Growing up, Indiana Jones was always my Star Wars. That’s not to say I didn’t like Star Wars – the fact that as an adult I’m writing weekly reviews for a Star Wars cartoon would indicate otherwise – but it was something that was part of my life from an age before I can even recall. Like the Disney animated features or Jim Henson’s Muppet creations, Star Wars has always been part of the background texture of my life. Not so with Indiana Jones. I was made to wait until I was a little bit older to see Raiders of the Lost Ark and I vividly remember the way it completely rewrote my 7-year-old mind.
The other side of this coin is that the disappointment of the Star Wars prequels wasn’t nearly as devastating to me as the experience of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. As Scott Wampler of Birth.Movies.Death. so aptly put it, walking out of that theater, it felt as if someone had died. As far as I’m concerned it might as well have been a death. The series was over. Done. They had definitively proven that continuing Indiana Jones two decades later was a mistake, and there was no coming back from that tragedy. And yet, yesterday’s news is just the realization of an inevitability we’ve been staring down since Disney bought Lucasfilm back in 2012. Indiana Jones will be returning, whether anyone thinks that’s a good idea or not.
It’s definitely a bad idea, but as far as bad ideas go the return of Spielberg to the director’s chair makes this a little bit harder to dismiss. Spielberg is, without question, our greatest living filmmaker, and if Indiana Jones must continue (and Disney insists that it must) giving him a chance to right the ship is the best case scenario.
Still, I approach the entire notion of this sequel with a great deal of trepidation. If Indiana Jones is to be brought back from the dead there are a few things I’d like to see. You’ll note that there’s nothing on this list as specific as ‘no aliens’ and that’s for a reason. Spielberg’s a smart man, he’ll be fine. He doesn’t need some chucklehead blogger reminding him what didn’t work in the last film. Instead, these are five things that I think are essential to the fabric of Indiana Jones and the only way I could see a continuation working out.