George Lucas’ Original Indiana Jones 5 Plan Would’ve Killed The Movie – NBCNEWS

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George Lucas’ original idea for Indiana Jones 5 would never have reached theaters. On the heels of 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Lucas told an interviewer that the next installment would shift the spotlight to Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams character. Harrison Ford’s iconic hero would recede to a supporting role analogous to Sean Connery’s part in 1989’s Indiana Jomes and the Last Crusade. The movie audiences will see in 2023 reportedly takes a different approach, and Lucas is not involved with the project.

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George Lucas was already on fire when Raiders of the Lost Ark hit theaters in 1981. Coming off the one-two punch of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Lucas’ first collaboration with Steven Spielberg surprised moviegoers with yet another perfectly-paced thrill ride. Lucas and Spielberg made two popular sequels, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The fourth film in the franchise, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, arrived a generation later and was met by widespread criticism.


Related: How Indiana Jones 5 Can Avoid Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull’s Mistakes

Passing the torch to LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams in Indiana Jones 5, as George Lucas had envisioned, would have saddled the project with insurmountable challenges. Neither Shia LaBeouf — who was about to step into the public spotlight for a myriad of controversies — nor his character had the capacity to carry the Indiana Jones franchise into the future. And, while Ford as Indy still seems appealing enough to draw fans back for a fifth film, nostalgia for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’s other elements is in very short supply.

Shia LaBeouf Can’t Replace Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones

Harrison Ford and Shia LeBeouf in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

To pull off a trick like taking over as the hero for a new generation, Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams needed to equal and even upstage Indiana Jones in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But even though that movie took every opportunity to frame him as the heir apparent, Mutt was a predictable 1950s Marlon Brando wannabe rather than a charismatic, engaging protagonist. And while Shia LaBeouf headlined the blockbuster Transformers franchise through three financially successful installments, his performance as Sam Witwicky only supported the giant robotic main characters and was rarely what made those movies enjoyable. The actor now has some off-screen baggage of his own, following a decade of domestic abuse accusations, multiple arrests, plagiarism, and public disagreements with Spielberg and Ford over the fourth Indiana Jones film’s many shortcomings.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull premiered amid great anticipation 27 years after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, yet many found the fourth movie lacking where it counts. Indy’s reunion with his original romantic interest, Karen Allen’s Marion Ravenwood, was generally well-received. Countless fans and critics, however, savaged the film’s now-infamous opening “nuke the fridge” sequence, its formulaic story, one-dimensional supporting characters, extraterrestrial McGuffin, and excessive CGI. The filmmakers recognized the need for some new elements to keep the series interesting, but what they delivered ultimately divided fans and could scarcely support additional sequels of its own.

It’s hard to imagine Shia LaBeouf stepping into Harrison Ford’s enormous shoes as the standard bearer for an ongoing Indiana Jones franchise. The upcoming 2023 movie has a new director and new writers, with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas each absent for the first time. Maybe Indiana Jones 5‘s new team, with James Mangold directing a script from Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth, will find the right mix of familiar and new ideas to reinvigorate the series and make this chapter a foundation for more great adventures to come. Otherwise, perhaps they can craft the kind of swan song that Indiana Jones deserves.

Next: Indiana Jones 5 Needs To Clear Up One Huge Crystal Skull Plot Hole

  • Indiana Jones 5 (2023)Release date: Jun 30, 2023

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