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Has Indiana Jones made ancient history of Johnny Thunder?


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#1 Col. Whipstick

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 09:21 PM

First and foremost I love Indy, always was a huge fan of the original films and remember watching them vividly as a child.  I remember buying the box set on DVD the day it came out and I've read Indy books etc.  It was probably my love of Indiana Jones that inspired me to collect so many Adventurers sets.  The art decor, style and design of those sets was fantastic.

Admittedly where it all seems to have gone wrong is in the very late 90's before Lego started going mad with licenses and it relied on creating themes that were at best only loose associations to media franchises.  Now, back then along came a man who brought us something really different, not just another re-invention of castle, pirates or town - Johnny Thunder of Brisbane gave us a cheeky smile and commanding Aussie accent to let us know he was the downunder version of Indy that was every bit the emminent adventuring archeologist that is American counterpart was.  That he was chosen as Australian speaks directly to the parallels lego were attempting.  Likewise Johnny Thunder's sidekicks - Miss Pippin Read and Dr Kilroy themselves reflect a kind of Marion Ravenwood and Prof. Henry Jones.  Then there's Lord Sam Sinister - certainly a token refference to the likes of Belloc etc.  The different locations and characters featured during the adventures of Johnny Thunder went above and beyond what we associated of Indiana Jones.

Then Lego inevitably got the license from Lucasfilm/Lucasarts and the Star Wars range was born, Harry Potter was hot on the heals and ever since Lego seem to have gone license mad.  In each case however the license themes seem to have been revivals of age old lego system themes - Harry Potter was a reinvention of Castle, Star Wars of Space and one should have seen a POTC attempt which would have revived the Pirates.  Now, Indiana Jones has reinvented Johnny Thunder and the Adventurers, it may be a different franchise but it's the same era, look, feel and design, the problem is - it's just too close.  Had Lego ever seen that down the road Star Wars and inevitably Indiana Jones were in the pipeline Johnny Thunder would never have been.

So what now for our hero?  In some small ways he's a bit more than Indy, he's a good part Crocodile Dundee or Alan Quartermaine - having that colonial edge of Australia and Africa but as fearless, bold and brave as Johnny Thunder was in the late 90's and the early 00's is he just doomed to play second fiddle to the man with the big Hollywood status?  I can see in another year or two members of this site will feature both men together in various MOC's as their paths must inevitably cross like two English speaking adventurers must out of something from a Wilbur Smith novel.  Or will they both compete for 'fortune and glory' to quote the famous Indy line from The Temple of Doom.  I'd hate to see Johnny simply get old, fade into the background and start doing museum tours but I can't help but feel that Indy is going to make ancient history of the stuntman who has played him in so many amateur Indy lego films.

Edited by Col. Whipstick, 03 January 2008 - 09:29 PM.


#2 Tohst

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Posted 03 January 2008 - 09:51 PM

I will admit that Johnny Thunder was at first an Henry Jones Jr. clone but then things changed.  Maybe it was the dinosaurs?  Maybe it was the fact that he was always looking for treasure?

But now its easy for me to view the two as something neither one seems to have ever had; friendly competition.  Johnny Thunder could even be a bad influence on Indy.  Indiana is primarily an archeologist.  He is trying to get treasure for his museum.  Heck, he spends a lot of his time as a professor.  

Johnny, now ole Johnny is a treasure hunter.  He's in it for the gold.  At least, thats what he'll tell you.  And if he ends up selling his score to a museum for a steal instead of letting his enemies sell it to 'private collectors' and the black market for a big payday, well, thats because the majority of the fun is in the hunt.  

Indy sees the lost ark as an incredible biblical artifact and is scared of snakes.  Johnny hopes the ark is surrounded by gold and gaurded by giant undead spiders.  Both would scoff at the notion that they enjoy the other's company or at times look up to each other.  Both would team up at the drop of a fedora-type hat if it means stopping nazis, black marketers, or even just some snob they don't like.   And when they go for the same prize, they both get a little bit more crazy but its not like they're trying to kill each other like their enemies often do.

And both roll their eyes at the animosity between Pippen and Marion.  Pippen thinks its unladylike that Marion can drink Johnny under the table.  Marion views Pippen as a sheltered prude who only craves dange until her nails get dirty.  It doesn't help the Johnny and Indy always seem to be trying to impress both of them (but only when the other guy is around).  Maybe the two women just need to get to know one another better.

