It goes without saying but 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull' was not only a massive disappointment, it also effectively ended any hope of another 'Indiana Jones' movie.
Why? Well, we could sit here and go through the reason - Shia LaBeouf hopelessly miscast, the concept was all wrong, CGI monkeys? - but that's all in the past. Shortly after Lucasfilm was swallowed up by Disney, plans were already underway for a fifth 'Indiana Jones' movie, but it's only in the past few months that it's begun filming and actually gone into production.
As you'd expect, security is tight on set, but we've managed to pull together all the solid information and the not-so-solid rumours that are swirling out there.
OK, SO LET'S GET THE OBVIOUS THING OUT OF THE WAY - HARRISON FORD IS REALLY OLD
Wow, ageist much? Yes, Harrison Ford is 79 years old currently, but in Hollywood terms, that's like everyone else's 60. Not only that, the man is the fourth highest-grossing actor in the US box office of all time. Did you really think they were going to make the fifth one without him? Don't be silly. Of course not. As much as everyone thought way back when that Shia LaBeouf was going to get his own spin-off series (Christ, imagine) or something, that isn't the case. Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones. Sure, there was the TV series in the '90s when he was played by Sean Patrick Flanery as a young man, but it's been Harrison Ford all the way through. OK, fine, there was the old guy who played 93-year old Indiana Jones. Apart from that, it's been Harrison Ford. So, yeah, they're not going to do it without him.
DOES THAT THEN MEAN THEY'RE GOING TO DIGITALLY DE-AGE HIM?
It hasn't been officially confirmed, but set photos seem to suggest that they're going to be doing that. Essentially, Ford was pictured with various dots on his shoulders and around his neck which are used then by CGI artists to map and track the movements of his face. They're then fed into a computer and, from there, you'll see a younger version of the actor on screen.
SO DOES THAT MEAN IT'S GOING TO BE LOTS OF ROPEY CGI IN IT?
Well, you'd certainly hope not. The director of the movie, James Mangold, has used CGI in the past for the likes of 'Logan', and more recently, 'Ford v Ferrari' and it's always been tasteful and quite minimal. The expectation then would be that if it's used here, it's going to be done only in a complimentary fashion and not, y'know, CGI monkeys.
WAIT, STEVEN SPIELBERG ISN'T DIRECTING THIS?
That's right. Senor Spielbergo pulled out of directing 'Indiana Jones 5' a good while ago, and in stepped James Mangold. As mentioned, Mangold previously directed 'Logan' - one of the greatest comic-book movies ever made - and 'Ford v Ferrari'. He was also linked to the now-cancelled 'Boba Fett' spinoff movie that eventually warped into 'The Mandalorian'. Good news, though. John Williams is doing the music for this one.
HARRISON FORD IS GOING TO BE IN IT OBVIOUSLY, BUT WHO ELSE?
A pretty wide cast of characters, it looks like.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge of 'Fleabag' fame is going to star in it and have a significant role, as is 'Narcos' alum Boyd Holbrook. Mads Mikkelsen, who you'll know from the likes of 'Another Round', 'Rogue One', 'Casino Royale' and the bitch from 'Bitch Better Have My Money', is playing a villain's role. Because of course he is. How could you possibly cast him in the fifth 'Indiana Jones' movie and not have him play some utterly devious Nazi bastard who gets his face smashed in by the world's worst archaeology professor? Not only that, you've got 'Billions' alum Shaunette Renée Wilson in there, Thomas Krestchmann also has a role, as does Toby Jones and Antonio Banderas was just recently announced as having a role too. So, yeah, pretty wide cast of characters.
DO WE HAVE A TITLE OR A PLOT YET?
We know for certain that it won't be called 'Indiana Jones and the Empire of Evil'. That title had been doing the rounds for quite a while and James Mangold took to Twitter last month to officially deny it as the title. Another title bandied about was 'Indiana Jones and the Order of Elysium'. The same article that named that as a possible title also had a possible plot.
Now, we'll stress right here and now that this plot doesn't sound terribly believable, and in fact, we'd almost go so far as to say it's probably incorrect. Still, for the sake of completeness, here it is. The supposed plot revolves around a Nazi scientist - played by Mikkelsen - who is pressed into service by NASA, but is in fact working on a secret project called 'Die Glocke' which has the ability to turn back time. His plan is to change the outcome of World War II and make it so Nazi Germany won.
In an interesting change of pace, Dr. Jones is this time working against the US Government as they're the ones funding the whole project and he's out to stop them from making 'Die Glocke' a reality and creating the ability to time-travel.
IS 'DIE GLOCKE' REAL?
In the same way the Holy Grail was real and the Crystal Skull was real. It's purported to be one of the Nazi superweapons that they were developing just before the end of World War II. There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of conspiracy theories about all the kinds of crazy stuff Nazi Germany was experimenting with. The whole thing about 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and 'The Last Crusade', for example, was based on wild theories about Nazi occultism.
It'd make sense to go for it again, and the idea of time-travel does seem to fit into the concept of Dr. Jones being old then being young again. But, having said that, none of this has been confirmed so you really do have to take it with a giant boulder-sized pinch of salt.
WHAT CAN WE TAKE FROM SET PHOTOS?
Quite a bit, actually. For instance, we know that the Space Race and Apollo 11 is going to feature heavily in the movie, as there were a number of scenes filmed in Glasgow that featured Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Mike Collins - the original Apollo 11 astronauts. That means the movie is going to be set in - at least some of it, anyway - in 1969.
ANY SIGN OF A RELEASE DATE OR A TRAILER?
July 29th, 2022 has been lined up as the release date. So that's basically three days and a year from now. As for a trailer, your guess is as good as ours. Given that they're currently shooting at the moment and it's a year out from release, it'd seem likely that a trailer is on its way pretty soon. If nothing else, a title should be forthcoming much sooner.