The tease of Mutt Williams (played by actual cannibal, Shia LaBeouf) possibly taking over from his Dad in some kind of reboot looks to have been put on an indefinite backburner. But the idea of rebooting Indy won't go away, especially as the immortal Harrison Ford gets less and less immortal and more and more crotchety. There's even talk of the busiest man in Hollywood - Chris Pratt - taking over.
But should Indiana Jones be rebooted?
Scott Mendelson at Forbes recently noted that the recent Box Office Bombing of the movie Solo is bad news for any idea of a rebooted Indiana Jones - it indicates that people don't just like the character (of Han Solo in that case) - they like Harrison Ford playing him, too.
But how to keep the Indiana Jones Universe going without Harrison Ford?
Well - picture this: A movie that starts with an exotic location of some kind - say, Ayers Rock/Uluru in central Australia (gotta repre-ZENT!!!)
There's a tall, lean, be-hatted man sifting through some rubble on the ground, his head down, face covered by a classic brown fedora. The man's hands are clearly darkened, probably by prolonged exposure to the outdoors. They're strong and smooth, though, not wrinkled and wrong like those of a 75-year old man (no offence to any septuagenarian readers). He pauses, then looks up, a broad grin on his Asian face!
It's grown-up Short Round!
THIS is the direction the Indiana franchise should take! And the beauty is, Harrison Ford can still be Indy (an older, close-to-retirement Indy), but a younger Asian actor can literally pick up the hat and keep the adventures coming!
As it turns out - according to canon, Shorty did become an archaeologist, and kept in touch with Indy, too. The picture below is from my own copy of the "Lost Journal of Indiana Jones", with a letter from Shorty to Indy in 1957 (in the top-left corner), about his hunt for the 'Peacock's Eye' (the diamond from the start of Temple of Doom, which was also seen in the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles):
Importantly, for the new movie, not only will Shorty be an archaeologist, but he's a kick-ass martial artist, too!
And I've got an idea for the treasure to be found: Genghis Khan's Tomb! This is a literal mystery (people are still searching for it today) and, since Genghis Khan controlled the "largest contiguous land empire in history", it's probably got some pretty sweet bling. And traps, of course. Lots and lots of traps.
Since Mongolia was then in the USSR (assuming the movie is set some time in the 1950s or 1960s), this could involve some more Soviet shenanigans. Plus China was going through its own dramas, which could make for some interesting stories. Of course, that may need to be handled, shall we say, 'sensitively', since China is now the biggest movie market in the world, and having an Indiana Jones spin-off with a Chinese lead could make Lots of the Moneys if China is on board with it!
(So the Tibetan Uprising of 1959 would probably be off-limits, but the "wars" between China and India (in 1962) and the Soviet Union (in 1969) could play into it? Or even China's first detonation of a nuclear weapon in 1964?)
Of course, a movie about an Asian Indy-style archaeologist looking for Asian treasures while jumping and/or kicking people through windows Jackie-Chan style writes itself, so the most important question then becomes: who would play the lead*?
As a starting point, he could possibly be played by original Short Round - Jonathan Ke Quan (previous name Ke Huy Quan), who was also in probable Oscar-contenders The Goonies and Encino Man - however, he apparently hasn't acted since 2002.
I actually thought Jet Li would be perfect, until I discovered he's 55 (!!!).
Then I found this guy: Wu Jing. Yeah, I totally found him, not the millions of Chinese people who have already seen his movies. Star of Box Office smash** Wolf Warrior II, which has been described as being "like 'Fast and the Furious', with a tank!"
There's your grown-up Short Round right there! He's only 44 (only a few years older than Harrison Ford in Raiders), with a ready market for him in China, and a ready market everywhere else for an Indiana Jones spin-off!
I even think he looks more like a grown-up Jonathan Ke Quan that Jonathan Ke Quan does!
Check 'em out:
|Is this Jonathan Ke Quan?|
|Or is it this guy?|
(hint, it's this guy: the one who looks less like Short Round)
Please send royalties and kudos to rilestar. And seriously, you've got to watch this (skip to 02:50 to see the Actual Cannibal himself)!:
* Apparently there was an April Fool's joke earlier this year that Steven Spielberg had cast Ken Jeong as a grown-up Short Round for Indiana Jones 5. Yeah...but nah...
** Wolf Warrior II made $870 million at the box office ... although $854 million of that was in China...