Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Indiana Jones Is About To Hang Up His Hat, And When He Does, His Successor Must Be Ke Huy Quan

Hello, good people at Lucasfilm and Disney. Have you considered the fact that some "Indiana Jones" movies are actually pretty popular? You have? That's why you're making more of them? Okay, great. 

Having established that Indiana Jones is, in fact, good, we'd like to have a talk about the franchise's future. As long-running series go, "Indiana Jones" films have a decent batting average. With the exception of the one with the alien skull thingies and the Shia LaBeouf, as well as the unfortunate cultural stereotypes in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," they've been pretty great. It's just that been is the operative word, here. The upcoming "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny" premieres 15 years after the previous last hurrah of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which itself arrived some 19 years after the extremely ironically named "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade."  

The thing is, Harrison Ford was born in 1942. Man's as old as "Archie" comics. You've done a commendable job bringing him back every 15 or 20 years to fight giant mooks again, but with your current release schedule, he's going to be a supercentenarian by the time the next installment's out of the oven.

If you want to keep the franchise going, you'll need to figure out a worthy replacement for Dr. Henry Jones Jr. after "The Dial of Destiny." It may not seem easy, if only because few people are more adept at punching fictional Nazi villains. Luckily, you don't have to look far, because the perfect guy for the job already nailed his audition four decades ago. Ke Huy Quan must inherit Harrison Ford's iconic adventure hat ... and honestly? There are no other candidates. 

Nobody predicted Quan's comeback, but Indiana Jones should seize the opportunity

The first question that comes to mind about Quan's potential return in the "Indiana Jones" franchise: Why hasn't it happened already? In hindsight, an adult Short Round making a cameo in "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" or "The Dial of Destiny" seems so obvious, it actually hurts a bit. However, the reality of the situation is a bit more complicated.

After the original trilogy wrapped up in 1989, the "Indiana Jones" franchise has been moving with all the pace and grace of a narcoleptic glacier. Over the decades, people must've badgered Ford with so many sub-par Indy film ideas that he occasionally had to visit a Star War and kill a Han Solo just to unwind a little. Remember, the film that actually got made was "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Who knows what madness has cast a shadow on Ford's desk over the series' tectonic movements?

Meanwhile, Quan's Academy Award-worthy comeback is a story for the ages. It's also happened at such a lightning pace that the lumbering Indy franchise couldn't possibly have seen it coming. After all, Quan barely worked as an actor for the longest time, and when people suddenly realized he was back in the game, he was already riding the "Everything Everywhere All at Once" hype train at breakneck speed. 

Quan showed up on screen after everyone thought he'd retired, but now that he's back, he's proved that he can absolutely kill it at action, comedy and drama alike — all at the same time, if needs must. Since these just happen to be the basic building blocks of the "Indiana Jones" movies, the franchise should bend over backwards to lock him as the star of its next few films.

Short Round already has decades of action hero antics behind him

It's not just that Ke Huy Quan has reemerged as a magnificent actor. His character also happens to be one of the most important players in the "Indiana Jones" series. Here's a short (round) list of things Quan's streetwise character does in "The Temple of Doom:" He drives a car, befriends an elephant, treks through a jungle, loves the Yankees — and, right, helps dismantle a creepy mystical death cult's evil plot, saving both Indy and Willie (Kate Capshaw) from their clutches in the process. We probably should've led with that one. 

That's just a small part of the kid's awesomeness, mind you. Short Round – aka Wan Li — is an orphan with a tragic backstory who taught himself English by watching movies, and started working in Shanghai's underworld under an alias. He had multiple movie-worthy adventures even before the events of "The Temple of Doom." Indy personally trained him to be an action hero survivor type dude, because ... apparently you could just do that to a random child back in the 1930s? Comics have also detailed some of Shorty's further adventures that may or may not turn out to be canon. These have involved attending a private school in the U.S., and embarking on multiple dangerous treasure-hunting quests, both with Dr. Jones and by himself. 

In other words, when you weren't watching, Short Round already became a cultured action hero of the Indy variety — only, he's a version of Indy who could already spin-kick grown adults to oblivion at age 11, and who uses his own street name instead of lamely stealing one from a dog. At this point, it would be irresponsible to not make a movie about the guy. 

Indy's son and goddaughter could still make excellent sidekicks

Another great benefit of letting Quan lead the franchise would be that none of the other potential heirs to Indy's archaeologist-adventurer throne would have to pick up a loss. As an experienced globetrotting adventurer, Short Round would require supporting characters on his journeys. This is where Indy's family kicks in. 

Shia LaBeouf's Mutt Williams isn't the best-received character in the history of cinema, but that's because he was specifically introduced as Indy's reluctant successor, and the audience found him lacking. But wouldn't it be a delicious twist if Short Round — a former sidekick himself — would now have to deal with Indy's actual son as an annoying sidekick of his own? Because boy, he and Mutt would get on each others' nerves. 

As for the most recent heir apparent, it's hard to say what kind of character Indy's hitherto unmentioned goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) will be before "The Dial of Destiny" drops ... though credit where credit's due, putting Fleabag in a historical action adventure is a boss move. Still, one suspects that Helena and Short Round would mesh pretty well. After all, Waller-Bridge's characters tend to radiate a "overwhelmed cynic" energy, not unlike Michelle Yeoh's Evelyn in "Everything Everywhere All at Once." The chemistry should be there.

In conclusion, Lucasfilm and Disney, when you look at all the facts, you're actively risking losing Quan to some other high-profile movie series with every second you're choosing to sit on your hands instead of giving him a call. Quan has already said he's game for more Short Round. Give the man a chance, and it just might be that he ends up beating Harrison Ford in his own game — just like Short Round whooped Indy in poker.