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What We Know So Far About Indiana Jones 5

There are few characters in movie history quite as well-loved as Harrison Ford's globe-trotting, whip-cracking archeologist Indiana Jones, and there are few franchises in Hollywood as fun or as adored as the one which bears his name. Since making its debut with 1981's landmark release Raiders of the Lost Ark, the near-mythic Indiana Jones franchise (sprung from the mind of Star Wars creator George Lucas), has spawned three big screen sequels in 1984's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. To date, those films have brought in close to $1.2 billion in worldwide ticket sales — and those numbers do not include sales of the series' accompanying novels, comic books, video games, action figures, board games, or pinball machines.

With Hollywood currently embroiled in a serious drought of fresh new ideas, it's not hard to believe that the folks at Disney — who procured rights to the Indiana Jones franchise as part of their their $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012 — would want to forge ahead with a new adventure despite the less-than-friendly critical response to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The only real surprise around the Mouse House green-lighting Indiana Jones 5 was that the studio waited so long to get the picture into production. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Indiana Jones 5.

Production on Indiana Jones 5 has been plagued by setbacks

Now, if you've been keeping an ear pricked up for news about Indiana Jones 5, you know that the film has actually been listed as in production for a few years now — since 2016, in fact. You probably also know that Indy 5 has already had its release date pushed back a few times. It was first slated to hit theaters in the summer of 2019, but behind-the-scenes issues have plagued the film's production almost since day one. While we don't know all of the closed-door drama surrounding the production of Indiana Jones 5, it appears that getting the script into working shape has been a big reason the film's shoot and release date keep getting moved — with Harrison Ford himself recently telling HeyUGuys that everyone involved is "determined to get it [the story] right before we get it made."

Given the unwieldy narrative issues the franchise encountered with 2008's underwhelming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, we fully understand why Indy 5's producers might be inclined to make sure they're getting things right this go 'round. To date, a handful of writers — David Keopp, Dan Fogelman, and Jonathan Kasdan among them — have already tried to crack the story for next chapter in Indiana Jones's ongoing adventures.

When prompted about the status of Indy 5's screenplay in a May 2020 interview with Collider, however, the film's big boss Frank Marshall stated bluntly, "It just started." Clearly, a brand-new script is on the way for Indiana Jones 5, though Marshall didn't offer any updates about who'd taken over writing duties.

George Lucas isn't involved with Indiana Jones 5

Part of the issue behind getting the script right for Indiana Jones 5 may be a lack of input from series creator George Lucas. The famed writer-slash-producer-slash-director's involvement in the new film has been in question since the project was first announced in 2016. While it initially looked like Lucas was not on board, his old pal Steven Spielberg soon spoke out to The Bearded Trio that he "would never make an Indiana Jones film without George Lucas," further adding that Lucas was indeed on board as Executive Producer for Indy 5

That was 2016, this is now. In the years between, it seems that Lucas has either gotten tired of waiting for the film to materialize, or has simply decided to enjoy his "retirement." Either way, Indy 5 producer Frank Marshall has recently confirmed that George Lucas has indeed exited the project for good, and will have no official involvement in a new Indiana Jones film (via Coming Soon). It's not clear what led Lucas to walk away from one of his most iconic creations — but then again, he hasn't exactly had a super-positive experience with Disney since selling Lucasfilm to the Mouse House, which basically shot down all of his ideas for the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

Steven Spielberg isn't directing Indiana Jones 5

While losing Lucas was an obvious hit, the franchise still seemed in very good hands, if only because powerhouse producers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy were still overseeing Indiana Jones 5. More importantly, legendary director Steven Spielberg was still on board to direct; Spielberg is, after all, the only filmmaker who's ever directed an Indiana Jones film — helming (for better or worse) all four prior releases, and lending a singular, B-movie-tinged style to the franchise as a whole.

You'll note our use of the word "was." The world's collective jaw hit the floor with the February 2020 announcement that Spielberg will not be directing Indiana Jones 5, a startling development that once again threw the very future of the flick into question. Luckily, Spielberg hasn't abandoned Indy 5 altogether, and will stay on board as a producer — so it's at least a modest comfort knowing he will have some influence on the project. And Frank Marshall clearly couldn't be happier to have Spielberg's insight on Indy 5, telling Collider, "Steven is staying on as a producer, so we've got the best of everything."

James Mangold is officially taking the reins on Indiana Jones 5

Once Spielberg officially vacated the director's chair on Indiana Jones 5, the first question on the minds of franchise faithful was, "Who could possibly fill the void left by the iconic filmmaker?" Rumors immediately began swirling that Oscar-nominated Logan and Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold was being eyed to guide Indiana Jones 5 to the screen. After months of speculation, Frank Marshall made it official, confirming with Collider in May 2020 that James Mangold is indeed set to direct the next Indiana Jones flick. 

