Indiana Jones is back, and fans are already poring over what the new movie could be about.
No plot details have been revealed, and although we know Harrison Ford will be back, the blank canvas gives plenty of space for fans to pitch their own plot lines.
Here are some of our favourites.
Indy in Vietnam
The last movie, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was released in 2008 and set in 1957. The new movie is due out in 2019, and if you assume a similar time gap, that would set the it in 1968.
So, Swinging Sixties? Cold War? It’s certainly rich pickings for a historically-minded action archeologist. But perhaps the most exciting option is Vietnam.
Blogger Stuart Fitzwilliam points out on ComicsandNoir.com that if the time frame is right, Indy’s going to find himself slap bang in the middle of the Vietnam War.
“The focus of American politics in 1968 was, of course, Vietnam,” he writes. “The war there was escalating and the CIA were active across the region in attempts to provide support to US allies and undermine their adversaries. Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos were political and military hot spots for the US and USSR during this time.”
Military backdrop? Check. Archeological significance? Check.
“The region also has a rich cultural history that’s reflected in it’s many Hindu and Buddhist temples,” Fitzwilliam adds. “Probably the most famous of these, Angkor Wat, dates back to the 12th century and has been used as a location for multiple movies; it was a location for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, a character that has a direct lineage to Indiana Jones.”
It’s a great thought, but there is one caveat: Indiana Jones movies have not always moved forward at the same rate as the time it takes to make the films. For example, first movie Raiders of the Lost Ark is set in 1936, but the second instalment, Temple of Doom, is set in 1935. The series has never been chronological.
Bring back Short Round!
Indiana Jones is old. We get it. It’s clear he’ll need a bit of help to get on with the jumping and the whip-cracking. Enter Short Round, the kid from The Temple of Doom who, according to fans online, has loads more to give.
Shorty was a Chinese orphan who quickly became Indy’s companion – after trying to pick his pocket of course. He’s a key character in that movie, as this comment from Twitchfilm points out.
“Temple of Doom is, arguably, as much Shorty’s adventure as it is Indy’s – John Williams even supplies him a full-throated orchestral theme, called, appropriately enough, ‘The Adventures of Short Round.’ He even has a hat.”
Oh yes. So, what does this mean for the new film?
“I’m only proposing that the character of Shorty, aged forward fifteen years and having lived in America since 1935, would make a hell of a lead character for a new cycle of Indiana Jones movies. He’d have the kind of lived experience that The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles were literally built on, between his adventures in Shanghai and, presumably, life in America during World War II, when American sentiment towards Asians did not exactly tilt neighbourly.”
Start the campaign guys…
What about Mutt?
Indy’s son is the fly in the ointment here. Shia Laboeuf played Jones’s long-lost child Mutt Williams in The Crystal Skull, but he’s made no secret about the fact that he doesn’t feel the movie was his finest work, saying (according to NME), “I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished.”
LaBoeuf’s also making a new career for himself as a weird performance artist, standing in Oxford lifts and such. Add to that the fact that Harrison Ford called him a “f****ing idiot” for openly regretting his role in the franchise, and you might assume he had burned his bridges.
If so, how do you write out a character like that in the next instalment?
You could, as Reddit user Aveydey suggests, just explain his absence quickly with a passing comment.
“I’d write him out and have Indy give a throwaway line about Mutt being in college. Remember, he did encourage him to go to school in the 4th film.
“If they wanted to give Indy a successor to carry the whip it in future instalments it should be a woman. In the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles the episodes started out with Old Indy telling stories to his daughter. Indy could easily have a daughter from another woman besides Marrion out there, guy was a player.”
However, perhaps the more intriguing answer is to set the next India Jones film before The Crystal Skull. AgeofUltron2015 suggests that would avoid upsetting the supposedly neat wedding ending, and also reassure fans put off by the fourth movie that there’s still chance for a refresh…
“I hope its a prequel set 1 year prior to Crystal Skull. Not that I hate it, is just tied things off too neatly to make a sequel. I don’t know whether I should be excited or scared.”
It sweeps LaBeouf’s character out of the way, and allows for all manner of other characters to be introduced and potentially spun off when Jones is happily married and retired.
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Or, you know, you could take a much-loved piece of Indy nostalgia and bring it to life. Enter Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, a 90s point and click video game made by LucasArts and featuring Dr Jones looking for the legendary lost city, pursued by Nazis (obvs).
“Rumours suggesting that a big screen Indiana Jones movie would see him on a quest to find the lost city of Atlantis were not in short supply in the 1990s, primarily because, we’d suggest, of the excellent computer game, Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis, that was released in 1992,” Den of Geek reports.
The movie that never was, set in a city that never existed, based on a video game that, in Indy’s words, “belongs in a museum”? Pretty much perfect right?