Mads Mikkelsen stars as a Nazi scientist named Voller in Indiana Jones 5.
The first look at Mads Mikkelsen in the upcoming Indiana Jones 5 has been released, revealing the Danish actor to be playing a new character named Voller, a former Nazi scientist now working with NASA during the 1969 space race. According to co-writer Jez Butterworth (via Empire), Mads Mikkelsen’s character will disturb Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones idea of the United States government, which historically recruited Nazi scientists and granted them clemency in order for their expertise. While the Indiana Jones movies have rarely had much moral ambiguity in them, it seems things might be changing a little bit.
In the image above, Mads Mikkelsen is seen at night, with the background too out of focus to determine any context whatsoever. Unsurprisingly, Lucasfilm probably wants to keep as many details about the plot of Indiana Jones 5 (up to and including what its actual title is, apparently) under wraps as long as possible, so this image does not reveal a lot. However, we do see that Madds Mikkelsen is wearing what appears to be a black fedora hat (because he’s a bad guy), a black leather jacket, and round, scholarly glasses.
Visually, Mads Mikkelsen’s appearance as Voller seems to be deliberately referencing Arnold Ernst Toht, the secondary protagonist (played by Ronald Lacey) in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The hat, glasses, and jacket worn by Mads Mikkelsen all appear very similar to Toht, who memorably burnt his hand on a medallion in Nepal, giving the Nazis the ability to partly replicate its ability to reveal the location of the Ark of the Covenant. Given that both Mads Mikkelsen and Ronald Lacey are playing Nazi characters, it feels unlikely that the similarity is a coincidence.
However, while Mads Mikkelsen is known for playing a variety of villainous characters, he tends not to play bad guys with the same psychopathic, sadistic flair as Toht. While Toht was identified as a Sicherheitsdienst officer (a sister organization of the notorious Gestapo) with a penchant for torture, it can be assumed that Mikkelsen’s Voller was a member of the Nazi Peenemünde Army Research Center, which developed rocketry and other weapons.
Mads Mikkelsen’s character has also been referenced as analogous to Wernher von Braun, the controversial Nazi aerospace engineer who eventually became the director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, the architect of the designs that eventually led to the Apollo space program, and worked with the Walt Disney Company on a series of films about space travel. There is something of a historical irony that Lucasfilm is now owned by Disney, which seems to have gotten into the von Braun industry once again.
Indiana Jones 5 is currently scheduled to be released in theaters on June 30, 2023, and will be Harrison Ford’s last turn playing the character (or so he claims). It will also star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, a returning John Rhys-Davies, The Sandman’s Boyd Holbrook, and Antonio Banderas in an undisclosed role. Reportedly, Disney is also looking to develop an Indiana Jones streaming series for Disney+.