Steven Spielberg recently revealed that Indiana Jones will begin filming next April in the United Kingdom. However, it appears he might be making some big changes to the franchise that will be going on its fifth film.
Indiana Jones debuted to fan fare in Raiders of the Lost in 1981. The character, played by Harrison Ford was a daring rogue who broke rules and encapsulated American ruggedness as he sought out the Ark of the Covenant that houses the Ten Commandments. In his search to find the Ark of the Covenant, he would run into Hitler’s Nazi regime, who also sought the artifact in an attempt to wield it against their enemies.
Harrison Ford would go on to star in two more Indiana Jones films in the 1980s and then a soft reboot of the franchise in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008.
Ford is expected to return for the fifth as yet untitled film. Spielberg confirmed to The Sun, “This will be Harrison Ford’s last Indiana Jones movie, I am pretty sure, but it will certainly continue after that.”
Despite Ford returning Spielberg also told The Sun Indiana Jones should take “a different form” as a female character instead of the iconic rugged American archaeologist and explorer. Spielberg added, “We’d have to change the name from Jones to Joan. And there would be nothing wrong with that.”
It’s unclear whether Ford will actually be reprising his role as Indiana Jones when they start filming in April. The Sun reports, “That is when the director will decide on whether to go ahead with “Joan” — and once again lead the way in putting words about Hollywood equality into action.”
According to the report, Spielberg does understand that “putting a woman in the lead role of an Indiana Jones movie would upset fans.”
Not only would it upset fans, but it’s not a very good financial investment. The recent Ghostbusters remake which featured an all-female team tanked at the box office and might have destroyed the franchise moving forward. Box office analyst Jeff Bock explained, “Ghostbusters is on ice until further notice.” The film made a total of $229 million worldwide according to Box Office Mojo. However, IGN reports that the film needed to hit $300 million to break even. If that number is correct it means Sony lost $70 million on the film. That’s a huge failure. One of Ghostbuster’s biggest problem is they attempted to co-opt the franchise with political pandering in their marketing. Given Spielberg’s statements to The Sun it appears he’s already making the same mistakes as Ghostbusters’ director Paul Feig.
In contrast, Warner Bros. most recent Tomb Raider film has performed well at the box office. While it’s domestic take hasn’t been the best with only $51 million, it’s raked in nearly $200 million overseas. Currently it’s brought in $247 million, but on just a production budget of $94 million. That means it’s over doubled its production costs. Tomb Raider features an original female character in Lara Croft, who like Indiana Jones hunts for treasure and deals with villainous groups.
Tomb Raider isn’t the only movie to feature an adventurous female lead who goes chasing after treasure. Constantin Film is working on creating a Danger Girl movie based off of J. Scott Campbell and Andy Hartnell’s comic book series which blends Indiana Jones, James Bond, and Charlie’s Angels.
We don’t need Indiana Jones turned into Indiana Joan. There are plenty of other excellent female characters who have their own quirks and personality that take on adventures around the world.