Although there were rumors a few years ago about recasting the role of Dr. Henry “Indiana” Jones with a new, younger actor like Chris Pratt or Bradley Cooper, the odds are that we will not see anyone else playing this character (at least, not for a long, long time.) Here are the reasons why…
They Tried To Recast Indy On the TV Series and It Didn’t Work: In the 1992-93 television series The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, three different actors played Jones. Corey Carrier played little Indy between the ages of 8 to 12, Sean Patrick Flanery played him from 17 to 21, while George Hall played Jones as an old man, still teaching and telling stories of his youth that lead to flashbacks. These interpretations are not really remembered very well by most fans today.
The Producer Has Said It Will Never Happen: Frank Marshall, a veteran movie producer of many films, including all the Indiana Jones films and the Jason Bourne movies, has stated definitively that they won’t be replacing Harrison Ford as Dr. Jones. During a Q&A at CinemaCon’s where he was named producer of the decade, Marshall said: “It’s all about the story. I think both in the Jason Bourne series and on Indiana Jones, we are not going to do the Bond thing. We think those characters are iconic, and those are the only actors who can play that.” He has stated that the franchise will end when Harrison Ford decides it’s over.
Steven Spielberg Doesn’t Want the Role Recast: Even the mega-successful Steven Spielberg himself has said that he wouldn’t recast the role. Spielberg, who directed the four previous Jones outings has categorically stated, “I don’t think anyone could replace Harrison as Indy. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. It’s certainly not my intention to ever have another actor step into his shoes in the way there have been many actors that have played Spider-Man or Batman. There is only going to be one actor playing Indiana Jones and that’s Harrison Ford.”
The Story Has Already Been Told With Ford: It’s been 35 years since Ford first leaped onto the screen as everyone’s favorite archeologist/relic hunter. Ford was 39 at the time. We’ve followed the character of Jones since he was 35 in the prequel Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom. We see Jones again at age 57 in Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls. By the time the next movie is filmed, Harrison Ford will be at least 75, and the character of Jones will be somewhere near that age. Ford will have played the role for almost 40 years by then. How many other actors can you think of that have taken a single character throughout the bulk of his life? This shows how much Ford loves the role. He’s gone on record as saying he didn’t care too much for his Han Solo character and has tried several times to separate from the space smuggler (and finally got his way in Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Ford has put so much of himself into interpreting the various stages of Indy’s life, that anyone else who tried to replace him would be constantly compared unfavorably to Ford’s portrayal.
Ford’s Input Would Be Missing: Even though he wasn’t one of the writers, Ford has always been interested in the development of the character and making the best script possible. Before Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls was finalized, writer George Lucas had written a script called Indiana Jones and the Invasion of the Saucer Men, about Jones fighting off a full scale invasion from Mars by aliens in flying saucers. Ford hated the script and refused to do it, insisting that the franchise should stay more grounded in historical/mystical material. Sadly, the compromise led to the disappointing Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls, but if Lucas had listened to Ford, he would have dropped the whole alien angle and come up with something more in line with the previous movies. Ford is very protective of the franchise and his input has always improved the scripts. He’s even come up with some of the franchise’s most memorable moments, such as the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark where an annoyed Indy shoots the swordsman. There was originally supposed to be a fight scene but Ford had the epiphany of replacing the battle with the famous gunshot moment.
Judging by all this, it’s very unlikely that we’ll ever see another actor in the leather jacket and fedora. Maybe it’ll happen decades down the road when everyone now connected with the previous films has passed on but until then, it’s a pretty sure bet that no one else will even be Dr. Indiana Jones except Harrison Ford.