Indiana Jones 5 De-Aged Harrison Ford, And Kathleen Kennedy Has One Hope For Audiences

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The last several days have seen quite a bit of Indiana Jones 5-related news pour in. First we got our first full look at Harrison Ford back as the adventuring archaeologist, and then we got the first official plot details for the 2023 movie release, including confirmation that Mads Mikkelsen is playing the movie’s Nazi main antagonist. Now it’s been revealed that Indiana Jones 5 will see Ford de-aged for the opening action sequence.

Indiana Jones 5 director James Mangold shared with Empire that he wanted to kick off the blockbuster with an “adrenaline blast” by diving into “this kind of full-on George-and-Steven old picture.” So he and the Indiana Jones 5 team crafted a set piece set in 1944 that sees Indy in a castle filled with Nazis. In other words, this sequence takes place six years after the events of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Mangold continued:

And then we fall out, and you find yourself in 1969. So that the audience doesn’t experience the change between the ‘40s and ‘60s as an intellectual conceit, but literally experiences the buccaneering spirit of those early days… and then the beginning of now.

One of the techniques that was used to pull off Harrison Ford’s de-aging in Indiana Jones 5 was utilizing new ILM software that searched through archived footage of Ford in his younger years and matched it to the footage from this new movie. And while not part of the digital wizardly, Ford’s jacket from Raiders of the Lost Ark was also pulled from storage and replicated for Ford to wear during this World War II-set sequence. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy is especially excited about Indiana Jones 5’s de-aging and shared her hope for audiences thusly:

My hope is that, although it will be talked about in terms of technology, you just watch it and go, ‘Oh my God, they just found footage. This was a thing they shot 40 years ago.’ We’re dropping you into an adventure, something Indy is looking for, and instantly you have that feeling, ‘I’m in an Indiana Jones movie.’

Although there was a few mentions of Indiana Jones’ activities during World War in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, this will be the first time we see Harrison Ford’s character active during the conflict on-screen. So how convincing was Indiana Jones 5’s de-aging? You’ll need to see the movie for yourself to reach that personal determination, but Ford admitted that this is “the first time I’ve seen it where I believe it,” and even called seeing his digitally-created younger self “spooky.” Regarding the sequence itself, it’s unclear if we’ll also see a younger version of Mads Mikkelsen’s Voller in that Nazi-filled castle, whether Mikkelsen himself is de-aged too or the character is played by a younger actor.

As for Indiana Jones 5’s main plot, we’ll be following along with our title protagonist in 1969, when Voller is now working with NASA on its moon-landing program and is searching for a mysterious object that would allow him to “correct some of the mistakes of the past.” Voller will be aided by Boyd Holbrook’s “crazy” lapdog Klaber, while Indy will be aided by his goddaughter, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena. We’ll also see the return of John Rhys-Davies as Sallah for the first time since Last Crusade, and the rest of Indiana Jones 5’s cast includes Thomas Kretschmann, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Antonio Banderas, Toby Jones and Olivier Ritchers. In addition to his directorial work, James Mangold co-wrote the script with Jez and John-Henry Butterworth.

Indiana Jones 5 opens in theaters on June 30, 2023. Catch up on Indy’s previous cinematic exploits with a Paramount+ subscription while you wait for Harrison Ford’s final outing as the character.