Harrison Ford, who is set to reprise his role as archaeological adventurer Indiana Jones in a fifth film, is suggesting at least lightheartedly that when he can no longer play the fictional character, it should be retired.
"When you're done with that role, who would you like to see as Indiana Jones?" asked Craig Melvin on NBC's "Today" on Friday. Ford, 76, smiling and putting his hand on Melvin's shoulder, replied, "Nobody else is going to be Indiana Jones. Don't you get it? I'm Indiana Jones. … When I'm gone, he's gone. It's easy."
Addressing long-standing rumors of "Guardians of the Galaxy" star Chris Pratt taking over the role, Ford added, conflating Pratt and a similarly named actor, "This is a hell of a way to tell Chris Pine this. I'm sorry, man," he said, chuckling. A laughing Melvin chimed in, "Well, y'know, better that he hear it from you!"
Ford first played the role of the intrepid explorer in 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark,” director Steven Spielberg's homage to old cliffhanger serials and adventure movies. It and the next two films — the 1984 prequel "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" and 1989 sequel "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" — were set in the 1930s, while 2008's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" jumped to Cold War 1957.
Walt Disney Studios picked up the formerly Paramount franchise when it bought the production company Lucasfilm. Disney announced in 2016 that Ford would reprise the role in a fifth Indiana Jones movie initially set for release July 19, 2019, but now scheduled for July 9, 2021.
The Pratt rumors go back to at least 2018, when Ford shot down such speculation during a red-carpet interview with Variety. "I think it's him or me!" the actor said breezily.
Pratt, 39, himself addressed the rumors this February, responding to an interviewer asking if Pratt's adventurous archaeologist character in "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" was a nod to Indiana Jones.
“Well, y'know, I told ['Lego 2' writers] Chris [Miller] and Phil [Lord], 'Listen, please allow me to be your muse, dig into my life as much as you want,' and they pulled that out of the zeitgeist. I think there was speculation around whether or not I would do 'Indiana Jones' and I think that's why they put that in there — maybe just hedging their bets in case I did that one day, [so that] the movie would hold up. But there's no more information about that now than there was before."
Pratt has not responded on social media to Ford's comments on "Today."