While the production of the new Indiana Jones film keeps getting pushed back, it does seem clear that, eventually, we'll get one. Little is known about what could be in store when Indiana Jones 5 comes along, but, as part of the 30th anniversary of her movie Scrooged, I recently had the opportunity to speak with Karen Allen, who reprised her Raiders of the Lost Ark role in the last Indy movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. She told me that, while she certainly hopes to get that phone call, it hasn't come yet, though she seems to know that the reason the film is being delayed is that the powers that be just haven't found the right script yet. According to Allen...
I'm patiently waiting, no they haven't [called]. I'm very much hoping that I will be a part of it and I think, from my understanding, they are creatively working away on a script that they will be happy enough with. They don't want to rush into it If they're going to do this they want it to be wonderful.
One can't help but believe that the focus on making the new movie wonderful is due to the fact that the last movie was largely viewed as a disappointment. With this next film almost certainly being the last one, at least for Harrison Ford, Lucasfilm would certainly want to be sure the franchise goes out on a high note. If there are any expectations that the franchise might continue after Ford's tenure, a successful final installment would be almost a necessity.
The tale of the fifth Indiana Jones movie is one that's been going on for years. The fact that the film would be made was confirmed in fairly short order along with the new Star Wars trilogy after Disney bought Lucasfilm, but for several years all we got were confirmations that it would happen, without any details to indicate anybody was actually working on it.
Then, over time, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford both became officially attached to the film, following rumors Chris Pratt might take the role as part of a franchise reboot. Once the necessary players were confirmed, and the film was given an official release date, it seemed like the movie was really going to happen.
Of course, it was originally supposed to happen in July of 2019, just a few months from now.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull screenwriter David Koepp was brought on to pen the new film, though the last we heard, Solo: A Star Wars Story screenwriter Jonathan Kasdan had taken over script-writing duties. The news of the last delay, which pushed the movie back from a summer 2020 release to July of 2021, came shortly after this reported writing change, which would seem to confirm that the story is the issue holding things up.
What we didn't know was whether the change in screenwriters meant a complete change in the story and a start from scratch or just a new set of eyes on the existing idea. However, based on what Karen Allen told me, it sounds like whatever work had been done on the story may have been scrapped in favor of something entirely new. She does seem to believe that the story has completely changed. Allen told me...
They have embarked on a whole new trajectory, I think. It's a mystery to me what that is and it's a mystery to me whether I will be part of it, but I'm hoping. I would love to be part of it. I probably won't know for a year or something like that.
If it's true that the script for Indiana Jones 5 started over from scratch, then it helps explain why Karen Allen would have no idea what Marion Ravenwood's place in the story is, or isn't. Even if there had been a plan to bring the character back in the previous script, an entirely new idea will mean entirely new characters and the new story might not have a place for Marion.
Of course, the opposite is also true. Perhaps the new script will be the one that decides that Marian has a place in the new film and we will see Karen Allen alongside Harrison Ford one more time. It will probably be some time before we know anything for sure. Even if the next Indiana Jones movie doesn't receive any more delays, it will likely be a year or more before the film is ready to go into production, and Allen doesn't expect to know much until then.
For what it's worth, Harrison Ford himself recently said that "everybody" is very excited about the script that is currently in production, so it seems that whatever the new plan is, it appears to be working.
The biggest determining factor as to whether or not Marion makes an appearance in the new film may be dependant on exactly what the film decides to do about "Mutt." We learned in Crystal Skull that Indy and Marion had a son, played by Shia Lebeouf in the film. While the intention at the time seems to have been to attempt at "passing of the torch," the film's lukewarm response appears to have killed such an idea, and Lebeouf doesn't sound like he's interested in returning to the franchise, or really, any franchise.
Bringing back Marion would likely require that the film deals with Mutt in some way, if only to explain why she's part of this adventure and he isn't, and it's possible that everybody involved might want to just forget that whole experiment ever happened. By leaving her out, the new script can just focus on something else entirely.
I certainly hope the new film finds a place for Karen Allen. Whatever faults Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull might have had, she certainly wasn't one of them. Marion Ravenwood is a great character, and Karen Allen is a very nice person to interview. Hopefully, we'll see them both again.
I'll have more with my talk with Karen Allen, and the 30th anniversary of Scrooged, now available on Blu-ray and Digital HD, later this week.