Over the last few years, there have been ongoing rumors about what was going to happen with Indiana Jones, and the most prevalent by far has been about Chris Pratt playing the role in a reboot.
We've held firm to the belief that any new Indiana Jones film would star Harrison Ford and be directed by Steven Spielberg, though, and we've reported that even when the Pratt rumor was at maximum velocity.
And now, Disney and Lucasfilm have confirmed the thing that we have been saying they would confirm, and it's pretty much the only real detail offered so far. This morning, with no fanfare, the Walt Disney Company sent out a very short press release that absolutely lit up the Internet.
Here's the full text of this morning's press release:
Indiana Jones will return to the big screen on July 19, 2019, for a fifth epic adventure in the blockbuster series. Steven Spielberg, who directed all four previous films, will helm the as-yet-untitled project with star Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. Franchise veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce.
“Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can”t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “It”s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn”t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”
Famed archaeologist and explorer Indiana Jones was introduced in 1981″s Raiders of the Lost Ark – one of AFI”s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time – and later thrilled audiences in 1984″s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1989″s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and 2008″s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The four films have brought in nearly $2 billion at the global box office.
So. If they're making this announcement, then they know what the story is and they're at least a draft or two deep into the process. Maybe more than that. The hardest part of making a new Indiana Jones film appears to be figuring out what the magical artifact is that everyone's going to be chasing, and once that's been nailed down, then it's just a matter of having fun with the idea.
I have no doubt that there will be a time when we see someone else play Indiana Jones. We've already seen at least four other actors play the part, so it's not beyond imagination to think that someone else will wear the hat and carry the whip. But it was clear from conversations I had with people working for Lucasfilm that Steven Spielberg had been very clear about Indy in his conversations with them, and that he wanted to make one more film with Ford before they considered any other options. I think people forget just how personally Spielberg takes audience reactions. There's no way he walks away from Indiana Jones with people remembering Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull as the last movie. Nope. It matters to him. He will turn on his own movie if the public rejects it, and he does care about what people remember about the series.
So now we know when we'll see the film. We can expect to start hearing casting reports much closer to production. For a while, I suspect they'll be busy finalizing the script, with Spielberg's full attention focused on getting this one just right.
Indiana Jones returns to theaters July 19, 2019.