‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Will Not ‘Beat the Humor’ Out of the Franchise, Says Director James Mangold

"I think that what we're trying to do is balance both an accurate and realistic appraisal of where this character would be at this time in his life," Mangold said of the final franchise installment with Harrison Ford.
'Indiana Jones' to Premiere at Cannes Film Festival May 18, featuring a CGI youthened Harrison Ford.
CGI youthened Harrison Ford in "Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny"
Walt Disney Studios

Harrison Ford’s final stand as Indiana Jones will be a fun “romp” versus sad send-off, director James Mangold promised.

Mangold has helmed his fair share of hero goodbyes, namely with “X-Men” standalone film “Logan,” but the director explained that “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” was always destined to be a balance of bittersweet sentimentality and the signature humor Steven Spielberg masterfully wove into the original films.

“I am under no illusions that my job making an ‘Indiana Jones’ film was to suddenly beat the humor out of it and turn it into some kind of dirge,” Mangold told Entertainment Weekly. “I think that what we’re trying to do is balance both an accurate and realistic appraisal of where this character would be at this time in his life, and do that honestly, and at the same time, try and carry forward what the very title of our movie promises, which is a romp and a wonderful adventure with action and chivalry and escapes by the skin of your nose and ingenious solutions to diabolical problems. This is an ‘Indiana Jones’ film.”

Mangold continued, “I’m always interested in this idea of a hero at sunset. What does the hero do when the world no longer has a place for him? I find it really interesting to try to look at classical heroes through the prism of our jaundiced contemporary attitudes.”

So, while Ford reprises his role as the “brilliant nerd who is also a badass,” the film marks the final time Ford will be Indy on the big screen. “Dial of Destiny” caps off Indy’s story in 1969 with the rise of the space race and the Cold War.

“You have to be really considerate about how you try and transpose a fairly simplistic kind of black-hat, white-hat sensibility into a period that is more complicated,” Mangold said. “We try to exploit that by jumping forward into 1969 to a hero who is used to a black and white world, [but finds himself] in a world that has gone gray.”

“Dial of Destiny” is the first “Indiana Jones” film since 2008 revival “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” The upcoming film is set 10 years after the events of “Crystal Skull” and also features a flashback to 1944, with a de-aged Ford.

Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Antonio Banderas, Shaunette Renee Wilson, Thomas Kretschmann, Toby Jones, Boyd Holbrook, and Mads Mikkelsen also star.

Mikkelsen praised Mangold’s “same vision” for the franchise, saying the movie “felt like a Spielberg film.”

“They’re going heavily back to the first and second film and getting that original feel, the original Indy, something dense and epic,” Mikkelsen said earlier this year.

The “Indiana Jones” franchise started with “Raiders of the Lost Ark” in 1981, followed by “Temple of Doom” and “The Last Crusade.” Ford has portrayed the hero in all five films.

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