet movie is never a bad thing), so it stands to reason that the Lucasfilms will likely make the cut as well as long as they limit JJ’s lens flare budget on Star Wars VII.
Right now at the top of the rumor pile is the potential replacement of Harrison Ford as Indy and a full-on reboot of the franchise.
The first question we must ask is: “Why not just pass the torch?”
Yes, rumor has it (again…) that the new Star Wars flicks will likely keep the returning characters to minimal roles which will allow for continuity and the movement of the franchise into a newer, younger direction likely aimed at bringing in newer, younger fans whose sinner parents never showed them episodes IV – VI in their original format and deserve to be punished under the full extent of nerd law.
I digress. But, there will be a torch passing moment there.
When Big Dumb George was still in charge of putting his old ideas into a blender to see exactly how long it would take them between the blades until they died, screaming and whirling into an unrecognizable pulp, he shat out Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which you might remember as the WORST ONE EVER EVER. Remember that one guy in there who used to be famous? That Shy-a-la-something-or-other? His Mutt Williams, aka, Henry Jones III, was rumored (again…) to be the one to pick up in Indy’s footsteps. His character was introduced not only as a way for Harrison’s age to avoid many difficult action sequences by having someone younger do the heavy lifting, but as a way to potentially bridge the gap and give Harrison Ford a more Sean Connery-type Henry Jones Sr. role as the franchise moved forward.
Based on the Kingdom of the Vomit-strewn Toilet Bowl, that would have been a colossal mistake.
Though Mr. Ford would very much like to be involved in Indy V as the hero and though it’s difficult for me to say that I can picture another actor ever being Indy, I have to admit, if we’re going to see another Indy movie, for better or worse, a reboot seems the best course of action.
Mind you, I’m not going back on what I said. I am largely opposed to reboots and remain staunchly so, especially when it comes to a franchise which farted out one horrible last cloud before collapsing and nearly dying in such recent memory (only six years this summer – I remember because I saw it the weekend of my bachelor party). There should be a longer moratorium on rebooting though, I imagine, if this starts moving forward, it’ll likely be a decade since the last once the next comes out and that could potentially be long enough.
There are reasons why it should either be prequels or a reboot. Here they are.
First: the time period. The Indiana Jones movies were always about that capsule of time of pre-WWII when adventure was still a real thing and not just a series of tourist traps; that mystical era when things were still largely undiscovered and the world was a vast and endless unknown. There’s something about that time period which remains special and oozes potential.
Based on Bathroom of the Crystal Bidet, if Harrison retained the role, it would put us into the 60s. Crystal Bumcover showed a post-WWII world where Indy and those like him were becoming their own sort of relics. Indy vs. Nazis always worked. Indy vs. McCarthy Era Russians, not so much. They become the movie’s stand-in for the Nazis after the Third Reich was toppled. If we move into the 60s, how far do we go? Does it wind up being Indy vs. the Vietcong? Indy vs. Hippies? Even with a younger actor to whom the torch could be passed, consecutive movies in the franchise would bring us closer to the modern era and the magic would be lost entirely.
Second: a younger actor playing Indy offers massive potential. If they got someone young enough, they could do Indy adventures prior to Raiders which would not necessarily fall into the “Young Indiana Jones” portion of the playbook. We could see Indy meet Professor Abner Ravenwood and his spunky young daughter Marian. Indy as a student and at the beginning of his career gives us a decade of time from the late 20s until 1935 (the year Temple of Doom takes place which, yes, was chronologically before Raiders). This would, by rights, ignore all stories and whatever might be considered canon as established by “expanded universe”-style novels and comics which is ok by me. I’m sure there’s some pretty big stinkers in there.
Based on that – Third: taking this sort-of-prequel route would allow them to get in a few good flicks while still respecting the continuity of the franchise at large. If Harrison Ford could do the accent, you might even be able to get him to play younger Henry Jones Sr., which would be pretty sick when you think about it. Like, better versions of the opening of Last Crusade, we could see Harrison as Sr. constantly scribbling in the Grail Diary and having long chats with someone playing younger Marcus Brody or something like that.
The person at the top of the current list to play the “new” Indy is Bradley Cooper. I can hear the groans from the peanut gallery, but consider that he would bring the same level of action-comedy and, when necessary, gravitas to the role. That and he already plays off the Indy level of unkempt quite expertly as well as cleaning up nice when required. Easily, I could see him swinging the whip.
In what context, though, remains to be seen.
Unfortunately, it’s not up to peons like you or I to decide the correct direction for Hollywood. All we can do is speculate.
I might consider drafting a screenplay for this were there any potential at all that it could get picked up. If you want to read it, I’ll write it. Let me know.
Keep fighting the good fight.