In 2008, 19 years after the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and 15 years after he briefly reprised Dr. Henry Jones Jr. for an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Harrison Ford returned as the fedora-wearing, whip-wielding archaeologist for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. That went on to become arguably the most polarizing of the Indiana Jones movies, which Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy attributed to the story not being as strong as it could have been. Ahead of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’s release this summer, Ford has fired back at the people who were critical of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
In an extensive THR profile, Harrison Ford shared his feelings about the less-than-stellar reception Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has earned since it premiered in theaters on May 22, 2008. When the interviewer noted that critics are “still pretty harsh on it,” the actor responded:
ndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull already had to contend with the public’s concerns over age, namely how he’d do in an action-heavy role he hadn’t played on the big screen in nearly 20 years. However, following the release of the movie, it caught flak for other reasons, such as Shia LaBeouf’s performance as Indy’s son Mutt and the inclusion of aliens from another dimension, the latter of which screenwriter David Koepp was “never happy with.” This isn’t to say that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull doesn’t have its supporters, and among professional reviewers, it actually did pretty well, as evidenced by its 78% Tomatometer on Rotten Tomatoes.
But as far as the people who didn’t like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull are concerned, Harrison Ford is saying that these preconceived notions about what an Indiana Jones movie should be influenced how the detractors reacted to the fourth movie. That’s not to say that these people can’t dislike Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but it doesn’t sound like Ford wasn’t disappointed with how the movie turned out. Perhaps more importantly, whatever issues this segment of the Indiana Jones fanbase had with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull didn’t influence how The Dial of Destiny came together.
As we get closer to Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, perhaps some Indiana Jones fans will rewatch Kingdom of the Crystal Skull ahead of this 2023 new movie release and reexamine their opinion of it… or maybe that negative opinion will simply be reinforced. In any case, Indiana Jones 5 takes place in 1969 against the backdrop of the Space Race, and see Indy coming into conflict with an ex-Nazi scientist who’s working for NASA’s moon landing program and seeks an artifact that will help him change the world into, as he sees it, a better place. The Dial of Destiny will open with a World War II-set sequence that sees Ford being digitally de-aged.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opens on theaters on June 30. If you’d like to rewatch any of the prior Indiana Jones movies beforehand, they’re easily accessible with a Paramount+ subscription, which you can also use to see Ford playing Jacob Dutton in the Yellowstone prequel 1923.