Marshall went on to offer a few thoughts on why Mangold is such a good fit for Indiana Jones 5"His love of the franchise. He's a wonderful filmmaker. I think he also has a relationship with Harrison. It was all of the right pieces coming together, at the right time."  

As disappointing as it is that Spielberg won't be in charge of Indy 5, it's really hard to be upset about Mangold taking over the project. While Mangold is unquestionably a very modern filmmaker, he's proven time and again that he has a penchant for old-school cinematic flavors too, so he's not likely to try to re-invent the wheel for Indiana Jones 5. Still, anyone who's witnessed the maudlin majesty of Mangold's Logan can attest to the fact that he's fully capable of taking well-worn narratives and making them feel wholly fresh and wildly original. 

Here's hoping he brings the same energy to Indiana Jones 5.

Indiana Jones 5 is now eyeing a summer 2022 release

While the announcement that Mangold is on board to direct Indiana Jones 5 is brilliant, Frank Marshall did drop a bit of bad news in his interview with Collider. To the disappointment of fans the world over, the film has once again shifted its release date. Indiana Jones 5 has been delayed a full year, and is now looking to hit theaters in the summer of 2022.

Part of that delay is related to ongoing issues related to the coronavirus pandemic, but there are some behind-the-scenes hurdles facing Indiana Jones 5 as well. The biggest of those issues is that the film currently has no working screenplay. That means it'll probably be a couple of months at best until production can actually move forward on Indiana Jones 5. The worst-case scenario is that Indy 5's screenplay saga drags on for a few more months and causes another production delay.

But if there's a silver lining to the script reboot, it's that Mangold himself will almost certainly be directly involved in the writing process. As Mangold is also directing Indiana Jones 5, there's a good chance he already has a fairly clear vision of what he wants the film to be, so it should be more a matter of getting words on the page than starting over from scratch. Whatever the case, given the already slow-moving status of Indy 5 and the current uncertainties of the world, we can't help but feel a 2021 shoot for a 2022 release might still be a little too ambitious a production schedule. 

Harrison Ford is still set to return in Indiana Jones 5

Now for the good news. In spite of all the behind-the-scenes shakeups delaying Indiana Jones 5, the face of the franchise is apparently still determined to make one last daring grab at the fedora that helped him become a Hollywood icon. Harrison Ford is — thankfully — still on board to reprise his iconic role. Call us crazy, but Disney forging ahead with Indy 5 without George Lucas and Steven Spielberg is suspect enough, but trying to make a new Indiana Jones movie without Harrison Ford is categorically unthinkable.

While it's certain that Ford has been boning up on his whip work in preparation for his turn in Indiana Jones 5, it's hard not to think that another production delay might put even his involvement in the film at risk. As a reminder, Ford was 74 years old when Indy 5 was first announced. He'll be turning 78 in July 2020. With a new shooting schedule now on the books, it's worth noting Ford will be pushing 80 years of age by the time the film goes before cameras. Now, by all accounts, Ford is in great shape for a man his age, but at some point, we have to wonder whether or not he'll be able to handle the requisite action inherent to an Indiana Jones story.

Of course, this is a guy who survived not one but two plane crashes, so it'd probably be smart not to bet against him — even if production on Indy 5 does hit another snag.

Indiana Jones 5 will reportedly not be a franchise reboot

As we await those official Indiana Jones 5 announcements, we're sincerely hoping for details regarding the story of the new film. Producers on the project are keeping dead quiet about what adventures lay ahead for the whip-cracking, Nazi-hating hero. 

As rumors abound regarding the narrative for Indiana Jones 5, it's a fine time to circle back to where we left of at the end of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: Indy found he was the father of Shia LeBeouf's Mutt Williams, and he had tied the knot with old flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen). Indy and company had also found themselves firmly in the Cold War trenches of the late '50s. (Also, he discovered that aliens are real.)

One of the more prominent Indy 5 theories is that the film will find Ford hunting artifacts in the swinging '60s, but there's no word yet on when Indy 5 will take place. It's unclear as well if Allen will return as Indy's late-in-the-game life partner. What we can say with reasonable certainty is that Shia LeBeouf will not reprise his role as Indy's and Marion's proto-greaser progeny. We also know per Kathleen Kennedy's comments at the 2020 BAFTAs that Indy 5 will not be a reboot of the franchise, and will instead be a "continuation" of Indy's story (via BBC).

It seems Indiana Jones 5 will also serve as the final chapter in that story. Fear not for a sorrowful end to the affair, however, as Steven Spielberg assured The Hollywood Reporter in 2016 that Indy will survive his final adventure, stating bluntly "I'm not killing off Harrison [Ford] at the end of it." That might be the best Indiana Jones 5 news of all.