The thought of a new Indiana Jones movie still makes me nervous as a long-time fan of the Indiana Jones franchise. This is the harm that was caused by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the Indiana Jones film that nobody wanted. But with a new Indiana Jones in production and slated to be released in 2020, there may be at least one reason to be slightly more optimistic about the fifth installment in the franchise.
Shia LaBeouf will be nowhere to be seen.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of LaBeouf, but his role in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was one that never felt right and was one I had no reason to feel invested in even with the return of Karen Allen as Marion and her connection to Jones helping to introduce LaBeouf’s character and reason to care laid out in somewhat lazy fashion. If the goal was to hand off the Indiana Jones franchise to his son for future films, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a huge swing and a miss. I would have been perfectly happy with no more Indiana Jones films at all, and my trilogy DVD set is all I will ever need in my collection. But I’m a sucker and will be sure to see the next Indiana Jones film. Knowing LaBeouf’s character will be nowhere to be seen is one reason I’m willing to let Steven Spielberg take my money one more time.
The news of LaBeouf’s character not being in the movie was confirmed by screenwriter David Koepp in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. It was music scored by John Williams to my ears.
“Harrison plays Indiana Jones, that I can certainly say,” Koepp told EW. “And the Shia LaBeouf character is not in the film.”
This development is not much of a surprise. Not only did Crystal Skull leave Indiana Jones fans in pain, LaBeouf and Spielberg reportedly are not a combo as good as peanut butter and jelly.
In 2010, LaBeouf told reporters that both he and Spielberg “dropped the ball” when it came to continuing the legacy of Indiana Jones. Although LaBeouf said he shared the blame for not making Mutt believable, he considered “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” flawed from the start.
“The movie could have been updated,” he said. “There was a reason it wasn’t universally accepted.”
In 2016, LaBeouf was even more frank about his disapproval of working with Spielberg, when he told Variety that Spielberg was “less a director than he is a f–king company.”
“I don’t like the movies that I made with Spielberg,” LaBeouf concluded.
I’d be shocked if the character is even mentioned in any capacity. There has rarely been too much connection between Indiana Jones films, although sign me up for Sean Connery returning to the big screen to play Indy’s dad any time. Connery is 87 and has been retired from the acting game since 2006, and in 2007 he denied rumors of a possible return for another Indiana Jones film. That opportunity may have passed, unfortunately. The Last Crusade brought back two former side characters from previous Indiana Jones films with Denholm Elliott and John Rhys-Davies back from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
We’ll probably be seeing Indiana go on an adventure with a new supporting cast, which will likely include some new younger star tagging along for the ride. Personally, I want to see Jonathan Ke Quan reprise his role as Short Round. I imagine he’s seen some things over the years, now that he is 46. Quan hasn’t been seen in a movie since 2002 though, and that was only released in Hong Kong.