Producer Frank Marshall Offers Update on INDIANA JONES 5; Says There’s Still No MacGuffin

     July 25, 2012

Frank Marshall is a hell of a producer.  His resume reads like a best-of list: The Goonies, Back to the Future, The Sixth Sense, the Bourne series, etc.  One of the most beloved franchises that he’s been a part of, however, is Indiana Jones.  Though the long-awaited fourth entry, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, was greeted with a rather lackluster response, fans remain curious about the prospect of Indiana Jones 5.

Steve recently got to speak with Marshall in anticipation of the release of The Bourne Legacy, and Marshall gave a somewhat pessimistic (depending on how you look at it) update on the status of a fifth Indiana Jones film.  Hit the jump to see what he had to say.

frank-marshall-indiana-jones-5Though talk of Indiana Jones 5 has continued in the years since Crystal Skull, there’s really been no actual forward movement on the pic.  Steve asked Marshall if he thought that it was realistic to expect a fifth film or if Crystal Skull was the “last hurrah,” to which Marshall replied:

“I say, for me, [Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is] the last hurrah.  I know that yes, we talk about it, but there’s no idea, there’s no MacGuffin.”

The last real update on Indy 5 came last December from George Lucas, who revealed that he had “told Steven Spielberg about the story” but he hadn’t found a MacGuffin yet.  We previously heard that Lucas and Spielberg had come up with a “germ of an idea” for the film, but nothing further than that.

indiana-jones-5-harrison-ford-steven-spielberg-george-lucasLucas took his time in developing the story for Crystal Skull, but Indiana Jones 5 may be a different situation.  This past May Lucas announced that he was leaving his studio, Lucasfilm, in order to make “experimental movies” in his garage.  Steve brought up Lucas’ comments to Marshall, adding that it doesn’t appear that Lucas is that hungry to do another Indiana Jones film:

“Yeah, no he isn’t [hungry to do another Indiana Jones].  And he’s obviously passing the baton to my wife, so.”

Marshall’s wife is, of course, producer Kathleen Kennedy, who was recently named co-chair and successor to Lucas at Lucasfilm.  So Marshall’s comments seem to imply that Indy 5 is quite unlikely to happen.  If none of the creatives involved are really passionate about returning, I think it’s fine for Spielberg, Lucas, and Harrison Ford to hang up the hat after three great films and one not-terrible one.  That said, I expect we’ll still be hearing rumors and “possible developments” on the possibility of Indiana Jones 5 for years to come.


  • Northern Star

    Give it a rest, ‘Raiders…’ was the only real truly great Indy film, and the only real truly great idea, I would let it be as it is…

    • spidey2099

      Exactly, “give it a rest” as you say. We all know that even if it happened, this Indy would, in all likelihood, be on par with the last if not worse, and the last was not that good at all. Sad, but true. Goodbye and goodnight Indy.

    • Matty

      Very true. I was laughing at everyone who was so upset with the 4th one (the other sequels are equally ridiculous!) But even though they aren’t great movies, I still really enjoy watching them. I would happily pay money for a 5th movie.

    • NYJ

      Raiders is tops but Last Crusade IS a GREAT Indy film, and ToD is a very good one.

  • Short round.

    Personally I want another, partly because I love Indy, partly because the last one coulda been so much better to end it on. So i wanna see a film that redeems the character. Raiders IS the best one, and I think something with that tone and style could be great. If Rambo can end with a film as good or better than First Blood, then I’m sure Indy can too.

    As for macguffin, not sure neither, but I would love to see a trip to China.
    And a return of an adult short-round. Maybe bring something full circle with the Temple of Doom and the chinese triads after something. A jade dragon? A sword of some sort? I had an idea for Indy getting stuck in a stone room full of Ming vases, the room walls close in (like the trash compacter in Star Wars, as an homage.) And the ming vases exploding as they crush.

    Heres a list of things I’d hate to see…

    cgi action.
    gophers and monkeys.
    ridiculous shots.
    That horrible weird camera filter effect used in KOTCS, the film itself looked cgi and washed out/fake.

    No gore/horror scenes. Skull was very tame compared to all the others. Bring back melting faces.
    Fake bugs.critters.

