Steven Spielberg Clarifies 'Indiana Jones 5' Comments; Says Genre Of Film Won't Change, But MacGuffin Will

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by Jen Vineyard
December 5, 2011 4:00 PM
8 Comments
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A lot of people have been reading a lot of meaning into something Steven Spielberg said recently. Addressing the return of "Indiana Jones" in a fifth movie, the director told Entertainment Weekly recently that he'd clashed with George Lucas and Harrison Ford about "genre and concept" in the fourth film, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," but that for the fifth, he said Lucas and he "already have agreed on the genre." Genre? What?

Given that the Indiana Jones films seem to be a genre unto themselves -- action/adventure movies with a vintage cliffhanger-serials feel and a light sprinkling of the supernatural -- does that mean the formula is in for some major revisions? Maybe even a stronger turn toward sci-fi? (Although that would seem unlikely, given Harrison Ford's recent avowal that he "ain't going to Mars.") So on Sunday, while promoting his forthcoming film "War Horse," the director took a moment to clarify things.

"No, no, no," he told The Playlist during press rounds this weekend. "It's not a new genre at all. [All the 'Indiana Jones' films], they're all the same genre. It's all the same genre."

So what had he meant with his earlier comment? "It's just the MacGuffin that changes. The MacGuffin was the Ark of the Covenent in 'Raiders,' the Holy Grail in 'The Last Crusade,' and the skull in 'The Crystal Skull.' That's what always changes, and that's what we always look for."

Spielberg said that the MacGuffin for Indy 5 has been determined, but that the story is still being worked out. How's it going? "We're hopeful," he said. So keep your fingers crossed folks, but this one will be a bit of a long way coming. Spielberg still has "Lincoln" and "Robopocalypse" to knock out first.

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8 Comments

  • Jan Paulsen | March 27, 2014 10:10 AMReply

    There is only ONE Indiana Jones, and some of us have aged along with him. He can NEVER be replaced by a younger actor. It would be better to end the series with the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Harrison Ford IS Indy!

  • Zap The Sheep | December 6, 2011 4:15 PMReply

    Do a soft reboot: have Sean Patrick Flannery play Indy again but as an adult. Choose a MacGuffin at the beginning of WW2 or at the very end. Unfortunately, Spielberg has a soft spot in his heart (and head) for Shia.

  • padre | December 5, 2011 8:52 PMReply

    I was going to make some comment on how "Of course Indiana Jones looked tired in the last movie, Harrison Ford is a billion years old! He is no spry buck to be running around anymore!" But then Rodie beat me to it and said all that there is say, really. Also: HOLLYWOOD, I WANT MY NEW HARRISON FORD, DAMN IT! And don't you dare say you are planning for shrimpy Shia to be it! My rage would know no boundaries.

  • ZARDOS | December 5, 2011 7:03 PMReply

    Crystal Skull sucks because I don't buy that Indy exists in a world where both Jesus and aliens exist. I can take one, but not both.

  • rodie | December 5, 2011 6:01 PMReply

    This thing won't even shoot until 2013 at the earliest. Ford will be 71, and most certainly have to be relegated to the Connery-type tag-along Dad role in the film, which I would be sort of okay with if there was a better young hero for him to share the screen with, but if all we're stuck with is Shia's poorly written "Mutt" character, I'm afraid this will be another mediocre entry in the Indy franchise.

    Why couldn't Ford and Speilberg have made another Indy in the late '90s? Instead, Speilberg took 2 years off after Private Ryan, and Ford starred in Random Hearts and Six Days Seven Nights. Boo!

  • StephenM | December 5, 2011 5:52 PMReply

    The problem with Crystal Skull wasn't that it was unrealistic or unbelievable--all of the movies were like that--and the silly, eye-rolling moments weren't enough to destroy a movie. The problem was that it seemed so tired and too slick and empty. It had too much CGI and too little hand-crafted heft, everything felt weightless and pointless--the movie just coasted along on nostalgia, none of the action sequences were actually exciting, there was no tension. You could watch and it would go by pleasantly enough, but it left no real impression on you other than "meh" and "a fridge? really?"

  • Nolan | December 5, 2011 4:47 PMReply

    I just rewatched "Crystal Skull" for the first time since seeing it in theaters. It's really not all that bad--on the contrary I actually think it is thematically quite strong. Maybe even the strongest of the series. It definitely has it's share of eye-roll moments, and the aliens still don't sit well with me, but all in all it could have been worse. Oh, and Shia was as annoying the second time as he was the first.

  • Garrison | December 5, 2011 4:25 PMReply

    I hope that they don’t make another Indiana Jones film. All of the people involved should move onto more promising projects. The original trilogy were all classics and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a good tribute to them even though Kate Capshaw, John Rhys-Davies, Jonathan Ke Quan and Sean Connery should have been included. It would be best that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull concludes the series. I have my doubts if they try to reboot it as Harrison Ford defined the role.

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