Since Raiders of the Lost Ark was first shown in movie theaters in 1981, the name “Indiana Jones” has become a household favorite. It was followed up with two sequels in 1984 and 1989, then revived in 2008 with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Now, in 2021, the fifth film is in production.
Spielberg is back!
Director Steven Spielberg on the set of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”. (Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Indiana Jones started out as the brainchild of two giants of Hollywood: George Lucas and Steven Spielberg. These two collaborated for the first three movies. When it came to the fourth, Steven Spielberg stepped back — wisely, it might seem to some, since Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a decided flop for many fans. But despite its mixed reviews, the movie still took almost $800 million globally.
But Spielberg has returned for this fifth outing. He will not be directing, however, but producing along with Hollywood stalwarts Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. While the movie is still being produced by Lucasfilm, it will not have any input from George Lucas, who sold the company to Disney in 2012.
Rumors in the long run-up
Plans for the fifth Indiana Jones film have been in the pipeline for 13 years. At one point, there rumors that Harrison Ford would be replaced in the lead role by a younger actor since Ford is now 78 years old. But Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, denied in 2020 that this would be happening.
Kathleen Kennedy with her Fellowship Bafta Award. (Photo Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
She also confirmed that Indiana Jones 5 (as the project is currently titled) will be the fifth and final movie in the franchise.
When she accepted her BAFTA Fellowship award back in March 2020, Kennedy spoke to BBC News about her delight in receiving the award, which, in the past, has been given to Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, and Dame Helen Mirren. However, she also took the opportunity to comment on the status of the Indiana Jones movie: “We’re working away, getting the script where we want it to be.”
This information was echoed by Harrison Ford when speaking to HeyUGuys during press junkets for his film Call of the Wild: “We’re not going to make another Indiana Jones unless we are in a position to kill it. We want it to be the best… we are determined to get it right before we get it made.”
Harrison Ford looking cool at Cannes in 2014. (Photo Credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)
Screenwriter David Koepp is back on the books writing the plot. While he is responsible for such hits as Jurassic Park and Spider-Man, he was also the screenwriter for Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. However, James Mangold has joined the project as writer and director, and Frank Marshall was full of praise for him when speaking in early 2020.
Sneak peeks of the new Indiana Jones movie
Little is known about the production. IMDB states that the project is in pre-production and that it stars Harrison Ford, Mads Mikkelsen, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Many online sources speculate that because the fourth film was set in 1957 and 11 years have passed in real life, the fifth movie will be set in the 1960s, but nothing has been confirmed. However, Spielberg has assured fans that the iconic hero will still be alive at the end of the movie.
The most recent update on the project is that filming has begun in England. As expected, Harrison Ford has been seen around the famous Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, but glimpses of film props have been seen at a more unusual location — at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland.
A prop tank is transported to Bamburgh Castle for the filming of what is believed to be Indiana Jones 5. (Photo Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
The castle is closed to visitors until June 14 so that filming can take place. Passersby have noticed that some of the walls have had barbed wire fitted to them while a crane has been used to lift equipment into position and specialist lighting has been put in place.
On June 4, 2021, The Chronicle Live had pictures from photographer Tim McGuinness showing parts of the movie being filmed at Bamburgh Castle. On June 7, 2021, The York Press had pictures from photographer Simon Thurlow showing parts of the movie being filmed near the market town of Pickering in North Yorkshire.
Props spotted include tanks, a guard tower, Nazi uniforms, and a steam train dressed in the colors of a German railway from the 1940s.
A replica SS motorbike is driven into the grounds of Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, which is being used as a filming location for what is believed to be the new Indiana Jones 5 movie. (Photo Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
This is, in fact, the second Hollywood movie to have sections filmed on the North York Moors Railway. In April 2021, Tom Cruise was in the area shooting scenes for the latest Mission: Impossible movie.
The north of England seems to be a surprisingly popular location for movies this year since pictures have emerged of actors and crew on set at Alnwick Castle filming the next Dungeons and Dragons movie. The cast includes Chris Pine (Star Trek), Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and the Furious), and Hugh Grant.
Anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark
It seems apt that details of the fifth Indiana Jones film are starting to emerge now since Raiders of the Lost Ark premiered in the U.S. 40 years ago this month.
Photo Credit: Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
The Indiana Jones franchise has provided Hollywood with some memorable scenes over the decades. The opening sequence to Raiders of the Lost Ark, where Indy attempts to swap the ancient relic for a bag of sand to avoid several traps, has spawned an uncountable number of pastiches. Most recently, with the pandemic leading to shortages in the supermarkets, someone photoshopped a still from the movie showing Indy replacing the golden idol with a toilet roll.
Another famous scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark came about entirely by chance. While in Cairo, Indy finds himself confronted by a swordsman who takes a few moments to posture and show off his incredible skills, after which Indy pulls out a revolver and shoots him in a moment of anticlimactic comedy.
The original idea was that Indy would impressively whip the swordsman’s weapon from his hand. However, Harrison Ford (along with many other crew members) had food poisoning and felt too ill to take part in this complex stunt. After a few failed attempts, he asked director Spielberg if he could simply shoot the swordsman and have done with it. Spielberg recognized the genius of this idea and agreed.
In 1999, Raiders of the Lost Ark was added to the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress. Films are included in the Registry if they are deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” This film was also the only Indiana Jones film to be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.
On a more personal level, John Rhys-Davies, who played Sallah in the film, said that he has been approached by over 150 lecturers, professors, and archaeologists who told him that Raiders of the Lost Ark was what inspired them to go into archaeology in the first place.
At the moment, the film is scheduled to be released on July 29, 2022. While sequels rarely manage to capture the excitement and unique fun of the originals, Indiana Jones 5 has a solid history to build on, and with old names back in charge, it can be hoped that this final installment will be a fitting ending to the Indiana Jones saga.