At one time, Harrison Ford was the most successful action hero in the world, appearing in the Star Wars Trilogy, the Indiana Jones Franchise, The Fugitive, Air Force One, as well as critically acclaimed fare such as Witness, and cult favorites like Bladerunner. His star has faded in the 21st century and his latest film Paranoia is his worst opening ever.
The good news for Ford is that he’ll be appearing in the new Star Wars Episode 7. Not surprisingly, Ford has also expressed a wish to do another Indian Jones film, which is the role he is most associated with. Many stars will return to an old franchise when they are in a slump. However, given Ford’s advanced age, is it feasible for him to put on the fedora again? And would he have any better luck than he did in the lamentable Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?
Making another Indiana Jones film would depend upon the participation of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Spielberg is a very busy man and he has lots of options on the table for his next project, which he can’t seem to make up his mind about. At first he was planning an adaptation of the robot war movie Robopocalypse before dropping that project . After that, he announced he would do an adaptation of the true-life story American Sniper, which would star Bradley Cooper, but now he has dropped that one, too. There’s no firm word yet on what his next film will be. With so many choices, will he want to do another Indy film at this point? Clearly he wants to eradicate the blemish of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and end the popular franchise on a strong note (As they had originally done with Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade.) But surely he wouldn’t want to go back to the well unless he had a good script; otherwise he’d risk another Crystal Skull debacle.
And what about George Lucas? Having sold his company Lucasfilms Limited to Disney, he has gone into semi-retirement. He is not even planning to write the Star Wars sequel (making it the first Star Wars film not written by Lucas.) He will keep busy working as a consultant and script advisor on further Star Wars projects. Given all this, would he want to get involved with the writing of another Indy movie? Or would he give his blessing to someone else to write it instead, as he’s done with?
And what about Ford himself? He’s 72 years old and his box office power has dwindled over the past decade. Is he still a feasible action star? Would this necessitate the addition of a younger partner who would not only carry the bulk of the action sequences but also add some necessary drawing power to the project? If so, who would that be? It’s doubtful that it would be Shia LaBeouf again, because of the negative connotations associated with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. (Swinging through the trees with monkeys and doing the Tarzan yell? Ugh!) And LeBeouf himself seems to be veering away from these big budget sci-fi flicks since leaving the Transformers franchise. After the bad press he got from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it’s not overly likely that he’d want to jump back into that sandbox again. Could they recast the same character with a different actor who has less negative baggage and more star power?
It’s easy to understand why Harrison Ford would want to pick up the whip and play Dr. Jones one more time. He’s hoping for one last hurrah—a late career comeback that will send him into the final years of his career on a high note. He doesn’t want to fade away; he wants a blaze of glory. As a long-time Harrison Ford fan, I wish him luck and I hope he can somehow manage a career resurgence. However, I have my doubts about the viability of getting a new Indian Jones film made which will be good enough to cause a phoenix-rising moment in his fading legacy.
What do you think? Could Ford play Indy again? Could he do it without Lucas or Spielberg? Who would be the young co-star? Would such a film work today? Is there any cinematic future for Indian Jones? And where will Harrison Ford’s career go from here?