Next summer, Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones for one last ride.
Today, Empire released a preview of their upcoming issue, which hits newsstands next week, featuring Indiana Jones 5 (the film still doesn’t have an announced title beyond that). One cover features Ford posing as the character, while the other cover features an illustration of Indy in 1960s-era New York, inspired by the film. Empire teased exclusive images and interviews with the cast, director, writers, and producers. So we can expect lots more Indiana Jones news in the coming week, but Empire did release an article featuring some quotes from Ford and James Mangold, who is the film’s director.
And it all centered around how this is viewed as a project to be a fitting send-off to one of cinema’s most iconic characters. Rather than viewing 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as the character’s conclusion, they decided to do another. “I just thought it would be nice to see one where Indiana Jones was at the end of his journey,” Ford said. “If a script came along that I felt gave me a way to extend the character.”
It sounds like the writers of the project were quite intentional about wanting to view the project as an ending, and that led to them embracing what otherwise might have seemed like an obstacle: Ford’s age. The legendary actor is 80 years old, a bit older than your typical action hero, but director James Mangold came to view that as a strength of the story. For in telling a fitting ending to Indy’s character, why not actually lean in to the hero’s age and show him dealing with it?
“It became really important to me to figure out how to make this a movie about a hero at sunset,” Mangold said. “The issues I brought up about Indy’s age were not things I thought were being addressed in the material being developed at the time. There were ‘old’ jokes, but the material itself wasn’t about it. To me, whatever you greatest liability, you should fly straight towards that. If you try to pretend it’s not there, you end up getting slings and arrows the whole way.”
I think that’s very wise. There’s no way around the age (whether by years or mileage), so instead of trying to pretend like Indiana Jones is a character untouched by time, it makes sense to show the hero at the twilight of his life and show him dealing with that. In this we’re getting just the faintest of hints of what the film will be about – much of which isn’t a new revelation – as we will see Indiana Jones in a new era, as an older man, on one final ride.
Just what that ride will be is yet unknown, as are the details of Indy’s life when we find him (like are Marion and Mutt still around? ). These plot details are being kept very much under wraps so far, but we’re getting a thematic sense of the movie, as it will figure to be a thrilling yet emotional adventure film that is designed to be the final ride for Indiana Jones (though, as we know, no one’s ever really gone…). And Ford seems quite pleased with it. “It’s full of adventure, full of laughs, full of real emotion,” he said. “And it’s complex and it’s sneaky. The shooting of it was tough and long and arduous. But I’m very happy with the film that we have.”
I can’t wait to see it when Indiana Jones 5 hits theaters on June 30, 2023. But in the meantime, we’ll probably learn more within the next week as Empire’s preview goes live.