    To me, making an Indiana Jones movie should be simple! Not sure why they screwe the pooch last time round. (I actually liked it up untill the last act) aside from the bouncing fridge.

    • Uncle Monty

      THIS ^^^

      Whats with all the haters on here? Its like an invasion of Trolls from AICN or RT. Indy 4 was not as great as it coulda been, but, its still a decent movie. Just a few flaws. To everyone else, I suggest you all go back to your twilight films.

      People talking about rebooting Indy, recasting Indy…. F**K yourselves in the face!

      • Matt

        KINGDOM OF MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT was NOT a decent movie with just a few flaws. It was a storytelling nightmare with inconsistent acting and bad writing.

        No, they shouldn’t reboot or recast Indy, it should just be a four (three) movie collection and the end.

        We all love Indy movies for Harrison, yes, but more for the character of the worn adventurer running around the world looking for old supernatural artifacts. Turn the video game UNCHARTED into a decent film and you get more of what we’re looking for in a movie.

        The last great “Indiana Jones” movie was called THE RUNDOWN and it starred the Rock.

  • tarek

    Once Luca$ will retire and remove his hands from the Indiana Jones franchise, then, we will discuss this matter. Otherwise, he will certainly use a “Mc Goofy” of his own, and make an Indiana Jones and the revenge of the sith.

    Just move along. What we need instead is an Uncharted movie. Better than this cash grab sequel.

  • Dave

    I dunno. I think a final Indiana Jones film with Lucas gone and Spielberg as the creative driver of the film? I’d line up for that. He knows how to tell a story. And from the comments he made (other than admitting that the gopher and the monkeys were stupid) it seems like he brought all of our objections up to George, but Mister ‘I made good movies once, before 1978′ shot them all down.

    So I’d be up for part V.

  • Mr_Skyfish

    Indiana Jones: The Lost City of Atlantis

    • Jordan N.

      They already did that in a video game. It was actually pretty good.

  • Marlboroliteman

    Harry Ford is just too old to make a nonstop action Indiana Jones picture. Even if they did come up with a good/great screenplay by the time they get around to actually making it, well hell Harry would be in his late 70′s.
    I T ‘ S O V E R ! ! ! ! !

    Unless….motion capture Indiana Jones…anyone? Harry Ford would probably be up for that.

    • Mr. Miller

      well just when you thought it was over look at imdb. com and whalaaa indy 5 just announced lmao deal with it :D

  • Marlboroliteman

    Indianna Jones: The Journey to the Sunset Nursing Home

  • Marlboroliteman

    Indiana Jones and the Magical Treasures of Depends

  • John “Ratty” Arbuckle

    I’m not sure why, but George Lucas was able to smack down Spielberg every time he had an objection to something stupid in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. If Lucas is really gone, let Spielberg try his hand at Indy 5, but not the two of them together. Lucas is definiately the “Top” in that relationship (not sure why).

    • Geroge


  • Tim

    Star Wars and Indy are prized possessions. It is only a matter of time until they reboot the franchises with up and coming directors and actors.

    • Northern Star

      As long as it’s only the prequel back-story they remake, whilst leaving the original Trilogy alone, that’ll do me just fine… Joss Whedon for the prequels reboot!

      • Beast

        Josh Whedon? The biggest hack in the Entertainment Industry?

        Outside of Avengers, the man hasn’t done anything worth writing home about.

        Hell, the original Buffy movie was eons better than the awful TV show.

      • Nag

        @ Beast : Whedon wrote the first Buffy movie too. He invented that character.

  • Marlboroliteman

    Indiana Jones and the McDonalds MacGuffin Senior Citizen Discount

  • Marlboroliteman

    “Indiana Jones and the Oppps I Farted Cause I’m Old and Can’t Control My Sphincter Muscle But Im Just Gonna Keep Talking Like Nothing Happened and The Fountain of Youth”

  • BionicBookWorm

    The better movies seemed to use biblical themes (the Arc, the Cup), so what about something like the Staff of Moses or the Spear of Longines. I like the spear, as you can work in the immortal Roman legend and possibly even throw in shadow organizations, the vatican, and maybe even some darker foes (people possessed by the fallen). I know it will likely never happen, but it’s still fun to think about where it might go.


