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Things We're Most Excited For In Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny

It's been over a decade since we last saw Indiana Jones on the big screen, and while Harrison Ford has returned to the roles of Han Solo and Rick Deckard in the time between, we've been actively awaiting a new Indy feature ever since "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Well, the wait is finally nearing its close, and as we anxiously anticipate the fifth and final installment in Ford's "Indiana Jones" series — "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" — we can be sure that the globe-trotting adventurer is back in all his glory.

First appearing in 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark," Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. became an instant icon in the age of New Hollywood, helping advance pulp heroes back into the spotlight. Though his work in "Star Wars" and "Blade Runner" is also compelling, Ford's work as Indiana Jones is completely unique to himself. While others have portrayed the character on television, Ford is the only one to play the hero in the film series — well, aside from the late River Phoenix in the opening of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."

Whether this latest Indy feature is more akin to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" or "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: There's plenty to be excited for. So grab your hat and your whip, and let's journey on together.

Harrison Ford's return

The return of Harrison Ford to the role of Indiana Jones is by far the most exciting thing about "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny." Although Ford is equally as well known for his work as Han Solo in the "Star Wars" franchise — which he returned to for "The Force Awakens" and "The Rise of Skywalker" — there's no denying his love and adoration for Henry Jones, Jr. Given that Ford returned for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" back in 2008 and has been fighting hard for a fifth "Indiana Jones" picture ever since, we're overjoyed to see him back as the most iconic adventurer on the big screen.

Since this film will take place over a decade after "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," the years are finally catching up to all the mileage Indy has put on across them, but that doesn't seem to be stopping Ford from bringing his all to this franchise. Though Ford is actively excited about his return in "The Dial of Destiny," he's made it absolutely clear that this is his final film as the globe-trotting professor. "This is it! I will not fall down for you again," he told fans at the D23 Expo (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Ford has been constantly and consistently shutting down speculation that the role would be recast, telling an interviewer on "Today," "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." As Ford grows older and Indy does too, it makes sense that "The Dial of Destiny" is his final hour, yet somehow we cannot help but wish for just a little bit more.

Flashbacks galore

One big surprise fans got from the first official trailer for "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" is that there seem to be plenty of flashbacks to Indy's younger days as an adventurer during the time of the Third Reich. Here, we see Indiana Jones in his trademark outfit, wandering through a train car, fighting on top of one, and even being held prisoner by the Nazis while wearing a uniform eerily similar to the one he stole in "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Who knows? These flashbacks may even take place around the same time as Steven Spielberg's original classic!

Another theory about these flashbacks is that these aren't flashbacks at all, but rather Indy somehow experiencing his highlights all over again. In fact, many believe that the film is actually about time travel (via Inverse), with that possibly being one of the mysterious Dial of Destiny's abilities. Whether this is true has yet to be seen, but regardless, it's exciting to know that not only do we have Harrison Ford back in the titular role, but we'll also be seeing a younger version of Indy along the way.

While "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" may forever be known as the greatest "Indiana Jones" films — and for good reason — "The Dial of Destiny" may have a real shot at the title if it does something incredibly daring and unexpected while also giving us new looks at what's come before.

Sallah returns

Of all the recurring characters from the "Indiana Jones" series, and there are many, none may possibly be more beloved than Indy's old friend Sallah. Played by "The Lord of the Rings" legend John Rhys-Davies, Sallah is officially back in "The Dial of Destiny"! The last time we saw these two together on the big screen, Sallah was aiding Jones in his quest to find the mythic Holy Grail, and before that, Sallah helped Indy find the Well of Souls in Egypt, the very place where the Ark of the Covenant was buried.

While Indy will no doubt find some other friends to help him on his most recent quest, none may be more wonderful or loyal than Sallah. At this point, we don't know what sort of role the former excavator will play, or whether he will join Indy on his quest, but we do know that these two seem to have remained friends after all these years and that Sallah himself craves the adventure he experienced as a younger man.

