Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Will Fix One of Crystal Skull’s Big Mistakes

Harrison Ford and James Mangold confirm they’re moving away from one of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s more memorable issues.

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones 5 De-Aged
Photo: Lucasfilm

Harrison Ford is fairly dismissive of critics of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. And he’s not trying to hide it either, as gleaned in his latest profile in The Hollywood Reporter. While chatting with THR’s James Hibberd, the man in the fedora was reminded that some folks were pretty harsh about Indy 4 in 2008.

“Where are they now?” Ford apparently retorted. “… I mean, [the critics] were harsh on it, but what are they doing now? I understand, but those were their rules—-not [Steven Spielberg and George Lucas’] rules. They were imposing rules on what the movie should be.”

Fair enough. In the late 2000s, it became something akin to sport among film journalists and bloggers (especially online) to pick apart the fourth Indiana Jones movie. This reaction was probably heightened by the fact that many felt Ford was then too old at age 66 to play the part. Yet 15 years later, Ford’s still standing with the fedora and bullwhip, and arguably busier than ever as he’s sandwiching a swan song as Dr. Jones between leading two new television shows, 1923 and Shrinking.

He seemed to want to acknowledge this irony in his lively back-and-forth with the industry trade…. Still, the actor and James Mangold, who is the director and co-writer of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, seem keen to acknowledge to the paper that Indy 5 will be doing some things a little differently from Crystal Skull. For starters, instead of shrugging off the fact Ford/Jones is now far past the age of collecting social security, Dial of Destiny will embrace this reality headfirst.

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“In [Dial of Destiny], there were a lot of old jokes in the script,” Ford said. “We took them out.” This revelation was in response to THR bringing up that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull simply made light of Indy’s even-then already advancing years. There would be cracks like a sidekick saying, “This isn’t going to be easy,” and Indy shooting back, “not as easy as it used to be.” But by and large, other than those winks and nudges, Crystal Skull’s Indy was just as physically robust as ever, beating up men twice his size and half his age with his bare hands.

Whether fairly or not, some critics made hay out of that in ’08. And it seems Dial of Destiny will be going in a different direction.

Said Ford, “There is a moment where [Indy] observes himself in this situation and says, ‘What the fuck am I doing in here?’ But I hate what I call ‘talking about the story.’ I want to see circumstances in which the audience gets a chance to experience the story, not to be led through the nose with highlights pointed out to them. I’d rather create behavior that is the joke of age rather than talk about it.”

Mangold also spoke with Hibberd and gave his own thoughts about leaning into Indy’s age with sincerity and thoughtfulness instead of deflection and self-deprecation.

“The mistake you can make in movies is when someone is of a ripe age but the movie continues this charade that they’re not that old,” Mangold said. “Every challenge he faces is through the reality of what someone of that age would be dealing with.”

In other words, we suspect Indy will not be just out-punching his foes in the fifth one. At the risk of sounding like one of the jaded cranks Ford shrugged off, we think this would be a good thing.

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Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opens on June 30, 2023.