Spielberg: You know, Indiana Jones could be a woman

And you thought Shia LeBoeuf was as bad as it gets. With a new adventure on the horizon that will return Harrison Ford to his other iconic role — but not LeBoeuf — Steven Spielberg has begun to muse about the future of the Indiana Jones franchise when Ford is ready to hang up the fedora and whip. If Speilberg reboots the series, don’t be surprised if Jones turns into a Joan … or something:

STEVEN SPIELBERG thinks action legend Indiana Jones is finally ready for the ultimate adventure — to be played by a woman.

The director knows he would risk fan fury by casting an actress in the role made famous by Harrison Ford, 75, but he believes it is time the explorer took “a different form”.

In an exclusive interview, Spielberg nodded when asked if this new-look Jones could be female, and added: “We’d have to change the name from Jones to Joan. And there would be nothing wrong with that.”

Ahem. One thing wrong with it is that Jones is a last name, one which plenty of women use. It’s a strange comment, since the name Indiana is gender-neutral as it is, and isn’t even the character’s actual legal name. Couldn’t a female Indiana also take the dog’s name as her own?

Even apart from silly name games, why would anyone feel the need to cast a woman into an already established and iconic role? Why not simply create a new character and new adventures written specifically for an actress to play? That made Lara Croft popular in the Tomb Raider games, which then moved to the big screen in two 1990s films with Angelina Jolie. That series just got a reboot with Alicia Vikander last month, too, showing that there is a solid audience for action-adventure movies that are organically created around a strong female character.

Reboots have built-in fan bases, of course, but that cuts both ways in this franchise. The Indiana Jones fan base may not be all that keen on seeing another actor than Harrison Ford in the role anyway, and then putting the political-correctness angle on a character that embodies rebellion against the established order only complicates that even further. Spielberg and Lucas created the Indiana character in 1981; surely they can create a new female action-adventure character for a new series. If they can’t, maybe they should retire from the genre instead.

If Spielberg wants to leverage the Indiana Jones fan base while focusing on a female hero, why not create new films around Marion Ravenwood, Indiana’s equal in Raiders of the Lost Ark? He brought Karen Allen back to reprise the role in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, although he didn’t give Allen much to do in it.  The Indiana character could serve as a satellite character in Marion’s adventures, or at least in her origin story, while installments follow her around the world in spectacular adventures of her own. Keep the fan base, drop the paternalism, and inspire a whole new generation of fans for both the original and reboot movies. Sounds like a winner to me.

Of course, I’m happy just to know that Mutt won’t be back. And thankfully, there’s nothing at all wrong with that.