Last Updated on December 2, 2022 by Lil Ginge
It’s time. Time for Harrison Ford’s version of Indiana Jones to end for good.
Not because the movies are bad now. Indiana Jones is always the best. (Okay, even when they’re a little bad like in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull).
It’s time to end because Indiana Jones is eighty years old. And Harrison Ford is also up there in age. But that’s not the real reason.
The real reason Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones needs to end is that the story of Indiana Jones needs a final conclusion. We need to know how the story that started back in 1983 with Raiders of the Lost Ark finally ends.
Then it’s time for something else. A new story. Someone else’s story.
Mangold Takes The Indiana Jones Reins From Spielberg
Walt Disney Studios released the trailer for the new installment of Indiana Jones yesterday. The film, directed by James Mangold (Logan, Girl, Interrupted), presents the first time an Indiana Jones film is not directed by the legendary Hollywood director Steven Spielberg.
Obviously, that could be seen as a huge loss. But Mangold is also a top-notch action hero director, having brought us the stunning film Logan in 2017. Plus, Spielberg’s last foray into the famous Nazi-punching archaeologist’s journey left a lot to be desired.
And Mangold has done this kind of thing before. Most notably with Hugh Jackman’s incarnation of Wolverine in Logan. That film ends Wolverine’s story conclusively and definitively. And also points to where a new story (or stories) could begin.
Mangold agrees that the story of Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones needs a definitive ending. And he seems all too happy to bring it to us. As Mangold recently told Empire, “It became really important to me to figure out how to make this a movie about a hero at sunset.”
Henry Jones, Jr. himself seems to agree. As Harrison Ford said, “I just thought it would be nice to see one where Indiana Jones was at the end of his journey,” Ford explains. “If a script came along that I felt gave me a way to extend the character.”
Every Hero Has A Journey. Every Journey Has An Ending
These comments from Mangold and Ford are heartening. It appears they understand Indiana Jones as played by Harrison Ford needs a definite conclusion one way or another. Maybe it ends with an eighty-year-old Indy riding off into the sunset into retirement on horseback. Or maybe it has a darker edge to it.
After all, the ending to Logan was not so sunny for Wolverine.
It doesn’t really matter to me either way. What matters is not how it ends but that it ends. That when the final credits roll, we know that Harrison Ford won’t be taking up the fedora and bullwhip another time in some Indiana Jones 6. Nor will some other actor step into those same shoes in such a film.
The Problematic Neverending Blockbuster Franchise
When I was a young kid growing up loving the movies, most hit blockbuster franchises did not have a definitive ending. With the notable exception of the OG Star Wars trilogy, Hollywood would continue to make sequels to blockbuster action films in perpetuity until the profits ran out. Here are some examples:
- James Bonds
- The Terminator
- Slasher films like
- Friday The 13th
- A Nightmare On Elm Street
There are plenty of other examples. Hollywood’s idea was to milk these franchises for every last dollar for as long as they could. And then just stop when the money dried up. Regardless of where that left the story – or the audiences. It was usually someplace pretty terrible. Something like this:
Hollywood Finds A New Way Forward
That all seemed to change with the Oscar-winning trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Peter Jackson’s sprawling fantasy epic, adapted from the J.R.R. Tolkien books, had a definitive beginning, middle, and end written into it many years ago. Although Jackson did find a way to make more Middle Earth movies later on, for better (really for worse), the original trilogy told one narrative with a definitive ending and then just – stopped.
Absolutely leaving a lot of revenue available for a fourth film on the table.
Christopher Nolan followed in Jackson’s footsteps with his brilliant reboot of the Batman franchise. When Nolan directed Batman Begins, it was no sure thing that The Dark Knight would happen. The same was even true after Dark Knight’s wild box office success. Then Nolan Dark Knight Rised us and peaced out of the Batman story, probably forever. But we knew exactly how it ended up for billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.
The Saga of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Walt Disney Studios has been at work on a fifth – and hopefully final – installment of the Indiana Jones franchise since 2016. It’s been a long time coming, with injuries to Harrison Ford (what else is new?) and a tiny little pandemic delaying the project years. Until now.
In that span, we’ve seen Spielberg and George Lucas walk away from their creative responsibilities as director and writer, respectively. Although the pair is staying on as a team of executive directors.
Meanwhile, we will see both old – Sallah! – and new (Mads Mikkelson! Phoebe Wallers-Bridge!) faces in the please be the last and final Harrison Ford Indiana Jones film.
Ford seems to feel as nostalgic and emotional as we do about saying goodbye to the character. Speaking at the D23 Expo, Ford said, “Thank you for making these films such an incredible experience for all of us. I’m very proud to say that this one is fantastic.” So glad to hear that! And also, hopefully, he’s proud to say that this one is the end for him. It’s been an amazing journey since 1983.
In the new trailer for the film, Jones says “I don’t believe in magic, but a few times in my life I’ve seen things, things I can’t explain, and I’ve come to believe it’s not so much what you believe as how hard you believe it.”
Many movies are not magic. But thanks to Indiana Jones, a few times in my life I’ve seen things. And I’ve come to believe that even if Harrison Ford’s Indianan Jones movies finally end, which they should, the magic of his performances never will.