Is Harrison Ford too old to play Indiana Jones?

Harrison Ford.
Harrison Ford.

LOS ANGELES • Twitter users had fun, reacting to news that Harrison Ford will return in a fifth Indiana Jones movie.

Walt Disney Co said on Tuesday that Steven Spielberg, 69, will again direct Ford as the fedora-clad archaeologist and adventurer who first appeared in 1981's Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

In a statement, Disney's film chairman Alan F. Horn called Jones "one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history".

Ford will be 77 years old by the time the as-yet-untitled movie opens on July 19, 2019. Many on Twitter joked about that, offering tongue-in-cheek suggestions for the film's title.

Indiana Jones And The Alzheimers, Indiana Jones And 'Hey You Kids, Get Off My Lawn!', Indian Jones And The Search For Prune Juice were some of the suggestions.

Disney's US$4-billion (S$5.5- billion) acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 gave it rights to the Star Wars movie franchise and Indiana Jones characters.

Indy and his pals have taken in about US$2 billion globally since 1981, sold billions of dollars in related merchandise, spawned rides at Disney theme parks and inspired spin-off television series.

Ford's age also raised the question of whether Indy 5 will start something new, said The Hollywood Reporter.

"Could (it) work as a swan song for Ford's version of the character, while opening up space for another actor to take over the role via flashback scenes setting up prequel projects, or will Ford stay in the role into his 80s?", it asked.

The last film was Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008), in which Indy reunited with former love Marion (Karen Allen) and discovered he had a grown son, Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf).

The film grossed almost US$800 million worldwide, but was considered a misfire by fans, with one of Lucas' ideas - having Ford hide in an old refrigerator during a nuclear blast - mocked mercilessly online.

Disney did not say if Allen and LaBeouf would return and did not reveal plot details.

President of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy and her husband, Frank Marshall, will produce the film.

Lucas, who had writing and producing credits on the first four Indiana Jones movies, is not expected to be involved with the new movie.

Tuesday's announcement follows the success of Disney's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the third highest-grossing film worldwide, in which Ford reprised his action-star role and regained his box-office appeal as space smuggler Han Solo, who was first seen in 1977.

The new film is the first Indiana Jones movie that Disney will make after it bought the distribution rights for the franchise from Viacom's Paramount Pictures in 2013.

REUTERS, NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 17, 2016, with the headline 'Is Harrison Ford too old to play Indiana Jones?'. Print Edition | Subscribe