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Harrison Ford’s latest Indiana Jones film ends with ‘a bang’

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

When Hollywood veteran Harrison Ford walked on stage for Disney’s D23 Expo late last year to spruik the fifth Indiana Jones film, he hinted this would be the last time he plays the much-loved archaeologist.

Ahead of the world premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival on May 18 (global release June 30), Ford, 80, has confirmed he’s hanging up his sable fedora and closing the door on Dr Jones forever.

“This is the final film in the series, and this is the last time I’ll play the character … I anticipate that it will be the last time that he appears in a film,” he told Total Film magazine.

A legend finally faces his destiny

Ford first played the intrepid seeker of antiquities (and truth) back in 1981 at age 39 in director Steven Spielberg and screenwriter George Lucas’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, a film set against the backdrop of Nazi Germany in 1936.

The film was a watershed moment for Hollywood, it established a new era of adventure action movies and catapulted the career of the edgy, handsome Ford to legend status after conquering the Star Wars universe as Han Solo.

A scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark

Clever Indy! Use a sack to prevent the booby traps going off in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Photo: Getty

The film even triggered a big rise in students enrolling in archeology at universities around the world in a bid to meet a real-life professor, or become one.

“Watching Indiana Jones as a kid in the ’80s was the reason I became an archaeologist! It didn’t last long, admittedly. [It] turned out arriving to work on horseback in sweaty, dirty clothes, being handy in a punch up, and pulling my female co-workers in for a kiss whenever they started shouting at me, didn’t go down too well at the museum,” wrote one Indy fan on the Lucasfilm YouTube.

We couldn’t wait for more.

Sean Connery played the father of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989. Photo: Getty

For the second film in 1984, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, a sequel set in 1935, Indy goes to India and meets the evil villain Mola Ram and his cult.

Next was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989 with a return to Indy battling with Nazis.

The fourth movie didn’t land in cinemas until almost 20 years later, with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (with Cate Blanchett playing a Russian protagonist this time) in 2008.

Dial of Destiny, which also stars English actor and writer Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag), Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, Fantastic Beasts) and his old Welsh mate John Rhys-Davies – who played Egyptian digger Sallah in Raiders – is the last film.

“I had been ambitious to do this film for 10 years, and there finally came a time when we all committed to that,” Ford says inTotal Film’s cover story dropping later this week.

“It was a joyous moment for me. I think it’s a rare situation that I find myself in.”

There was a TV series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles in 1992, but Ford also responded to reports another TV show was in the works with Disney+.

He said he would “not be involved in that, if it does come to fruition”.

It may not, with leading comicbook.com website reporting on March 23 that the TV series has been “crated and wheeled into the museum of cancelled projects”.

It was supposed to be a Raiders prequel, based on Indy’s unseen mentor Abner Ravenwood, but “Disney has reportedly told Lucasfilm to focus on Star Wars”.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd/Disney

‘End it not with a whimper’

And so, Ford now brings Indy back to Cannes with Dial of Destiny (screening out of competition) after appearing 15 years ago with the Last Crusade.

Ford, 65 at the time, was accompanied by partner Calista Flockhart, Spielberg and Lucas, and other cast members including Jim Broadbent, John Hurt, Shia LaBeouf and Karen Allen, who appeared with Ford in the first Indiana Jones film almost 30 years ago playing Marion Ravenwood.

“It was a life-changing experience making the first movie. The putting on of the costume reminded me of all the good times. They all come flooding back,” he told a Cannes press conference in May 2008.

“The last couple of days there have been moments where I have been overwhelmed by unlikely nostalgia … specially being with Karen again brought back a lot of memories.

‘It was probably the most significant professional moment in my life.”

As for the storyline for his last outing as Dr Jones – Ford has been de-aged and is fighting Nazis again in a period between the 1940s and ’60s, and it is loosely based on the Hellenic-era Antikythera mechanism.

“The actual Antikythera mechanism has been called the world’s ‘first computer’, and leading theories speculate that it was used to track the course of the Sun, Moon and planets, keeping track of lunar and solar eclipses,” wrote Vanity Fair, when trying to figure out the plotline.

Directed by James Mangold (Ford v Ferrari, Logan) after Spielberg stepped away, Ford is all action man, riding horses through underground train stations, cracking whips and jumping out of aeroplanes.

“I’ve been able to deliver amazing films developed by Steven [Spielberg] and George [Lucas] over a 40-year period, and to end it not with a whimper, but a bang, has been my greatest ambition for this excursion.”

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