Harrison Ford in 'Indiana Jones 5' is the tragedy America needs right now
Good news for fans of never, ever, ever letting things lie: Harrison Ford will pick up his whip and hat for a fifth Indiana Jones film.
"We’re working away, getting the script where we want it to be and then we’ll be ready to go," Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC. "Harrison Ford will be involved… It's not a reboot. It's a continuation."
Everyone's already done the jokes about Indy walking briskly after bad guys and gingerly wiggling his whip around, so there's no need to add to the pile. The presumption that it's going to be slightly rubbish is widespread, and that's understandable. But as you know, they named the dog Indiana, and there could still be life in this old dog yet.
Let's take a step back. At 77, Ford apparently hasn't quite completed the valedictory tour of his most beloved roles which began back in 2008 with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, continued with Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 and rounded off with Blade Runner 2049 in 2017. During that run it felt like Ford was being very savvy in using Rick Dekkard, Han Solo and Indy to cement his legacy and remind younger audiences that he wasn't always a man badly CGI'd into the fight scene in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.
Granted, Crystal Skull was a weird one to begin the process with. Let's not dwell on it too much, but if you saw Ray Winstone's name on the cast list and still thought it was going to be halfway decent, you're a fool to yourself. Also, I'll happily defend the fridge-nuke scene on the grounds that it was the one genuinely exciting bit of that flabby mess. So what if Indy should have died? He survived being melted by the vengeful power of God by shutting his eyes in Raiders of the Lost Ark. A few megatons of nuclear bomb is chicken feed.
But as disappointing as Crystal Skull was, a fifth Indiana Jones film could still give the whole story a satisfying ending and Ford an elegiac send-off as a front-rank 20th century leading man. Following the films' timeline, the new one would have to be set around 1970. Indy's been kicking arses and taking cuneiform names since the days of zeppelin travel, and now he's living in a world where Concorde exists and Kennedy and King have been assassinated.
It doesn't need to be Three Days of the Aztec Condor Spirit, but a portrait of this symbol of muscular American nobility shorn of his moral certainties in a new and confusing world would be oddly appropriate. As long as it doesn't try to blame an ancient Nepalese god-king for Watergate, that is. Forget all the aliens and supernatural woo: ideas of legacy and the cruelty of time have been at the heart of Indiana Jones since the beginning, and it's a natural place for the series to end. That boulder that chased Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark has to catch up to him some time.
Imagine a scene where Indy picks up an artefact from the desert sands, carefully brushes it down, and peers into it. A tear forms in one of the many crinkles around his soulful eyes, and dribbles down his cheek.
"This," he croaks, heaving each word out from the depths of his soul, "belongs... in a museum."
The camera sweeps around to reveal that Indy isn't looking at a very, very old rock or Joseph of Arimathea's cummerbund – it's a mirror. The wind kicks up. Indy disappears in a cloud of sand. The end.