Indiana Jones 5 is set to be released next year, but of the two treasure-hunting franchises, The Mummy is more deserving of a new installment. Neither Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) nor Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) have graced the big screen since 2008, when The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Tomb of the Dragon Emperor were released. Both films underwhelmed previously devoted fan bases. However, a fourth Mummy movie could recapture noughties nostalgia, whereas the upcoming fifth Indy movie is unlikely to rekindle its eighties charm.
The Mummy was released in 1999, 18 years after Raiders of the Lost Ark. Rick and Indy were fairly similar protagonists: macho gun-slingers with a fondness for beige shirts. Rick might not have shared Indy’s reverence for the artifacts he pursued, but on the flipside, Indy’s treasures never awakened any ancient Egyptian curses. While The Mummy leaned into elements of fantasy more than Indiana Jonesthe 1999 flick was a clear spiritual successor to the original ’80s trilogy.
While expectations around Indiana Jones 5 are undeniably high, the fact remains that the movie is actually far from the ideal candidate for a reboot. The poor reception for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull already proved that revisiting the Indiana Jones series is a bad idea. Instead, it’s time to let the franchise die and explore the potential of similar projects, such as The Mummy 4. Not only are there endless mythologies for a revival to excavate, but another Mummy film could also be just what Brendan Fraser needs to reboot his career. As such, both narratively and commercially, The Mummy 4 actually makes much more sense than Indiana Jones 5.
Indiana Jones Already Fumbled Its Opportunity To Reboot The Franchise
14 years have passed since 2008’s Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skullwhich came out 19 years after The Last Crusade. The long gaps between the original trilogy, the first reboot, and 2023’s Indiana Jones 5 highlight the clear lack of demand for an Indiana Jones franchise. It is the fourth installment that must shoulder the majority of the blame.
A successful reboot must balance the nostalgia of the original work with the development of new ideas. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull prioritized the latter at the former’s expense. Harrison Ford’s performance as the titular hero was overshadowed by a dramatic tonal shift. While elements of the supernatural had featured in previous Indy films, the most notable example being the Holy Grail in The Last Crusade, The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull strayed into outright science-fiction. Audiences had been expected to suspend their disbelief before, but never to such an extent. Magical, misshapen alien skulls were incongruous with the fairly gritty – if sometimes a little campy – reality established almost three decades earlier in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
The failure to reboot the Indiana Jones franchise in 2008 means the upcoming fifth film is likely to be a cash-grab rather than a valuable addition to Indy’s narrative. Top Gun 2‘s unexpected success proves that long-delayed reboots can deliver satisfying doses of nostalgia to audiences. However, given that Indiana Jones has already failed in an attempt at a long-delayed revival, this suggests that it is not actually the right saga to revisit.
There Are Endless Plots For A Renewed Mummy Franchise To Explore
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor introduced a different mummy to Imhotep, the villain in the first two films. It was a testament to the strength of the cast and writing that The Mummy was able to repeat the same story twice without sacrificing its quality. Nevertheless, the third movie rightly shook things up. Rick and Evelyn had retired from treasure-hunting, but were bored in middle-age. The ending showed them reconsidering their retirement, which means a fourth movie could continue their story without undermining the logic of its characters. While there were certainly some issues with Tomb of the Dragon Emperorsuch as Rachel Weisz not returning as Evelyn and slightly poorer writing, the fundamental dynamic was the same.
The concept for a Mummy reboot could be lifted directly from Tomb of the Dragon Emperor‘s final scene. Sickened by the prevalence of mummies in China, Jonathan decided to move somewhere without mummies. He settled on Peru. The irony of this statement was that soon after 1947, when the film was set, mummies were found in Peru. The Mummy 4 could use this as a basis for its plot.
Having explored Egyptology and Chinese mythology, a renewed Mummy franchise could introduce audiences to a plethora of histories and legends. Many societies in South America have practiced mummification, and naturally occurring mummies have been discovered all over the world. Thus far, The Mummy films have only scratched the surface, meaning that any future movies would not have to delve into such outlandish plots as Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The Mummy 4 Would Be A Perfect Way For Brendan Fraser To Reboot His Career
After a long time away from Hollywood’s spotlight, Brendan Fraser has returned to the public eye. His absence was due in part to injuries sustained during filming, but also his experiences of sexual harassment. Since speaking out, he has been met with outpourings of support from fans, old and new. Fraser’s career seems to be taking off again: his upcoming performance as DC villain, Firefly, is highly anticipated. With Fraser taking on new Hollywood projects, it could be the perfect time for him to reboot old ones too.
Fraser’s portrayal of Rick O’Connell is one of his most beloved and well-known performances. It’s safe to say that The Mummy trilogy would not have worked without Fraser, as proved by Tom Cruise’s failed attempt to redevelop the franchise in 2017. Harrison Ford is no stranger to returning to old franchises: as well as Indiana Joneshe has also appeared in reboots of Blade Runner and Star Wars. In each, he plays an older, more grizzled version of the original character. There is no reason that Fraser cannot do the same.
Unlike Indiana Jones, The Mummy has a larger recurring set of characters. Rick, Evelyn, Jonathon, and Alex could all appear in a new installment. At the end of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Alex began a relationship with Lin, who helped the O’Connells put down their latest mummy. As such, it would not be unfeasible for a new film to include their hypothetical children, thus expanding the core cast. Fraser’s performance as an older, mummy-killing, treasure-hunter would be well-suited to this familial backdrop. This was Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull‘s downfall; along with other issues, the introduction of Shia LaBeouf as Indy’s son just did not work. The overdue retirement of the character in Indiana Jones 5 would open up a space in the adventure movie genre for Fraser’s Rick O’Connell to return in The Mummy 4.
Next: The Mummy Franchise Needs Brendan Fraser (Not Another Reboot)
- Indiana Jones 5 (2023)Release date: Jun 30, 2023
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