    Who cares. I try to pretend there are still only 3 Indiana Jones films anyway.

  • will

    Indiana Jones and the Arduous Walk to the Bathroom.

  • calvincrack

    i kinda thought everyone knew deep down that Last Crusade is the funniest, best paced and most well rounded Indiana Jones film.

  • Anthony Weddle

    I think they should make just one more mainly just to end Indy on the right note…..much like Stallone did for Rocky 6 & Rambo 4. Both those movies turned out much better than most fans were expecting & ended up redeeming both franchises & ending them properly……not that Rambo 3 was all that bad, but rocky 5? lol yeah….BAD! Crystal Skull wasnt horribly bad like Rocky 5 but it just wasnt to the same level “screenplay wise” as the original trilogy. However I still liked the film very much…..I just didnt LOVE it like I did the first 3. INDY deserves a proper swan song…..& yes I agree with Daves’ comments up above as far as Spielberg taking the reigns….I have alot more faith in Mr. spielberg than George! lol Love Mr. Lucas too, but let’s face it, Steven has a much better track record!!!

  • Dr Beckett

    How about recasting Indy? There are 18 years worth of story between Last Crusade and Crystal Skull, so it does not necessarily have to be a reboot but rather a continuation of the series. Prequels have already been done, remember Young Indiana Jones? I am probably in the minority here but I still love that show and would hate to see it wiped away from canon by doing a reboot prequel.

    • ccraw13

      Agreed. Jon Hamm as Indy. Dude is perfect.

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  • Singularity

    I applaud George Lucas for identifying the “MacGuffin” as a cinematic mechanic, but honestly, every time I hear them talking about the impetus for the film being a story mechanic, it sounds like there is no good story to tell – just an excuse to have Indiana Jones back on screen.

    That is absolutely the wrong reason to make a sequel. It just degrades the character.

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  • Dannyboy3030

    When Shia Lebeouf is swinging with the monkeys in Crystal Skull I almost walked out’ve the theater. So many things wrong with that flick.

    • The Dude

      Almost started crying while laughing at this. Did you actually walk out when the Crystal Skulls were aliens? That was the deal breaker for me.

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  • Sallah

    I think where Skull really went bad was that Lucas abandoned the religious subtext of the first three films in favor of 50\’s sci-fi. Raiders dealt with Jewish themes, Temple with Indian, Crusade with Christian. Its what elevated the series beyond just adventure. This is what was so tragically missing from Skull. I think if Spielberg were to take the reins, then that aspect of the stories would return and perhaps they could have a proper send off. They could be very bold and daring and write a story around something from Islam and the Koran. It would make it topical, and would touch upon the major world religion that they haven\’t yet in earlier stories. I would also love to see a return of a grown up Short Round, as well as the return of Sallah in a significant role. The thing I hated most of all about Skulls besides the sci-fi story was the character of Ray Bledstone.

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  • Ryan

    I’ve always thought they could keep Indy going as sort of an “American James Bond” and just have another actor in the title role. Not a reboot per se, just another series of stories. After 3-4 films, you can get a new Indy and that way the character can still live on and Harrison Ford won’t have to embarass himself trying to swing from a whip at 70+. I even think Spielberg could even stand to be replaced in the director’s chair (as much as I love him); give it to an up-and-comer like Duncan Jones or Rian Johnson and see what they can do with the source material. A smaller-scale film might be what the series needs.

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  • Stephen Graff

    I’m a big fan of Spielberg as director, but haven’t liked any of the sequels he’s made to any of his movies, though he has a great volume of great, original films dating back to SUGARLAND EXPRESS and DUEL. I loved the first INDIANA JONES, but haven’t liked any of those that followed and I’ve always felt that he was wasting time on a lesser film when he could be delving into his next great one.

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  • Elitist Prick

    The MacGuffin doesn’t concern me as much as whether or not there is 100% less aliens. There are so many reasons why the first three Indy films work better than Crystal Skull that it would take more time than even the Internet has to innumerate them. As pointed out, I think, one of the biggest is the dropping of the spiritual aspect of the stories/MacGuffins for the eponymous skulls. It’s not that I think religious plots are so great, but because those stories emphasize, strengthen, or create human interaction and relationships, precisely because they are silly and superstitious. Whether it be between Indy and Marion, Indy and the Indian village, or Indy and his father, everyone is a better PERSON at the end of the first three films. For example, the Father-Son bonding at the end of Last Crusade. Not so for the fourth film.

