TROUBLE CITY

Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones. That's the Point. And the Problem

Articles, Pop CultureBrandon MarcusComment
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Harrison Ford was asked earlier this morning what will happen to Indiana Jones when he decides to stop playing the part. His response was classic Ford and quite funny. Watch:

That’s a great answer, although I think he meant Chris Pratt when he said “Chris Pine”. Regardless, it was nice to see such a frank response to a question that gets thrown around all the time lately. Ford is getting up there in age and many want Indiana Jones to last forever. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility to imagine some other actor taking up the part when Ford retires. Like James Bond and Batman, Indiana Jones could hypothetically live on for eternity.

But Ford was exactly right: he IS Indiana Jones. The character is different from Bond or Bats or the countless other big screen personas who can be repeatedly re-cast. Perhaps no other character is as tied to its performer as Dr. Jones is to Mr. Ford. This is both a beautiful aspect of the character and also concern because movie studios are known to re-cast until the end of time. Yes, we would love (good) Indiana Jones movies regularly but, no, we don’t want another actor to take on the part. I think the most die-hard fanatics agree with Ford; he owns the role.

There is going to be a moment when Ford, Spielberg and Lucas have to call it a day with America’s favorite Nazi-hunter/professor. Harrison Ford is 76 years old, his days of doing practical stunts are coming to an end. Granted, he’s in better shape than most 26-year-olds but no one wants to see him decking bad guys in the face at the ripe age of 80-something. Imagine the sound of his knuckles cracking!

Unlike many other heroes, the idea of Indiana Jones is mortal and that’s a huge change of pace for fans, especially at a time when Marvel, DC, Disney and so many others have no problems dropping new actors into old roles. I think many have balanced their desire for more Jones movies with the fact that eventually they’ll have to end because Ford just physically can’t do it anymore. If Ford wants the role to be solely his — as he should! — then he and those in charge need to be prepared to let the character ride off into the sunset soon. Forever.

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It’s rare in this day and age to see a successful movie series end when it’s still making so much money but that’s the road we’re headed down with Indiana Jones. Audiences will keep seeing these movies, they’ll keep making buckets of cash, but they really can’t go on forever. The franchise will likely end while there’s a nagging feeling that more adventures could be ahead. Everyone needs to understand that, from Steven Spielberg to studio heads to fans. It seems like Ford gets it and good for him. Now let’s start planning accordingly before Indiana Jones is searching for relics from a nursing home.

Another Indiana Jones will be made with Harrison Ford but it should probably be his last adventure. Ford is damn right, he is now and will always be the one and only Indiana Jones. Own it, Mr. Ford! And with that honor comes the responsibility to hang up the hat when the times comes — and to ensure no one else picks it up. Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones and that means that eventually, maybe even soon, Indiana Jones is going to have to retire.