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Asps! The next Indiana Jones will be a continuation of Crystal Skull

You can almost hear Sallah say, "Bad dates..."

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When Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and Disney signed on for another Indiana Jones, the Internet collectively shrugged, “Sure. Why not?” After 2008’s disappointing (and, frankly speaking, franchise-poisoning) fourth entry, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the only direction this franchise could go was up — a chance to right the wrongs, if you will.

Then came news that Crystal Skull writer David Koepp was brought on to pen another sequel, which more or less sunk whatever excitement might have already been there. (To be fair, Frank Darabont’s previous scripts for the fourth entry also had Spielberg’s harebrained idea to “nuke the fridge.” Though, that doesn’t account for the Goonies-esque ensemble that followed.)

Now, producer Frank Marshall has confirmed the next entry will be a continuation of Crystal Skull. This unfortunate news bite surfaced when Variety spoke with him at CinemaCon and the topic of the world’s greatest archaeologist came up. Naturally, the conversation digressed about whether or not there would be another Indiana Jones considering Ford’s age.

“It’s all about the story,” he explained. “I think both in the Jason Bourne series and on Indiana Jones, we are not going to do the Bond thing. We think those characters are iconic, and those are the only actors who can play that.”

Again, that’s admirable position — and one I mostly agree with — but it does lodge some concerns for the sequel. First off, now that Dr. Jones is no longer a world-traveling loner and, instead, a loving father and husband, what does that spell for the next adventure? Especially since it’s rather unlikely Shia LaBeouf will return, considering his relationship with the franchise.

What’s more, does that nix any potential to shift back and forth in time? In my recent column, “Whipping Indiana Jones Back Into Fortune and Glory”, one suggestion was to focus on a story that would allow for a younger and leaner Jones, which would not only take us back into the hero’s glory days, but also give audiences a chance to explore other faces under the fedora.

Considering Indy 5 rests comfortably as dead last in Spielberg’s forthcoming annual filmapalooza, there’s plenty of time to watch this unfold. Who knows, maybe Koepp will step back and find a story that’s a bit more grounded, and maybe Spielberg will give his pal cinematographer Janusz Kaminski a rest in lieu of Dean Cundey. I don’t know, I’m makin’ this up as I go.

That’s the second time I’ve used that joke today, and that’s what scares me.

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