When Indiana Jones 5 hits theaters on July 19, 2019, franchise star Harrison Ford will be 76 years old—but that doesn’t mean Indy 5 spells doom for the titular adventurer. After rumors of reboots and casting replacements swirled, Steven Spielberg confirmed in March that he will indeed be returning to direct Indiana Jones 5 with Ford in the starring role once again, and while the filmmaker has two other movies to make before then, he’s already teasing a bit of the story.
As part of an in-depth and enlightening profile of the director over at THR, the filmmaker seems to suggest that fans will respond to Indiana Jones 5 better than they did Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull while also promising that there will be no Indy death scene a la Star Wars: The Force Awakens:
Spielberg says he’s “super excited” about [Indiana Jones 5], dated for July 2019: “I think this one is straight down the pike for the fans.” He won’t reveal plot details, except this: “The one thing I will tell you is I’m not killing off Harrison [Ford] at the end of it.”
Frequent collaborator David Koepp, who penned Jurassic Park as well as War of the Worlds, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, and yes, Crystal Skull is on scripting duties, but curiously left out of the Indy 5 crew when it was announced was George Lucas. It remains to be seen if he will return to produce the sequel—tradition follows that Lucas comes up with the Indiana Jones stories and Spielberg directs—or if he’s really left showbusiness for good. Whatever the case, he and Spielberg remain best buds so I’d be shocked if he wasn’t at least consulting on the project in an unofficial capacity.
Spielberg has made known in subsequent interviews that he’s well aware Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was not up to snuff for Indy fans, and while the sequel is still in the nascent stages, these comments suggest he’s intent on course-correcting the franchise with this new entry. That, and no Indiana Jones death scene.
While some could envision Indiana Jones 5 as a “passing of the torch” movie for a new character to take over the franchise, they tried that with Crystal Skull to less-than-stellar results. I think the best bet is to simply make the best Indiana Jones film Spielberg can make, and when and if the time comes to revisit the franchise without Ford, reboot it.
But before Spielberg starts production on Indiana Jones 5 he’s got quite the full slate. He’s currently getting ready to start filming the blockbuster sci-fi adaptation Ready Player One, which will be followed by the historical religious drama The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara which reteams Spielberg with his Lincoln scribe Tony Kushner. That film is set to begin filming in early 2017 for release that November, and after he’s wrapped that picture, one imagines he’ll move straight into Indiana Jones 5—assuming he doesn’t try to squeeze yet another project in there somewhere.
So take heart, fans. You won’t have to see Indiana Jones die onscreen when he cracks the whip once more in the summer of 2019.