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10 things you need to know about Indy 4

Millions of years ago, when dinosaurs ruled the earth, when the landscapes were plush with natures’ untouched vegetation and god’s hand could be seen in every corner of our pure globe… the wait for Indy 4 began.

OK, so maybe it hasn’t been quite that long, maybe it’s only been 17 years and counting but dammit, it feels like we’ve been waiting for this flick forever.

In that time, the Tinsletown rumour mill has kicked out a truck-load of possible casting updates and potential plot outlines – so who’s in and who’s out? What’s the fedora-wearing whip-cracker going to get himself mixed up in this time? Dust off your crusty leather jacket: here are the 10 essentials you need to know about Indiana Jones 4…

1. Let’s get this one out of the way because, frankly, there’s no getting around it: Harrison Ford is 64 years-old. FACT. Luckily, Ford has kept himself in chiseled shape and is ripped and ready to go. Plus, The Beard has admitted that Harrison’s age is key to the plot for Part 4. Hmm…

2. ...which leads nicely into the fact that Indy 4 is going to be different. Don’t sweat it too much, it’s bound to be bursting with the same blend of action and Sunday matinee magic that made Raiders, Temple Of Doom and Last Crusade rock like Vanessa Feltz doing the Macarena on a one-legged coffee table. “We're working on it,” says producer George Lucas. “We've been working on it for ten years. I think it'll be a great film, but it's completely different. It's still got a lot of action, and it's still very funny. I think it works like crazy.”

3. If time in Movieland has ticked by along with Ford’s age, then Indy 4 will probably be set sometime in the late ‘50s. The first three flicks saw Dr. Jones handing the Nazis their arse and with the World War II ending in 1945, we reckon a Indy in the swinging ‘60s may be a little too different. The ‘50s will allow for time to have moved on and keep the Indy classic garb current.

4. In 1995, Last Crusade scribbler Jeffrey Boam was tasked with knocking out an Indy 4 draft, which is probably sitting in a drawer on Skywalker Ranch. Boam’s attempts at a new take on Indy were followed by Home Alone helmer Chris Columbus, master of the melon-twister M. Night Shyamalan, Green Mile key-tapper Frank Darabont and Rush Hour scribe Jeff Nathanson. Spielberg and Lucas have finally settled on Panic Room writer David Koepp, who also scribbled Jurassic Park for Mr Steve. “David Koepp is a great closer. And he’s done some great projects for me, you know all of them. And I feel that if anybody can do it and pull this together, David can.”

5. So, let’s cut to the chase here: is it going to be any good? “Well you know, George and I have been promising this picture for a lot of years now,” Spielberg has said. “I’m making every attempt to keep that promise. I just want to make sure that the fan-base is given the best Indiana Jones anybody could possibly make.” We’ll take that as a solid-gold ‘yes’.

6. The Connery factor: this one, frankly, is a bugger. We’d all love to see Dr. Henry Jones pop up as Indy’s Pa at some point in the movie but being optimistic, it’s 50-50 whether the Scot is up for it. “I would love him to be in the next Indiana Jones film,” Indy supremo George Lucas told Access Hollywood. “Maybe I can push him into it. In fact, we are writing him in whether he wants to do it or not.” That’s the spirit.

7. While we’re on the subject of co-stars, let’s get to the ladies. Always an important role in an Indy movie – more balls than a Bond girl and feistier than a pit full of pissed off rattlesnakes – who is set to succeed Marion, Willie and Elsa in Indy 4? Well, here’s where the big speculation starts. Ford is said to have insisted on his missus, ex-Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, being in on the gig. Spielberg is thought to favor bringing back leggy showgirl screech-merchant Willie Scott from Temple Of Doom (Kate Capshaw, also Mrs Spielberg since 1991). This has led to the idea that Karen Allen, who played Marion Ravenwood in Raiders, may also make an appearance (she hinted as much recently). Add to this the fact that Ford trumpets the talents of virtually every female co-star he appears with as worthy of a part and we reckon Indy will need Viagra to get a crack out of his whip.

8. It’s sad but true, we have to give some column inches to the naysayers. There are those out there who will attempt to pee on the fireworks, to ruin the anticipation with lines such as, ‘they should leave it alone,’ ‘they’re too old,’ and ‘look at what Lucas did to Star Wars.’ Ok, the last one may have some weight but let’s get clear on one thing: this is one of the last examples of a 20th century Hollywood leading man, busting himself up leaping from horses to runaway trains, chasing fortune and glory under the guidance of the greatest living blockbuster director, all paid for by a producer who admits he’s just a big kid at heart. If that doesn’t flick your switches, by all means go and rent Million Dollar Baby.

9. This one is simple: Lucas is planning a 3-D release alongside the usual cinematic onslaught… insert your own Homer Simpson-esque ‘woo-hoo!’ here.

10. So when’s it out? Well, the script is done and Ford wants to get on it pronto. “I said to them (Lucas/Spielberg), ‘If it doesn't happen in the next two years we should all forget it,’ and now it's looking very good to do another one.” Attaboy Harrison, crack that whip. “I haven't felt this positive about it happening in a long time,’ he added. Also, last October, Lucasfilm honcho Rick McCallum said, “George is working on the script, which he should finish by Sunday. He’s meeting with Steven next week to try to figure out where they are going to go and what changes they want to make on it.” So filming is set to commence early next year for a 2008 release.

So there you have it… the ten things you need to know, right now, about a movie that isn’t going to be in cinemas for another two years. But this is Indiana Jones, this is seedy Moroccan markets at sunset, diving headlong out of planes and sprinting through the jungle dodging poisonous darts. This is the greatest action hero of all time… and you just know it’s going to be bloody ace.