  • Rev. Slappy

    Why not recast the role? We\’re on our 6th James Bond…

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  • Chris

    Two words: Laser Cats.

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  • Sal

    Since 2007 I have been working on a Tomb Raider script. Inspired by my love for Indiana Jones, I feel in love with the character of Lara Croft. Especially after Angelina Jolie played her in the movies. Anyhow. I have finished this script and I want it to be read by GK Films who own TR rights right now but because it all started because of Indiana I am willing to make it an Indiana Jones movie if Mr. Marshall is interested.

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  • kemo517

    I Love Crystal Skull–Exactly what I had expected. Great to have the homage to Brando, a la The Wild One. The scenes at Yale were classic. Marion’s back. John hurt as Ox. Cate Blanchett was Awesome with those Ws. Big damn Ants! Great chase scenes. I don’t know what anyone else expected or is crying about. Indy after a nuclear blast, are you kiddin me? I love it! The Mayans and the “Grays” connection– I’ve been thinking about that for 30 years. The last scene when The Mayan city is flooded and spaceship exits with Indy in the foreground–Incredible! Any way it was really fun for me and that’s all that matters. And it made some decent coin too. Gonna watch it tonight! Again!

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  • Anon

    Lucas idea of a Mcguffin is probably talking monkeys…

  • Roy

    Personally, Harrison Ford could do Indy till he dies. I would gladly like to see Indy as he ages. Also if George is out of the picture I think the next Indy could be so much better left in the hands of just Spielberg, Marshall and Kennedy. George is the reason the last one was not that great (though I still like it). Supposedly Frank Darabont had a terrific script, that George rejected. But given complete control Spielberg could do wonders with the next one.

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  • Roy

    “Indiana Jones in Search of the Lost Talent of George Lucas”

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  • Frank

    Indiana Jones and The Fountain Of Youth

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  • Ade

    “We previously heard that Lucas and Spielberg had come up with a “germ of an idea” for the film, but nothing further than that.”

    A germ of an idea eh?

  • Greyman

    I honestly don’t understand the hate that Indy 4 gets. The original is my least-favorite, and while Indy 3 is definitely the best, I feel Indy 4 is a hair better than Indy 2. The nuked fridge escape doesn’t really strike me as any more outlandish than some of Indy’s other escapes, and served the punctuate the Cold War era Indy is living in now. As for the extraterrestrial angle, for four years I’ve heard the foaming-at-the-mouth ranting and my reaction is always “LOLWUT?” The alien is only on-screen for what, ONE MINUTE. And the rest of the film is typical Indy exploration and action, with judicious use of CGI and a zippy, classic feel. I’ll pop in Indy 4 again anyday.

  • john

    I would like Clint Eastwood play a role in Indiana Jones 5.

  • higgles

    Indy Jones 5: The hunt for Indy`s dignity.
    It`ll be a looong movie.

    ps. It`s the characters that matter, not the Macguffin. Don`t keep getting bigger and sillier, make it something seemingly small that has consequences. Think of the enigma machine, it`s just an encoding device but had huge influence on the direction of the war. It also doesn`t really have to be supernatural, i always wondered why they kept going that way and inevitably lead to aliens. hmmm

  • Indiana

    Yes, Reboot Indy with Tom Hanks!

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  • mattalica

    how about some of his escapades as a spy during ww2. he hasn’t only searched for ancient relics his entire life.

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  • Geroge

    I am the final authority for this argument. Anyone who disagrees isn’t human:
    Radiers is the best. Last crusade is second and temple of doom is third. Crystal skull doesn’t exist. End of conversation for eternity.
    Also, Indiana Jones and the legend of the holy walker.

  • Geroge

    I am the final authority for this argument. Anyone who disagrees isn\’t human:
    Radiers is the best. Last crusade is second and temple of doom is third. Crystal skull doesn\’t exist. End of conversation for eternity.
    Also, Indiana Jones and the legend of the holy walker.

