Indiana Jones 5 is attempting to mix the old with the new. Another couple of revelations from Empire’s deep dive into the upcoming sequel have been made public before the next print issue of the magazine goes on sale this Friday. First, they’ve got some information on Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character – she’s Indy’s goddaughter, Helena, and is described as “a mystery and a wonder,” “slippery, charming, the girl next door, a grifter,” and “a pioneer in ethical accounting” by Waller-Bridge, director James Mangold, and Harrison Ford, respectively. Empire also released this exclusive image:
She sounds swell! I mean, how couldn’t she be when everyone involved is gushing so effusively over her? Comparisons are also drawn between Waller-Bridge’s Helena and Barbara Stanwyck in The Lady Eve, who was a con artist. I’ll bet she outthinks Indy at every turn. Does that mean she isn’t really his goddaughter, or she is but is still a con artist? If the former, dollars to doughnuts she’s Marcus Brody’s granddaughter, because like Star Wars, Indy’s world is only big enough to include about four last names. I’m being overly pessimistic, but in my defense, it’s only because I have zero faith in this movie.
Empire also revealed, via a conversation with Mangold, what the opening sequence of Indiana Jones 5 will be. In case anyone still wants to see the movie (and because I’m not John Campea), I’m going to put up a spoiler warning before getting into this:
Mangold tells Empire that Indiana Jones 5 will begin with a sequence set in a Nazi castle in 1944, with a digitally de-aged Harrison Ford as Indy.
“I wanted the chance to dive into this kind of full-on George-and-Steven old picture and give the audience an adrenaline blast… And then we fall out, and you find yourself in 1969… So that the audience doesn’t experience the change between the ‘40s and ‘60s as an intellectual conceit, but literally experiences the buccaneering spirit of those early days… and then the beginning of now.”
This gels with longstanding rumors that Indiana Jones 5 would feature a trip down memory lane with a de-aged Indy. The way Mangold talks about it makes it sound like this will only be the opening sequence, however, and that the plot will not involve time travel. That makes more sense with all the talk of the space race and Operation Paperclip; adding time travel to that would have made for an unwieldy movie. This feels like a reaction to the reception of a de-aged Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in The Mandalorian, which would indicate that we’ll be seeing a lot more de-aged characters as time goes on, especially at Disney. Whether any of them will work nearly as well likely depends on how much care the filmmakers put into their product, a sliding scale if ever there was one.
On what point of that scale does Indiana Jones 5 lie? I don’t know, but I’ll admit, this is the first thing that makes me even slightly interested in the movie. If the rumors were true and there was constant time travel and visits to the old films, I’d have rolled my eyes because that’s cheap nostalgia bait. But this actually sounds cool, even if it ends up being the only cool thing in the movie. Luke’s triumphant return in The Mandalorian completely worked on me, and if they can capture that feeling with Indiana Jones, they could make a legitimate crowd-pleasing moment.
It won’t be easy; part of what made the Luke scene so special was that no one expected it, whereas they’ve already announced this one. I understand why; the buzz around Indiana Jones 5 isn’t exactly stellar, and they have to get people to the theater somehow. After what Hollywood has done to Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, James Bond, the Terminator, and Captain Picard, simply having a legendary actor return as a beloved character doesn’t cut it anymore because we expect them to be ruined so their replacement can look good (or in Picard’s case, ruined for the sake of being ruined). But the promise of a Spielbergian action sequence with Indy being Indy may be too much to pass up, even if the rest of the movie will destroy him. (If you remember, the rest of that Mandalorian episode wasn’t all that great.)
The other factor is James Mangold himself. He’s been combative with fans over Indiana Jones 5, but as a filmmaker, I like him a lot. His Tom Cruise vehicle Knight and Day is a hugely underrated action movie, a fun adventure that understands the power of the movie star like almost nothing does anymore. Also fantastic is Ford v. Ferrari, an ode to the fading American (and British) male and his can-do spirit. I liked Logan less than seemingly everyone else did, but it’s still a good movie with great performances and some fun sequences. All three of these are well-filmed and exciting when they need to be, and if anyone can make Indy work outside of Steven Spielberg, it may be Mangold. Unfortunately, even a great director isn’t enough nowadays because there will undoubtedly be mandates and studio input, and in this case, it’s from the studio that killed Star Wars and doesn’t seem to have learned much from the wake.
Does the opening sequence of Indiana Jones 5 featuring a de-aged Harrison Ford excite you? What do you make of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character, if anything? Will Bob Chapek take the blame if this thing bombs? Let us know in the comments, and stick around Geeks + Gamers for more attempts at resurrecting the heroes of the past!