Ever since Disney purchased all of Lucasfilm for more than $4 billion back in 2012, virtually every shred of focus has been devoted to what that means for the Star Wars franchise. But Disney bought all of Lucasfilm, and that just so happened to also include Indiana Jones, which the studio also has some big plans for. They have already announced a new sequel to be directed by Steven Spielberg and once again starring Harrison Ford due out in 2019, but it looks like the studio may have something much larger planned.
Over the weekend, Disney held their annual Star Wars centric fan event, Star Wars Celebration, which took place in London and was almost entirely focused on all things related to a galaxy far far away. Almost. A panel called "The Art Of Storytelling," which focused on the Lucasfilm Story Group, who are in charge of planning out future stories and keeping continuity straight across all of the various forms of media these stories are told in revealed what Disney may be thinking in terms of Indiana Jones in the future. Collider was on hand for the panel, and according to their report, ILM President Lynwen Brennan took a break from talking Star Wars to drop the interesting bit about Indiana Jones.
"Kiri [Hart] and her group have mapped out a story and timeline across multiple platforms many years in advance, many exhausting years in advance. ... We have a great honor to have responsibility for, so we want to be really careful with that. Not only for Star Wars but with Indiana Jones, which we're all really excited about as well."
We know that Star Wars is currently being milked for absolutely everything it is worth, with Disney currently working on and releasing nearly countless TV shows, movies, comic books, novels and video games based on the property. But based on what Brennan said, it looks like the studio may very well have similar plans for Indiana Jones. This isn't the first that we have heard about Disney having larger plans for the character either. Last month, Disney CEO Bob Iger also made a comment that alluded to something like this in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
"Not like Star Wars, but we hope... right now, we're focused on a reboot, or a continuum and then a reboot of some sort. Well, we'll bring him back, then we have to figure out what comes next. That's what I mean. It's not really a reboot, it's a boot - a reboot. I don't know. We [got] Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the film. But then what's the direction? I've had discussions about what the direction is, [but] I don't want to get into it. I don't think it reaches the scale of the universe of Star Wars, but I see making more. It won't be just a one-off."
It makes sense that the studio would want to expand on the universe that the iconic Harrison Ford character occupies, and the franchise can't rest on his shoulders much longer. Ford just turned 74, and after Indiana Jones 5, it is hard to imagine he will have much gas left in the tank, especially considering the action heavy nature of the franchise. So, if Disney wants to continue, they will have to do a "boot" of some sort, as Iger put it. That doesn't necessarily mean that they will have to recast the role of Indy though. But they did just cast Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo, so it isn't totally out of the question. Maybe Ehrenreich could end up taking on both roles like Ford did?
Steven Spielberg and other Disney brass have stated that they have no desire to see anyone other than Ford play the character, so if that ends up being the case, that leaves us in a place where all we can do is speculate as to what else they have planned. Perhaps they will center spin off movies on other archeologists and/or adventurers set in the same universe? Or maybe they will bring back Shia LaBeouf as Mutt for his own adventure? Disney is pretty smart, so based on the collective groan that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull induced by the Indiana Jones fan base, that isn't very likely. That being said, it seems inevitable that Indiana Jones 5 won't be the last we see of the franchise. Indiana Jones 5 is set for release on July 19, 2019.