As we've said before, "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "The Last Crusade" are often the most beloved and cherished of the "Indiana Jones" anthology, and given that Sallah is the common denominator, maybe "The Dial of Density" is destined to be one of Indy's greatest adventures after all. The possibility certainly makes us excited, even if we aren't going to be doing any digging this time around. Sallah just better keep away from any stray dates!

Indy versus the Nazis, round three

Over the course of four different films (and multiple decades in-universe), Indiana Jones has faced off against treasure hunters, government forces, and even otherworldly beings. From the Nazis to Indian cultists and members of the Soviet Union, Indy has made his fair share of enemies over the years (and across multiple continents). Of course, none of his dastardly foes are as evil or interesting as the Nazis themselves, and with their return in "The Dial of Density," there's no doubt that Jones will finish them off.

After facing off against the Third Reich in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "The Last Crusade," the Nazis are under U.S. government protection here in "The Dial of Destiny," as many of them have been recruited to continue their research, albeit for the United States instead of Germany. Sounds preposterous? Well, it actually isn't, sadly, but despite their government resources, we know that at the very least Indiana Jones will still oppose the Nazi movement going forward.

At least Hitler himself is gone, which means that Indy's new nemesis is Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Jürgen Voller, a Nazi scientist recruited by NASA for their moon landing program — but more on that in a minute. While Jones' history with Voller is most likely the reason for the flashbacks we see in the trailer, we're more interested to see what Indy will do when he meets him again in the present — er, rather, in the late 1960s.

The Space Race

Speaking of Voller, with "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" taking place in 1969, this marks the franchises' second turn closer to the sci-fi genre — the first being that alien at the end of "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" — as the latest installment will be covering the epic Space Race to the moon. While this isn't exactly science-fiction now, it might as well have been for Indiana Jones, which means that the Nazis-turned-American operatives — not unlike S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra in the MCU — will be hot on the trail of this mythical Dial of Destiny.

Since the fourth "Indiana Jones" installment covered the invention of nuclear weapons — something Indy was unfortunate enough to experience firsthand — it's no wonder that Harrison Ford's final adventure would at least in part chronicle another historical accomplishment from that time period. Since the moon landing occurred in July of 1969, it's possible that these historic events could somehow cross over with the plot of the film. We've already got glimpses of an action scene set amidst a ticker tape parade held for the Apollo 11 astronauts — in Manhattan in real life, though "Indiana Jones" shot in Glasgow (via the Glasgow Times). Though, even with all this focus on the Space Race, it's doubtful that Indy will go to outer space. 

What the Nazis plan to do with this astronautical technology and knowledge is beyond us at this point, but if they got their hands on the titular object, there's probably no limit to what they could do. Maybe they want to conquer it for Hitler? Or change the outcome so that the Soviet Union, or some other third party, wins? Your guess is as good as ours, but we're anxious to find out.

All-new action

Possibly the coolest parts about an "Indiana Jones" movie are the exciting and intricate action sequences. No matter which film you pick from, each installment features some wild chase or well-choreographed fight scene that just makes Indy look too cool for school. The giant boulder chase in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" comes to mind, as do the giant jungle ants in "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." No matter which continent he's scouring or whom he's running from or chasing, Indiana Jones is sure to give you a show.

From the trailer alone, "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" looks to have as much as (if not more) action as nearly any other Indy adventure before. Between flashbacks to Indy in his prime to seeing the older Jones ride a horse through the streets at the aforementioned ticker tape parade — and then ride through subway tunnels underground — this movie looks like it has everything we could've asked for. No wonder this is Harrison Ford's last time playing Jones — it seems like a lot of work.

Though there's a fine line in action sequences between keeping things interesting and boring your audience, it looks as if "The Dial of Destiny" has a lot going for it in the action and adventure department. If this truly is Ford's last time as the titular character, at least he's going out on top with his trademark whip in hand. Let's just hope he doesn't accidentally lose it in a scuffle.

