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Indiana Jones will return with Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg in 2019

Indiana Jones will return with Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg in 2019

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Harrison Ford will return once again as Indiana Jones. Disney announced this afternoon that he'll star in a new movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, slated for release on July 19th, 2019.

George Lucas and Shia LaBeouf aren't mentioned

That's basically all of the detail we have so far. The only other announcement: Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, who worked on the series' prior films, are returning as producers.

There's one big name that isn't listed in Disney's announcement: George Lucas. Lucas developed the story on the prior four Indiana Jones films, but his absence from this announcement suggests that Disney may be looking for new talent this time around. That worked out well for Disney when it came to Star Wars; it wouldn't be surprising to see it take a similar approach here.

Ford and Spielberg last teamed up for an Indiana Jones film in 2008, with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It sits at a 78 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, though the film is often derided for having some of the more ridiculous elements of the series.

How will Disney try to move the franchise forward?

At the time, there was a suggestion that Lucasfilm would spin off a new series of Indiana Jones films starring Shia LaBeouf, who played Jones' son. That clearly didn't pan out. LaBeouf's name is also absent from this announcement, again suggesting that Disney plans to take a different route.

Disney has repeatedly said since buying Lucasfilm that more Indiana Jones were on the way, but it wanted to deal with Star Wars first. (It also needed to pick up some additional rights to make the films.) It's always been unclear what form the new movies would take, or even if the studio could convince Ford to reprise the role.

Now that the movie is announced with Ford on board, the next question we're looking for Disney to answer is how it sees the series' future. Indiana Jones is inextricably tied to Ford — unlike Star Wars, there isn't an entirely galaxy left open to explore — so it's hard to imagine the studio using a similar playbook, having Ford hand off the role much as he did in The Force Awakens (and attempted to do in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). It's always possible that Disney will just continue to make one-off films as long as Ford is willing, as the Indiana Jones series has always done.