When Disney announced on Friday that they had secured the distribution and marketing rights for the "Indiana Jones" series from Paramount, clearing the way for new installments, many speculated on the form these sequels might take. Some rumors claimed a fifth "Indy" movie may be integral in Harrison Ford's negotiations with Disney so that he could appear in "Star Wars: Episode VII," suggesting that we could see at least one more movie with the 71-year-old star cracking the whip.
Beyond that, Disney didn't spend $4 billion in the Lucasfilm acquisition to make a bunch of "Star Wars" movies and just one "Indiana Jones." Assuming Ford has one more film in him as the famed archeologist, someone else has to carry on after him. Since the first appearance of the character in 1981, three actors have played Dr. Jones on the big screen, so a new actor wouldn't be as outlandish as the gut reaction might suggest.
What would be more surprising, however, especially from a major studio like Disney, would be to shake up the character in a way that ignores either the race or gender of Harrison Ford's portrayal. If Indiana Jones is no longer a white man, that opens up the list of replacements in a huge way, and it allows some of the more surprising but smart suggestions to become a reality.
Shortly after the announcement from Disney, the names of actors like Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station") and Jake Johnson ("New Girl") were tossed around, two choices that absolutely work for their own reasons but appear unorthodox when compared directly to Ford.
But combing through the current roster of young stars that could carry both a beloved franchise and the weight of the roguish leading role, there aren't many better options than Jennifer Lawrence.
The choice would certainly take heat from the comments sections of movie blogs, but a pick as surprising as Lawrence would work in two ways. Recasting the Indiana Jones would make headlines, but casting a woman would be news-of-the-year material.
Why shouldn't it be Jennifer Lawrence, though? Sure, it's unlikely she'd take the part, since she publicly expressed her hesitance to star in franchises when discussing her choice to star in "The Hunger Games," but the personality is spot on. Indiana Jones is confident and cool, but often sarcastic and prone to anger when frustrated, something that we've seen Lawrence do in her films with David O. Russell. And Disney knows that she can lead a film to box-office glory, thanks to the strong performance of "Catching Fire."
While the specifics remain uncertain, it does seem like there is a future for "Indiana Jones," but it remains to be seen for how long Harrison Ford will be a part of it. If the series does continue after he has moved on, let's just hope that Disney will consider the best person for the job, regardless of what they look like, because really, anyone can hate snakes and crack a whip.