Harrison Ford, 77, remains a legend in Hollywood, and recent years have seem him explode back into popular culture with his reprisal of iconic Han Solo in the Star Wars sequel trilogy—including a cameo even he didn’t expect in last year’s The Rise of Skywalker. But of all his roles, Indiana Jones of the eponymous Indiana Jones franchise has to be his most famous, and it’s not a role he’s willing to let go.
Ever since a fifth Indiana Jones film was greenlit by Walt Disney Studios in 2016, rumors have swirled Chris Pratt would take over the iconic role, despite the initial announcement confirming Harrison Ford was slated to return as the beloved bullwhip-wielding archaeologist.
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) June 15, 2015
Chris Pratt himself, who rose to international stardom thanks to his role as the distinctly Han Solo-esque Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, was quick to dismiss the rumors. “There was speculation around whether or not I would do Indiana Jones,” he said in an interview with RTE. “But there’s no more information about that now than there was before.”
Harrison Ford was a little more forceful. Speaking to the Today show last year, the good-humored but notoriously grouchy actor said: “Nobody is gonna be Indiana Jones! Don’t you get it? I’m Indiana Jones. When I’m gone, he’s gone. It’s easy.”
Harrison Ford weighs in on who should next play Indiana Jones: 'Nobody' https://t.co/VrnN0KIsCv
— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) May 24, 2019
Harrison confirmed his statements were serious in a follow-up interview with Access Hollywood, although he’d earlier struck a light tone on Today. “This is a hell of a way to tell Chris Pine this,” he joked, confusing Chris Pratt for Chris Pine. “I’m sorry, man.”
While Steve Spielberg has just bowed out of the upcoming fifth installment, reportedly wanting someone from a younger generation take the director’s chair and offer their own take on the story, Harrison is sticking around. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy confirmed his reprisal earlier this year, stating that the coming film was “not a reboot; it’s a continuation. [Harrison] can’t wait.”
— IGN (@IGN) February 15, 2020
While Harrison remaining on-board will come as a relief to fans, who largely didn’t take to the franchise attempting to pass the torch to Shia LaBeouf, who played Indiana Jones’ son in 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the directorial switch-up, flying in the face of the initial Disney announcement that confirmed Spielberg’s and Ford’s involvement, has rattled fans and critics alike.
“No thanks, no Spielberg no interest,” Paul Bateman, Star Wars Insider writer and close friend of late Raiders of the Lost Ark concept artist Ralph McQuarrie, said on Facebook. “I can’t imagine Indiana Jones without Spielberg as a director,” one fan tweeted.
James Mangold is a terrific filmmaker, but (fair or not), the lack of Steven Spielberg in the director's chair, along with George Lucas not producing, means INDIANA JONES has joined STAR WARS as once defining cinematic franchises that are now just another piece of Disney IP. pic.twitter.com/3WUhLdiHRP
— Scott Mendelson (@ScottMendelson) February 26, 2020
Director James Mangold, who took over the Wolverine franchise with 2017’s Logan—the first live-action superhero flick to ever be nominated for an Academy Award for screenwriting—is reportedly in negotiations to take over.
Ryan Parker of The Hollywood Reporter contended that James Mangold could be just the injection of fresh blood the franchise needs, “to wash out the bitter taste of the last installment out of audiences’ mouths.” Spielberg will stay on as a “hands-on” producer, however, and Harrison Ford has assured fans he feels “obliged to make sure that our efforts are as ambitious as they were when we started.” According to Harrison, filming could begin as soon as April, although his projection came two weeks before the announcement of Spielberg stepping away, which might throw a spanner in the schedule.
People saying “Nobody except Spielberg can direct Indiana Jones” is like saying “Nobody but Lucas can direct Star Wars.” pic.twitter.com/vb7mLVbPRf
— Chris 🎬 (@illucifer) February 26, 2020