Premium Post: Another INDIANA JONES 5 Plot, Or The Three-Villain Problem
Making Indiana's decline more subtle and bringing in some blasts from the past
As you may remember, back in July I proposed several alternative plots for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, since I didn’t like the unsubtle and mean-spirited way the film put Indiana on his knees at the start of the story:
His son Mutt dies in Vietnam (although I never figured he’d be the type to enlist in the first place), he and Marion are divorcing, he’s lost his job as dean and is teaching uninterested students at a less-prestigious school, drinks too much, and has difficulty physically getting out of bed in the morning. Someone posted on Twitter that Disney’s continuations of LucasFilm’s properties don’t honor the original happy endings — Palpatine returns rather than having finally been destroyed by the redeemed Anakin, Han and Leia’s son falls to the Dark Side and this leads to their separation and Han’s death (and the destruction of Luke’s revived Jedi Order too), Indiana’s new family is ruined, etc. Disney should take the original endings and go from there.
(For example, a better Star Wars Sequel Trilogy would have been the Yuuzhan Vong invasion — instead of “Evil Space Wizards AGAIN,” it’d be something completely outside the paradigm. Yes, I know the Dark Empire comic story featured Palpatine returning in a cloned body, but that was stupid. Disney pruning the canon was not necessarily a bad thing if they kept the quality material like they did with Thrawn and ditched the content that was contradictory or just plain bad. Here’s a meme depicting Luke and his Expanded Universe son Ben Skywalker — the Yuuzhan Vong invasion is so far ahead of the Original Trilogy time-wise that the original cast’s greater age would work, as opposed to a straight adaptation of the Thrawn books that take place only a few years after Return of the Jedi.)
However, defenders of Indiana’s misery-porn life at the film’s beginning point out this supports the movie’s themes about aging, regret, and appreciating what you do have rather than lamenting what you don’t. I’ve heard Ford himself liked the plot, since it gave him the chance to show Indiana’s grief and guilt, although I can’t find a link at the moment. Some of the more positive Dial reviews do praise how he handles this.
So here’s an elaboration on an idea I posted on Twitter back in July for a better Indiana Jones 5 plot that would give Harrison Ford the chance to show the character rise above setbacks without being as ham-handed and petty as “Shia played an unpopular character and in real life has been credibly accused of crimes and is a drama magnet in general, so kill Mutt,” as weak plot-wise as “the most popular films had Nazi villains so let’s have Nazi villains, never mind this is nearly 1970,” and as conspiracist as “Paperclip scientists are infiltrating and Nazifying American society.”
Check out below the paywall for “how I would have done it.” Going forward, although my reviews will be free to all, a lot of the more creative stuff like how I would have done a book or film will be for my paying subscribers.