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Is Harrison Ford really going back in time for the new Indiana Jones?

Rumours are rife that, with its star nearing 80, Indy 5 will resort to the oldest trick in the book to keep him young

How do you solve a problem like your action-movie leading man being nearly 80 and presumably no longer able to get under those rolling boulders quite as he once did? For the new 1960s-set Indiana Jones movie, once again starring Harrison Ford as the ageing adventurer and disturber of ancient tombs, there are rumours that the answer might just be time travel. Fans this week have been all over suggestions that Indy will head back to Roman times, as suggested by recent set pictures, though of course he might just be on the 1960s Hollywood set of a swords-and-sandals epic. Then again, there was also that video, published in June, suggesting the archaeologist will be facing off once again against the Nazis, despite the second world war having finished more than two decades earlier.

Could Indy be searching for a new mysterious MacGuffin that allows journeys into the past in James Mangold’s film? This would both explain the apparent scenes from two wildly different eras, and give the director the opportunity to present our hero meeting a younger, digitally de-aged version of himself. And yet quite how Mangold would present the transition from the near-octogenarian Ford to a version played by the actor via motion-capture “ghosting” (otherwise, what’s the point?) remains to be seen. It’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility: we’ve seen actors brought back to life (Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin in Star Wars: Rogue One) and even movies in which the leading players have been digitally de-aged for most of the run time (The Irishman). Mangold could even kill off Indy Prime, while keeping young Indy for future episodes, though one has to assume even the famously self-confident Ford will be up for retiring the role at some stage.

Another set photo emerged earlier in June showing a stuntman on the set of Indy 5 who appeared to be wearing a Harrison Ford mask. Perhaps this is a new method of digitally de-ageing that we haven’t yet come across. Or maybe somebody somewhere is having a laugh with the paparazzi who keep capturing this stuff. Presumably if successful mo-cap impersonation could be achieved by pulling on a crap rendition of someone else’s face, we’d all be able to sit through the famous lost Bruce Lee movie Game of Death (which was completed, terribly, after the martial-arts legend’s death) without having to reach for the sick bag.

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