Harrison Ford Talks Saying Goodbye To Indiana Jones

More than 40 years since we were first introduced to Indiana Jones – and 15 since we last saw him in Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull – and Harrison Ford is putting down the whip and taking off the fedora one last time.

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny reintroduces us to Indy on the brink of retirement in 1969. The space race has captured America’s imagination, with none of his students invested in the ancient history he brings to life as a professor.

In short, as Ford points out, we’re meeting up with him at “a low point we haven’t seen him in before”.


He explained: “We’ve demonstrated his strengths over the course of four movies, now we’re entering into a new phase of his life. After 15 years he’s aged, he’s retiring from academic life, and it’s a role that has ultimately proved uninspiring for him.

“Dramatically, this works really well as this is when Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) enters his life and stimulates the plot. It shows that, at that moment, his weakness is the ravages of time”.

Before we get there, however, director James Mangold’s film takes us back to 1944 in a thrilling prologue, with Indy deep undercover behind enemy lines. Alongside colleague Basil Shaw (Toby Jones), he aims to take back the Antikythera, a mysterious Ancient Greek device which has fallen into Nazi hands – specifically, those of Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen).


25 years later, and many former Nazis are helping the US with their space efforts to Indy’s disgust, with Jürgen one of the top ranking German NASA employees. And he’s not leaving his old allegiances in the past either – in fact, he’s willing to do more than ever to take back the dial, which he believes can help him rewrite history and bring about an Allied defeat.

He may be the most dangerous adversary Indy has ever faced, and one that’s especially formidable considering how much our hero has aged since he last had a fight like this on his hands. For Ford, this was always part of the plan.

He continued: “I’d always wanted to round out the story with seeing him towards the end of his career, towards the end of his life even. We had a very good script that James and his co-writers came up with, and that was the encouragement to continue with the project.


“I was very excited when I read the script, so there was no barrier to telling another chapter of his story for me. I was ambitious to make it.”

In recent years, Ford has waved goodbye to characters such as Han Solo to Rick Deckard in blockbuster sequels set decades after we last saw him in those roles. However, none of those experiences compare to the thrill of picking up a whip again.

“This has been a singular experience that, somehow, doesn’t put it in the same category with other films. It doesn’t feel different, but it feels good because of the shape of this goodbye.


“We’ve taken our concerns and our interest in the character, and tried to shape a story that would bring this character back into audience’s lives in an interesting way. And I think given the people that we’ve involved in developing the character and the nature of the story that James has created for us, it’s a splendid goodbye.”

Ford’s love for Indiana Jones is infectious – just compare and contrast it with how he feels about Han Solo. However, after playing this character for decades, he still doesn’t feel like Indy belongs to him specifically.

“Look, this job is a service occupation for storytellers. James is the chief storyteller, I’m an assistant storyteller.


“I have felt over the 40 years since Raiders Of The Lost Ark that I have not only come to know this character, but I’ve come to know my job a little bit more – well, maybe just a little bit. The character means to me what he means to the audience, because that’s the service and that’s the contract between us: I’m obliged only to give my best in any story that I want to tell.

“When it’s received with the warmth and the generosity that Indiana Jones has over this period of time, it’s an incredible generosity to me and I take it personally. It means a great deal to me that people like what we’ve done, and I hope that they will appreciate this final contribution.”

Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny is released in UK cinemas on Wednesday, 28th June.

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Alistair Ryder

Alistair Ryder


Alistair is a culture journalist and lover of bad puns from Leeds. Subject yourself to his bad tweets by following him on Twitter @YesItsAlistair.