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  • Sidnei Denone

    Eu queria tanto que desse a continuação do Indiana Jones 5 e tenho uns temas que pode ser referência para o filme: O Mundo Perdido da Atlântida, Rei Arthur e a Távola Redonda e o Triângulo das Bermudas, são temas que eu estou sempre pesquisando para aprimorar mais o meu conhecimento.

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  • Adam

    I like the idea of turning Indy into a bond-like franchise, with different actors for 2-3 movies. Never thought of that, but makes all the sense.

    Making indiana jones movies it’s like knowing the numbers of the lottery. It will always sell, as long as the cast and stories are strong. Look at James Bond with Daniel Craig. Who ever thought, hem? Brilliant.

    But, Lucas is going in the way of retiring. Somebody please lobby Disney to make more movies. Life would be so much better knowing that there would be an Indiana Jones movie every other year.

  • MicHaeL

    I know this is an older article by now, but here’s my two cents:

    I’ve currently just revisited all the 4 films and the way it stands for me now is that I think the first is great, the second isn’t nearly as good, but it was also not a sequel. Then the third was luckily a great sequel, it kept the essence of the first. And I also really don’t know why anyone would say “anything after Raiders” is bad”. I’m sorry, but those people just need to grow up and open up to other things except this one single movie they once fell in love with. Just realize there ARE great sequels. In any case, I love the third movie. The fourth, I don’t hate as much as people/fans generally do, but I’m also juggling that one and “Temple of Doom” back and forth in terms of how good they are. I feel they’re very similar in quality and essence.

    So to me, there are 2 very great movies, but 2 just OK ones. So that’s why I could love to see a 5th that could and SHOULD make up for at least the 4th. You can’t go out with a dud like that.
    Most people want to cliché it up and just “pretend it doesn’t exist” and “use the disc (in the complete collection) as a coaster” and lame things like that, but I still want a better come-back before it’s too late.
    Speaking of which, the fourth was made way too late, they should have returned in something like 1998 rather than 2008, which I don’t understand. Why wait until Ford is like 70… I know they were “done”, but… god, it’s so weird cause it’s clear they weren’t ready to let it go yet.

    As for a reboot and recast… I’m hoping that won’t happen within the next 20 years.
    I’m OK with franchises like that of James Bond, but that one’s a lot more accessible in a way, because movies and actor-changes came a lot faster. But as for Indy… I feel it’s not as interchangeable. Yes, people still claim Sean Connery is the only one (including Spielberg by the way, so he wouldn’t stand for a change of actor), and while I’m OK with how they do the Bond-movies, I must be like the Connery-Bond-fans and say that you just don’t replace Ford.
    But it’s also because Ford just makes a LOT of the character, just the way he is, plays and appears, although River Phoenix did an impressive job as Indy. And actually, I’d have said, go go him if he were still around, maybe they could have done some kind of prequels or whatever.

    Anyway, I know that reboots and stuff like that are all the rage in the last years, but they should either make one more or let it rest for at least one or two decades.
    Some people also mentioned ‘Uncharted’ being similar and you’d be better off doing a movie on that game. Well, first of all, I find that ‘Uncharted’ would be even more risky as it’s already an established thing, and if it would go to the level of ‘Indiana Jones’, it would actually go down in intelligence and sincerity, cause it has much deeper and dramatic stories, even though there are similarities in the “adventure” base on real things, then mixed in with the supernatural and such. But I feel it’s not as “free” or “flexible” as an Indy-movie as it’s a lot lighter and looser and mostly not as deep as what they did in the Uncharted-games.

    Anyway, they better move it along if they want to do a 5th, I wouldn’t mind seeing one, of course it would be great if it was actually another great movie like the first and third. But if they wait even 10 more years, who knows Ford might only be able to to walk around and the man who played Indy’s father might REALLY not be with us anymore…
    Which, apart from his retirement, they could easily have put in at least a cameo for, to for example help out with something in the story. Unless he was already playing older than Connery was of course. But then it doesn’t make sense that Ford played younger in the 4th movie… Oh well, whatever… Indy 5, bring it…

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  • indy man

    I love Indiana jones but, the 4th was kind of bad
    but if they made a 5ith indy then I hope it does
    not have aliens.

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  • John “Ratty” Arbuckle

    Yes, you are.