So, do I think Indy will now star in a lot of kid's Adventures?  Yes?    But I think he and Johnny are good foils for each other and continued stories as well.  

And that discounts the story and building possibilities where one of them is the older mentor to the other.

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#3 zouave

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:34 AM

While Indy may hold the door shut on Johnny now, I'm sure we can expect to see Johnny again.  Eventually the Indy theme will die out and a bit later Lego will be looking for an exciting theme that thrills kids.  They'll bring Johnny back out in some new afventure.

#4 gylman

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 04:13 AM

It's hard to believe that Johnny and Indiana Jones can co-exist in the LEGO lineup.


So, the Adventurers are done for at least 3 years.

Depending on how successful Indiana Jones will be, the Adventurers may be done for much longer. Personally, I think drawing an analogy between Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises is false. I predict Indiana Jones will have nowhere near the success of Star Wars. Not even close.   However, he may close the door on Johnny forever, and I think that's a terrible shame.

IMHO, except for the truck and Jeep (Race for the Stolen Treasure), the Indiana Jones sets are inferior to Adventurers sets so far. Adventurers vehicles always sucked, and LEGO did a much better job with the Indiana Jones ones.

Meh. It's depressing to think about it.

#5 snefroe

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 08:33 AM

johnny has been replaced by Indy, it's that simple. Lego is using this particular license to boost sales, especially in the US. They're trying to use a well known name in American culture to put themselves back on the map. Not a bed idea if you realise Lego sales have been going down in 2007 in Europe and the US. So no Johnny Thunder anymore and i don't expect him back...

#6 Col. Whipstick

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 09:51 AM

View PostTohst, on Jan 3 2008, 09:51 PM, said:

I will admit that Johnny Thunder was at first an Henry Jones Jr. clone but then things changed.  Maybe it was the dinosaurs?  Maybe it was the fact that he was always looking for treasure?

But now its easy for me to view the two as something neither one seems to have ever had; friendly competition.  Johnny Thunder could even be a bad influence on Indy.  Indiana is primarily an archeologist.  He is trying to get treasure for his museum.  Heck, he spends a lot of his time as a professor.  

Johnny, now ole Johnny is a treasure hunter.  He's in it for the gold.  At least, thats what he'll tell you.  And if he ends up selling his score to a museum for a steal instead of letting his enemies sell it to 'private collectors' and the black market for a big payday, well, thats because the majority of the fun is in the hunt.  

Indy sees the lost ark as an incredible biblical artifact and is scared of snakes.  Johnny hopes the ark is surrounded by gold and gaurded by giant undead spiders.  Both would scoff at the notion that they enjoy the other's company or at times look up to each other.  Both would team up at the drop of a fedora-type hat if it means stopping nazis, black marketers, or even just some snob they don't like.   And when they go for the same prize, they both get a little bit more crazy but its not like they're trying to kill each other like their enemies often do.

And both roll their eyes at the animosity between Pippen and Marion.  Pippen thinks its unladylike that Marion can drink Johnny under the table.  Marion views Pippen as a sheltered prude who only craves dange until her nails get dirty.  It doesn't help the Johnny and Indy always seem to be trying to impress both of them (but only when the other guy is around).  Maybe the two women just need to get to know one another better.

So, do I think Indy will now star in a lot of kid's Adventures?  Yes?    But I think he and Johnny are good foils for each other and continued stories as well.  

And that discounts the story and building possibilities where one of them is the older mentor to the other.

-Tohst

Well it's nice to see someone else sees the possibility of merging the two, atleast in Lego Culture.  I have quite a bit of Adventurer stuff and will be buying Indy so perhaps when I get the chance I'll make movies with both of them...  On the score of franchises, imagine if Lego had brought in Lara Croft, then the adventures would get really complicated.  I see what you mean about Johnny though, he is a bit more of a lovable roguish treasure hunter.  Personally although I may be a bit influenced by the Stever Irwin thing Johnny does or could have a slightly greener edge to him than Indy.  Perhaps now the star of the show on archeology is back Johnny might find some sort of environmentalism to keep him busy, he does have that Alan Quartermaine, Crocodile Dundee feel to me anyway.


