Harrison Ford on Indiana Jones: "When I'm Gone, He's Gone"

Despite persistent rumors that Disney and Lucasfilm might try to reboot the Indiana Jones film franchise with a new, younger leading man, Hollywood icon Harrison Ford does not think it will happen, saying that he and Indy are so bound together that the character is finished when he is. The comments, which came during an interview with Today, take the idea that Ford really seems to want another Indiana Jones movie one step further, suggesting that in his mind, the franchise cannot go on without him. When the actor returned to the role of Han Solo for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, rumor had it that he had agreed to do so in order to get a new Indiana Jones movie. One has reportedly been in development for some time, but it has not yet come together.

Ford, who is now 76, first took on the role of the swashbuckling archaeologist in 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark. That film proved popular enough to spawn two more sequels in the '80s -- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Almost 20 years later, Ford would return to the role in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008. That film reunited the hero with his Raiders love interest Marion Ravenwood.

“Nobody is going to be Indiana Jones,” Ford said when asked who he would want to follow him in the part. “Don’t you get it? I’m Indiana Jones. When I’m gone, he’s gone. It’s easy.”

Laughing, he then added, “This is a hell of a way to tell Chris Pine this. I'm sorry, man.”

Pine, who fans will see in next year's Wonder Woman 1984, took on the role of Jack Ryan, one that Ford had previously played in two movies. For Ford, it was Clear and Present Danger and Patriot Games. Pine would play the part in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, the first attempt to reboot the character after Sum of All Fears cratered the franchise. Shadow Recruit failed to take off, and Pine left the role. Recently, John Krasinski played the part on the Amazon original series Jack Ryan.

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In Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Jones discovered that he had an illegitimate son with Marion. That character, played by Shia LaBeouf, seemed at the time like he was being groomed to take over the franchise. While the movie was a financial success, it was not a big hit with fans, and there is no indication that the next movie -- currently slated for 2021 -- will include LaBeouf's character. Without picking up on his son, that leaves Indy himself at the center of the franchise. While some have suggested that a particularly charismatic leading man like Chris Pratt might be able to take on the part, a lot of fans agree with Ford that his performance is lightning in a bottle and not really replaceable.

Whether Lucasfilm and parent company Disney feel the same way is a whole other question. After all, Indiana Jones is a brand that has made money for years with toys, merchandising, comic books, novels, and even a TV series that featured a different actor as a young Indiana Jones. Whether they can control their urges to continue (or not) Indy's story without Ford is anybody's guess.