It’s official. After years of wrangling over the script, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Harrison Ford have all agreed on the next adventure of Indian Jones. The fourth movie about the Man with the Whip will go before the cameras in 2007 with a release date in May of 2008. And not a moment too soon.
The script and the plot details within are a secret more closely guarded than the contingency plans to bomb Iran. But there are certain things that can be guessed at, based on hints from the principles and known facts.
Indy’s last adventure came out in 1989 and took place in 1938. Now, assuming that Indy was born about 1900, making him 38 during Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, we could add the nineteen years between 1989 and 2008 to make Indy about fifty seven. That’s getting up there, but Indy has led an active life, does not smoke so far as we know, and therefore should be healthy. Harrison Ford is in his mid 60s, but seems ready enough for one more go against evil doers in pursuit of some ancient, mystical artifact.
Nineteen years would also place the action of Indian Jones 4 somewhere in the mid 1950s. This is consistent with what Spielberg has hinted. Anyone seeking a World War II adventure will likely be disappointed. Spielberg has said that he is done with cartoon Nazi villains. After Schindler’s List, who can blame him?
So who does that leave for villains? Various forms of commies, both Soviet and Red Chinese, were doing their best to match Herr Hitler’s record of mayhem and death. But Hollywood traditionally eschews Bolshevik heavies for reasons that are obscure. Indeed, it is just as likely that Professor Jones might run afoul of the House Unamerican Activities Committee for some imagined bit of treason, like refusing to name Brody as a card carrying commie for attending some meeting or another back in the 1930s. Hollywood has been angry about that ever since the Hollywood Ten and the blacklist era.
The Internet Movie Database page on Indian Jones 4 provides some clues in the cast list. Rumored to be in the cast, along with Harrison Ford, are Sean Connery as Henry Jones, Karen Allen as Marion Ravenwood, John Rhys Davies as Sallah, and-most curiously-Natalie Portman as-who?
Sallah’s presence suggests a Middle Eastern adventure. There were lots of bad guy Muslims stalking about in the 1950s. After dealing in some inappropriate moral ambiguity in the film Munich, Spielberg could do himself a good turn by using some cartoon Islamofascists. Indeed, a young fellow named Saddam Hussein was already involved in Ba’athist politics in Iraq (the Ba’athists, by the way, could be considered to be Arab Nazism for all intends and purposes.) In any event, the Middle East is filled with mystical artifacts and has bad guys to burn.
So, back to the cast list. We know from previous films that Indy and Marion had a romantic relationship sometime in the 1920s, which was renewed during Raiders of the Lost Ark. Natalie Portman would be at just the right age to be the bouncing baby result of whatever happened off screen during Raiders.
So we maybe have three generations of Jones folks going after something, maybe in the Middle East, maybe being menaced by bad guys in burnooses. And, presuming that Miss Jones (as we will call Ms. Portman’s possible character) survives the adventure, there is the potential for a whole new franchise. Besides, Portman would look pretty cute with the hat and the whip.
Then again maybe Miss Jones will wind up marrying some English guy named Croft and have a daughter who will grow up to look remarkably like Angelina Jolie. It would explain quite a bit.