Is there any sign of Indiana Jones 5?
As Shia LaBeouf effectively gives a no-news update on Indiana Jones 5, is this now likely to be the sequel that we never get to see?
For many, the thought of a fifth Indiana Jones was a potential pleasure that was significantly dampened by watching the fourth outing for the man with the hat. An intensive post mortem has been carried out on where Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull went quite so wrong, and so we've little desire to get back into that. Rather, two things came out of it. Firstly, it made more money than any other film in the series to date. And secondly, Messrs Ford, Lucas and Spielberg all expressed interest in making a fifth film.
Yet, it's been three years now since Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull was released (and a Steven Spielberg-directed film hasn't been in cinemas since), with little sign of the fifth movie heading into production.
That's not a surprise, to be fair. It was well reported that the lengthy gap between Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade and the fourth movie was down to George Lucas looking for a good MacGuffin, and for everyone to agree on a good story. Like we said, we're not going to post-mortem the fourth film again here.
It's unsurprisingly, though, that Lucas would once again take his time to get his story right, especially in the light of the last round of blistering criticism. And the power base is very different, too, to the Indiana Jones movies of old.
Spielberg and Lucas are both filmmakers with the clout to get their own way, and while Lucas is, in theory, the ‘boss' when it comes to Indiana Jones, it's hard to see that playing out in straightforward fashion when put into practice (the mechanic is certainly a lot different, it seems, to the one that fuelled the Indy movies of the 80s). Throw in the fact that Harrison Ford wants a say, too, and there are some very powerful cooks who need to see eye to eye before a new film can press forward.
But what all concerned don't have the luxury of this time around is time. The near-two decade gap between Indiana Jones films last time around was possible due to the age of all concerned. Yet, the prospects of an Indiana Jones 5 surely diminish each and every year, as leading man Harrison Ford gets older.
Next year, Harrison Ford will celebrate his seventieth birthday. And while we'd wager he's in far better shape than many 40 year olds, there's still the question of how feasible it is for someone in their seventies to headline what remains, at heart, an action movie.
The latest update on the progress of Indiana Jones 5 has come from Shia LaBeouf, the potential heir apparent to the franchise, who told MTV that he'd been chatting to Harrison Ford about the film. "He said he's staying in the gym," the actor revealed. He added that Ford had "heard no word, but he does know that [George Lucas] is out there looking for a MacGuffin." LaBeouf also said, "He said he's staying in the gym, so it means [the movie is] not so far off."
But it all sounds a bit 'as you were'. Appreciating that George Lucas is hardly likely to fill us all in on the intricacies of putting an Indiana Jones story together, this is the line that's remained for some time now. And if George Lucas is still hunting for the right story for the film, that means at least a two year wait at the very, very earliest before we see a thing.
Because this is what still has to happen. If Lucas finds his story, then a screenwriter needs to pen the script. That's fairly obvious. However, Indy 4 was held up due to disagreements over the assorted drafts, and for Indy 5 to move quickly, all concerned would need to sign up to the screenplay. That's no sure-fire thing.
Once a script is agreed, it's pre-production, shooting, post-production, marketing and release. It's hard to see that happening in the next two years, and our best guess is that the earliest we'd realistically see Indy 5 would be in the summer of 2014. Just in time for Harrison Ford to celebrate his seventy-second birthday.
Age need not be a barrier, of course, as this could be the film where the mantle is passed on. But perhaps enough is enough here. No matter how much we struggle to rewatch Crystal Skull with any joy, there's still an inherent pleasure in seeing a big screen Indiana Jones adventure. Yet, maybe this is a franchise that's done. We've had a good six hours of terrific cinema out of it, and the desire to make a fifth movie may not be in the franchise's best interests.
One irrefutable fact is that this is a project on which the clock is ticking. And while there's still clearly enthusiasm amongst the filmmakers to press ahead with Indy 5, all concerned are going to have to start making big decisions soon in order to make it happen.