Steven Spielberg Teases INDIANA JONES 5, Says He May Avoid References to His Films in READY PLAYER ONE

Let's start off by getting this Indiana Jones 5 bit out of the way. We already know Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm are going to make a new Indy movie at some point, though the exact timing is still up in the air. Until now, we've only really heard Kennedy talk about the project in loose terms, saying that it's going to happen but without providing any details, and a couple of years ago, Harrison Ford said he'd be interested in reprising the iconic role again. But we haven't heard from director Steven Spielberg himself on the matter until today, when he and Tom Hanks spoke with Yahoo to promote their upcoming film Bridge of Spies:

“We’ve gotta figure this out because now, Tom is tied with Harrison Ford: Harrison and I did four movies, Tom and I have done four movies. Now I’ll probably do an Indy 5 with Harrison, [so] it’ll be five for Harrison, four for Tom.”

Did anyone really think Spielberg would choose not to make Indy 5, especially if Ford is still playing the hero? I could see him maybe passing the franchise on to a new generation if they rebooted it and recast the lead role, but this franchise means too much to Spielberg to just let it go while Ford is still wearing the fedora. And his comments in no way hint at when the movie might happen, so we're still left waiting for a lot more details from Lucasfilm and Disney. After he eventually completes Indy 5, Spielberg said: 

“I’ve got to make another one with Tom, that’ll be five for Tom, five for Harrison. And I think I’m going to leapfrog that way for the rest of my career. With Daniel Day-Lewis in everything else!”

But before he gets to any of that, he'll direct Ready Player One for Warner Bros., based on Ernie Cline's geektastic 2011 novel. The plot centers on a quest for a virtual reality easter egg that will give its owner control of the VR game world, and it's loaded with references to 1980s pop culture — including nods at Back to the Future, The Goonies, and Indiana Jones — leaving many to wonder how Spielberg would handle those references to his own filmography. In an interview with USA Today, he says he might avoid them altogether:

Spielberg says it's “very trippy” to be an influence on himself in a way, “but I’m not making this movie to remind people of my ‘80s movies. I may leave most of them out!”

I haven't read the book yet myself, but I imagine those references are a big part of why the book was so successful. I wonder how that decision will go over with fans of the source material...but ultimately, Spielberg knows what he's doing and knows that his job is to make a good movie first and an accurate adaptation second. Besides, he's more interested in what the movie has to say about our society:

“[Ready Player One is] a crystal ball into exactly what is going to be happening not in 30 or 40 years but in between 5 and 10 years from now, where a virtual world becomes almost like a drug of choice and where we are spending more time in a nonorganic space than we are breathing and eating and interacting in real life." ...
“This movie is going to show why it’s interesting not living in the real world but what we’re missing by not. It’s a cautionary tale but it’s also a big rockin’ adventure movie, too.”

Ready Player One has Olivia Cooke on board as the female lead, and the movie hits theaters on December 15th, 2017.

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