Everyone agrees that, eventually, we’ll see a fifth Indiana Jones movie. However, with Lucasfilm and Disney currently focusing on that other franchise, everyone’s favorite fedora-wearing archaeologist has taken a back seat. And that has lead to tons of speculation.

Most of the speculation surrounds lead actor Harrison Ford, who turned 73 this year. He understandably slowed down in the 20 years between Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull so, by the time a new movie comes around, things will only get worse.

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That’s why names like Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper have been tossed around as possible replacements for Ford. The logic is that “Indiana Jones” could go the way of James Bond, becoming an interchangeable role that is more famous than the actors who play it. And while that sounds good for the Internet, one of the franchise’s producers Frank Marshall says that’s not going to happen.

There are a lot of rumors. We haven’t even sat down to talk about Indy yet… at some point we’ll sit down. But there’s a bunch of people who could probably take the baton. [But we are] not doing the Bond thing where we’re going to call somebody else Indiana Jones… we have to figure this out.

“We have to figure this out” is kind of an understatement. Steven Spielberg said he plans on doing another Jones film with Harrison Ford, but he’s kind of busy. So based on Spielberg’s schedule alone, a new Indy movie couldn’t come out until 2018 at the VERY earliest. That would require both an idea (which we don’t think they have yet) and a script (which doesn’t yet exist). So let’s conservatively guess 2020 for a new Indiana Jones movie.

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At that time you’re looking at an almost 80-year-old Harrison Ford starring in Indiana Jones 5. Surely, any plot would then involve him passing the whip to a younger generation, much like Han Solo in The Force Awakens. But if that new character isn’t going to be “Indiana Jones,” won’t Lucasfilm and Disney lose their name recognition? How do you sell an “Indiana Jones” movie without Indiana Jones? Isn’t the name “Indiana Jones” more valuable than the actor playing him?

And maybe that’s the answer. Maybe the new star of the franchise just adopts the character’s name. Maybe Indy’s son, Mutt Williams, goes to court and has his name officially changed. Or, preferably, Indy has another relative who doesn’t look like Shia LaBeouf.

If that doesn’t happen though, I’m incredibly curious what the solution could be. I do love that, at this stage, Marshall is respecting Ford’s iconic role and setting the record straight about how things are going. However I still feel like if they “haven’t sat down to talk about Indy yet” and “still have to figure this out,” how can he be sure they won’t go with the Bond option? But if there’s a better way, I hope they find it.

[Total Film via /Film]


Contact the author at germain@io9.com.