The passing of the torch

Okay, so Indy already (sort of) passed the torch to Shia LaBeouf in the last "Indiana Jones" movie — which was understandable given that Mutt is Indy's son — but this time around it looks as if he's going to be passing it on again. Starring opposite Harrison Ford in "The Dial of Destiny" is "Fleabag" star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, in the role of Indy's goddaughter Helena. Whose daughter Helena is has yet to be explained, but what we're more interested in is how she'll get along with the rusty old-timer as they travel the globe together.

Of course, Indy's had his fair share of partners before. Sallah, Mutt, Jonathan Ke Quan's Short Round from "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," and Indy's eventual wife, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), are obvious proof of that, but never has Indy had a female partner who wasn't also a love interest — an exciting new development to be sure. Whatever dynamic Ford and Waller-Bridge come up with will no doubt be fascinating as they tackle whatever unforeseen challenges await them.

As an aside, "The Dial of Density" isn't the only connection that Waller-Bridge has to Ford and George Lucas, since she also played the role of the droid L3-37 in "Solo: A Star Wars Story," which told the origins of Ford's other trademark character, Han Solo. Though Ford didn't appear, nor was Lucas directly involved, it's a fun bit of trivia to hold us over until next summer.

Answers about the past

Although "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" television series has answered many of the questions we could've ever had about Indy's past — which had Harrison Ford actually reprise his role in an extended episode — "The Dial of Destiny" looks as if it's going to be a new exploration into Jones' past, present, and possibly even his future. As this is Ford's sixth and final live-action performance as the character, we hope to learn about all Indy has been up to since we saw him over a decade ago, and where he's off to next.

Some of the biggest questions in need of answering naturally have to do with the series' previous installment. At the end of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," Indy married Marion and learned that her son, Mutt, is actually his own. Where are they now? It's unlikely that Indy's new outing will pack in all these characters, but a short, definitive line of dialogue might suffice. Likewise, whatever happened to Indy's plucky sidekick from "The Temple of Doom?" Will Short Round make an appearance? Especially since Ke Huy Quan's star has risen astronomically since "Everything Everywhere All at Once." Plus, "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" mentioned that Indy had a daughter and eventually grandchildren through her. What happened to her?

Of course, "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" has a lot going on already, and we can't expect all of our questions to be answered. But we can continue to hope and wish for a satisfying conclusion to the "Indiana Jones" saga that'll put all of the other installments to shame. Admittedly, that probably won't happen, but we can dream anyhow!

The end of Spielberg and Lucas' story

Since 1981, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have been associated with "Indiana Jones" just as closely as Harrison Ford himself. The first four films were all directed by Spielberg, while Lucas helped break the story for each new adventure after first creating the character with Philip Kaufman. These two Hollywood giants are some of the most influential filmmakers in the business and will no doubt go down in history as such. But despite their deep and personal ties to Indiana Jones, Spielberg declined to direct "The Dial of Destiny," and Lucas didn't work on the story this time around.

Regardless, Spielberg and Lucas serve as executive producers for Ford's final "Indiana Jones" feature, as they helped guide the film's writer-director, James Mangold — whose filmography includes classics like "Logan," "3:10 to Yuma," "Walk the Line," and "Ford v Ferrari" — in his own vision for the character's final years. That's not to say that Indy will die here like Han Solo did in the latest "Star Wars" sequels, but just that Ford is on his way out along with Lucas and Spielberg.

Yet we couldn't be more excited to see what these filmmakers, Mangold especially, have for Indiana Jones next. Even if this isn't a traditional "Indiana Jones" picture — Paramount isn't even involved since Disney bought LucasFilm in 2012 — it'll still be a highlight of summer 2023, especially given it's also John Williams' final film score, ending his near-perfect career. We're just eager to see Ford crack the whip one last time.