'Indiana Jones 5': Making Sense of the Adventuring Archaeologist's Return

Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull - H 2012
<p>Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull - H 2012</p>
Is this the end, or the start of something new?

So now it's official: Disney will release a fifth Indiana Jones movie in July 2019, with Harrison Ford returning to the role for the first time since 2008's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But the announcement of the long-rumored project brings with it many questions, especially in light of last year's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Here are the biggest.

When Will the Movie Take Place?

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull took place in 1957, 19 years after previous installment Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade — which just so happened to be the exact length of time between the release of the two movies. Does this mean that the untitled fifth movie will take place 11 years after Crystal Skull, in 1968? That does allow for a movie that ties in with the dawning of the Age of Aquarius and aftermath of the summer of love, which can surely have some mystical archeological artifact attached to it. Indiana Jones and the Twilight of the Flower Children, anyone …?

Will Indy Make It Out Alive?

The most obvious question about the new movie, especially in light of the fate of Ford's Star Wars character in The Force Awakens, is whether or not the fifth movie in the series will be the actor's final outing as the eponymous hero. Again, Ford will be 77 when the movie is released, which is indisputably getting a little long in the tooth for an action star. Could Indy 5 work as a swan song for Ford's version of the character, while opening up space for another actor to take over the role via flashback scenes setting up prequel projects, or will Ford stay in the role into his 80s?

Who Else Will Be Back?

A clear intention of 2008's Crystal Skull was that Mutt, Indiana's previously unknown son played by Shia LaBeouf, was in the process of inheriting the family business of adventuring, even if the movie stopped short of making it official — the final scene where Indy takes the trademark hat away from Mutt, acting as a capper suggesting that Indy wasn't quite done just yet. But that was almost a decade ago, and to be blunt, Ford isn't getting any younger — and after an ankle injury forced him to be sidelined from The Force Awakens shooting for eight weeks, it might be safer to find someone else to do the stunts this time around. 

Along similar lines, it's too early to wonder about casting for the new movie, but nonetheless — will Karen Allen return for the new feature, given that her character Marion married Indy at the end of Crystal Skull? Marion was a highlight of the two installments she's appeared in, after all.

And About George Lucas ...

Entirely absent from the announcement was Indiana's co-creator George Lucas, who has co-written each of the four Indiana Jones features to date, in addition to creating and overseeing the 1992 TV spinoff Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. While Frank Marshall and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy were announced as producers for the project, Lucas' name was noticeable by its absence. No writers have been named for the project, so it's not impossible that he'll contribute, but at this stage, it's looking unlikely.