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The news from last week that the Walt Disney Company and Paramount Pictures had finalized a deal regarding the rights to the Indiana Jones franchise screamed one thing to fans loud and clear: there is going to be an Indiana Jones 5. Presumably the studio wouldn't have wasted its time figuring out all of the legal issues with the series just to have it sit on a shelf, so the big question about the future of the great adventurer has been changed from "If?" to "When?" Now, thanks to Disney Chairman Alan Horn, we have a vague answer to that query.
Earlier today the executive spoke at Variety‘s Dealmakers Breakfast at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, and while addressing the crowd he confirmed that it will be at least two to three years before we see another Indiana Jones movie. Horn confirmed that Disney has not yet made any forward motion in developing an Indy 5, and that the key thing they are waiting for is just an idea. “We don’t have a story," Horn said. "We need a story."
Disney has technically owned a piece of the Indiana Jones franchise ever since they purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion last year, but only completed negotiations for the full future rights last week. Thanks to the deal Disney now has marketing and distribution rights for any new sequels that get made, while Paramount will both get a piece of those movies and retain the rights to the four previous titles. Before this deal was made Disney had no plans on doing anything with the Indiana Jones character, hence the lack of development for a new feature. "It didn’t make sense to produce the movie at Disney and then have it be distributed and marketed by Paramount," Horn said.
When you think about it, in the world of Hollywood "two to three years from now" is actually not that far into the future. We already have a pretty full picture of all of the huge blockbusters that are set to come out in 2015, and even the 2016 release calendar is peppered with titles including Duncan Jones' Warcraft, Bryan Singer's X-Men: Apocalypse, Universal's The Mummy reboot, James Bobin's Alice in Wonderland 2, Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and Pixar's Finding Dory. Indiana Jones 5 could be right on our doorstep very soon.
Of course, there are still many, many moves that have to be made before another sequel can really get moving. Is there any chance that Steven Spielberg would come back to direct after the sour response to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? Would George Lucas be kept out of the loop now that he is retired, or would he be a part of the story-building process? Who would take on the screenwriting gig? All of those questions will be answered in the next few years.