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Indiana Jones 5 Isn't Out For Nearly A Year. Why John Williams Was Able To Debut Its New Theme So Early

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

We’ve been waiting a long time for the arrival of Indiana Jones 5, and as things currently stand, Harrison Ford’s reprisal of the fedora-wearing, whip-wielding adventuring archaeologist is a little under 10 months away from hitting theaters. However, during a recent concert at the Hollywood Bowl, John Williams debuted a new theme for the upcoming 2023 movie, and according to the composer, he had permission from James Mangold, Indiana Jones 5’s director, to unveil this new piece of music.

As with the first four Indiana Jones movies, John Williams was brought back to put his musical expertise to good use for Indiana Jones 5, which may end up being the last movie he scores. Along with performing some of his greatest hits at the latest of his Maestro of the Movies concert at the Hollywood Bowl, Williams also debuted the theme music of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character in Indiana Jones 5, whom he revealed is named Helena and described as “an adventuress,” “femme fatale” As for why Williams was able to share Helena’s theme (which he called “a kind of lyrical music, like an old movie star”), the composer said this (via YouTuber Charles Ozeas):

Last week as we were recording music, Jim said, 'Why don't you play it at the Bowl next week?’ I said, 'Jim! The picture's not coming out until next year!' ‘That doesn’t matter, play it at the Bowl anyway!’

Despite his decades in the business and having been cemented as one of the film industry’s most important figures many times over, I imagine John Williams would have caught a lot of flak for deciding to debut this music on his own accord. Fortunately, James Mangold, who took over Indiana Jones 5 directing duties from Steven Spielberg, made this call, though presumably he received permission from the folks at Lucasfilm and Disney beforehand. Since the full Indiana Jones 5 score likely won’t be released until shortly before the movie itself, Indiana Jones fans should consider themselves they were able to hear Helen’s theme music so far ahead of time, whether it was live at the Hollywood Bowl or from the below video.

While it’s also nice to know a little bit about Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s character in Indiana Jones 5, the fact of the matter is that much of this movie is still shrouded in secrecy. In fact, outside of her and Harrison Ford obviously jumping back into action as Dr. Henry Jones Jr., none of the other members of the Indiana Jones 5 cast have had their characters officially identified yet. By the way, that lineup includes Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Kretschmann, Boyd Holbrook, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Toby Jones, Antonio Banderas and Olivier Richters. That being said, it’s rumored that Indiana Jones 5 sees Mikkelsen playing a Nazi scientist who’s been recruited to aid the United States in its moon landing initiative.

Along with directing Indiana Jones 5, James Mangold wrote the script with Jez and John-Henry Butterworth. We got our first look at Harrison Ford in the movie back in May, and CinemaBlend will continue providing updates about what this blockbuster has in store we we move closer to its June 30, 2023 release.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.