Nobody likes Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Okay, I’m sure some people do, but the disappointing badness of Crystal Skull is one of those nearly axiomatic consensuses of the movie world, right up there with ‘Citizen Kane is the greatest movie of all time’ and ‘Fast Five is a masterpiece of modern action cinema.’ Sure, you can disagree, but people might look at you a little bit funny if you do. So, of course, with the new Indiana Jones 5 on the way, the easiest way to get people worked up into a tizzy is to talk about the links it may or may not have to its widely despised predecessor.
That’s why, predictably, people are getting worked up over producer Frank Marshall’s comments coming out of CinemaCon in Las Vegas. Per Variety:
Marshall said the next “Jones” installment will not be a prequel but a continuation of the story from where it left off with “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” in 2008.
Now, on the surface, that might sound bad. We already knew David Koepp is returning to pen the followup to his last go at Indy, and now Frank Marshall is calling it a ‘continuation.’ Climb into your lead-lined refrigerators, everyone, we’re in for a bumpy ride. But not so fast! If we pull back a bit, and look at the rest of Marshall’s comments, we get a better idea of exactly what he’s saying.
“I think both in the ‘Jason Bourne’ series and on ‘Indiana Jones,’ we are not going to do the Bond thing,” Marshall said, referring to rotating different actors through the title roles in the two franchises that he oversees. “We think those characters are iconic, and those are the only actors who can play that.”
And there it is. All Frank Marshall is doing here is beating the same drum he’s been beating for months now. As long as he’s in charge, Harrison Ford’s the only guy they’ll even consider playing Indiana Jones. His comments about Indiana Jones 5 being a ‘continuation’ are merely backing up that point, and shutting down the idea of this new movie being a prequel framed by Ford recalling an adventure from his past.
Whether or not Indiana Jones 5 does include any direct ties to Crystal Skull, quite frankly, no one knows yet. It’s still insanely early in the process – Koepp’s only been officially on the job for less than a month – and as we saw with The Force Awakens, these things can change drastically as late as a few weeks before the film is actually released. As for concerns over Koepp himself, remember that he was walking into Crystal Skull after no less than five other writers tried and failed to put together a script based on Lucas’ story that Spielberg never liked in the first place. I think Koepp tends to be pretty hit-or-miss, but it’s beyond disingenuous to blame the problems of Crystal Skull on him.
Indiana Jones 5 is currently scheduled for release July 19, 2019. Let’s wait until we’re a little bit closer to that date before making sweeping assumptions about its still unfinished story.