The Pros and Cons of Killing Indiana Jones

Apparently a retirement home is just not good enough for the treasure hunter who wants everything in museums. “Sources” are telling ShowbizSpy that Harrison Ford wants Indiana Jones to die in the next installment of the franchise.

There was never much doubt that this would be the last round up for Ford, especially with Shia Labeouf waiting in the wings to take over as his son, but death seems a bit extreme. After all, there must be an adjunct professor position out there waiting for him.

It may seem fatalistic, but it’s also important to look at why killing him off might be a good thing. Or why it might be completely moronic.

The Pros

  • It would be an epic end to a beloved character – It seems like the only issue with that would be the treatment of the character up to that point. Had Indiana died, say, in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, fans would have bought all the gasoline in Marin County and taken a match to The Skywalker Ranch. However, if they can put together a truly exciting adventure that gives the character back his glory, then a death scene at the end would be a shocking, emotional moment that could have a great impact.
  • No more appearances for Ford –  This might be a pro for Ford personally more than anyone else. Can you imagine at the age of 68 that you’re still looking out toward the future of a character you played three decades ago? There’s some nostalgic appeal of course, but that’s like using soft focus to shoot rotting fruit and calling it still life. It’s understandable if Ford wants out completely, and death means cameos can’t even bring him back.
  • No more Indiana Jones movies – Shia Labeouf should not continue the franchise. It would be beating a horse that’s already been cremated with a jockey who never delivers a solid performance on the race track. It seems obvious that he’ll take over (although what will they call the movies?), but there’s a chance that if Indiana Jones dies, the movies die with him, and that would be a good thing.
  • It would take brass balls – Whether it’s a good idea or not, killing off such an immortal figure would take some massive creative courage, and that deserves applause even when it goes completely off the rails.

The Cons

  • Indiana Jones would be dead – That’s like killing Santa Claus.
  • It could be an epic failure – As tempting as it was to leave the first Con as the only Con for dramatic simplicity, there are a few other forces at work here besides the obvious. Killing Indiana Jones would be a big risk to take, and as with any risk that large, failure looms over it cackling and rubbing its hands together evilly. If the scene, the scenes leading up to the scene, and the entire film leading up to the scene weren’t done perfectly, people would completely forget about nuking the fridge. Killing Indy would become the new catch phrase, and it wouldn’t be a pretty one. Also, they might burn down George Lucas’s house.
  • No more appearances for Ford – It might be nice for him to face retirement gracefully, but if they choose to continue hammering out these movies, it would be nice to have some sort of Indy presence (like the one they failed to give us for Sean Connery in Crystal Skull).
  • It wouldn’t make any sense – Without going into grand detail, Indiana Jones is a character that lives more in the past than anywhere else. We may love him, but do you think about him on a daily basis? Of course not. With a normal series of films, they would have the benefit of coming out around the same time and building the myth of the character until taking him away from us (see that famous, beloved wizard from Harry Potter as an example). Killing off Indiana Jones was an option that left the table back in 1989. Now, they are on the other side of a failed movie and two decades of distance from the hero’s heyday. Killing him now would have 1/100th the emotional impact that any production might want it to.

It’s highly unlikely that they’ll kill him off, especially since it’s just a rumor that Ford even suggested it. However, it does raise an interesting question.

Can you imagine the death of Indiana Jones working?

A veteran of writing about movies for nearly a decade, Scott Beggs has been the Managing Editor of Film School Rejects since 2009. Despite speculation, he is not actually Walter Mathau's grandson. See? He can't even spell his name right.

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