View Postgylman, on Jan 4 2008, 04:13 AM, said:

It's hard to believe that Johnny and Indiana Jones can co-exist in the LEGO lineup.
So, the Adventurers are done for at least 3 years.

Depending on how successful Indiana Jones will be, the Adventurers may be done for much longer. Personally, I think drawing an analogy between Indiana Jones and Star Wars franchises is false. I predict Indiana Jones will have nowhere near the success of Star Wars. Not even close.   However, he may close the door on Johnny forever, and I think that's a terrible shame.

IMHO, except for the truck and Jeep (Race for the Stolen Treasure), the Indiana Jones sets are inferior to Adventurers sets so far. Adventurers vehicles always sucked, and LEGO did a much better job with the Indiana Jones ones.

Meh. It's depressing to think about it.

I'd agree, Indiana Jones won't be as big as Star Wars, the original films never quite were.  I was never exactly blown away with the new Star Wars films because to me Lucas sold out too much to the younger audience.  Episode One looks like it was produced by Disney rather than Lucasfilm and the choice of actor for an older Anakin was diabolical to say the least not to mention the scripts were rife with pointless hashings and token refferences and appearances.  All in all they were worth watching but don't compare a sniff to the original 3 for old school me.  Now I hope and prey that the new Indy won't be the same and if the time setting, script etc is anything to go by it won't be and the fourth film should stay loyal to the look and feel of the old three.

The Adventurers do seem to have more elaborate sets and scenery and the variety of that scenery, whilst Indy has the better vehicles and it's not unlike a kind of Jurassic Park motor club.

#7 gylman

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 02:40 PM

View Postsnefroe, on Jan 4 2008, 08:33 AM, said:

...Lego sales have been going down in 2007 in Europe and the US.


Is there LEGO sales information on 2007?  I'm always very curious about that sort of stuff

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 03:13 PM

View PostCol. Whipstick, on Jan 3 2008, 09:21 PM, said:

Then there's Lord Sam Sinister - certainly a token refference to the likes of Belloc etc.

i think its spelled Belloq!

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#9 jedikermit

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 05:32 PM

Hasn't Johnny been ancient history for a while now?  When was the last Johnny Thunder set produced?
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#10 gylman

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 05:40 PM

The last was Orient Expedition in 2003.  Most people thought Johnny was done after that, but the diehards held out hope (and wrote innumerable emails to LEGO) until Indiana Jones came along, and then we knew Johnny was dead.

#11 Tanotrooper

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 05:46 PM

well, the Indy license probaply won't go as far as SW, since there are only 4 movies to cover. As much as I love the Indy line, I don't think it will last for more than 3-4 years, simply because there isn't that much to cover. After this year, what we have left of possible things are:
-1ste movie: perhaps 2 more sets, but then everything is covered...
-2nd movie: the temple itself, some other sets, perhaps about 4-5 sets?
-3rd movie: (let me remember, it's a while ago) zeppelin, (book burning  :-P ), perhaps 2-3 more sets.
-4th movie: ???

If there are going to be 2 waves a year, this license will be used up fast. But I really like those Germans and Soviets  *wub*

Johhny, on the other hand, has still a lot of cultures and places to explore:
-Rome
-Greece
-Arabia
-Norse cultures
-Atlantis?
-...

These could also offer parts wich can be used for different timelines, and so will attract much people...

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#12 Athos

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 06:23 PM

I'm afraid JT is probably gone. Though I don't think Indy can last too very long. There are only four movies and they'll run out of sets before too long. I give it 5 years at the most. Then we'll probably have a dry period and then maybe (and that's a big maybe) JT will return... or, if Indy is a rampaging success, we'll get sets from the Young Indy Chronicles... or the video games?

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#13 Lord Thrawn

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 06:26 PM

Isn't it possible that if Indy sets are successes then LEGO will save money by not renewing the license and then bring back Johnny because they both fulfil the same niche?

#14 Vader

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:15 PM

View Postjedikermit, on Jan 4 2008, 05:32 PM, said:

Hasn't Johnny been ancient history for a while now?  When was the last Johnny Thunder set produced?

Yep so i don't see how Indy can be blamed for us not getting any new JT sets, lego hasn't even gone near the line for 4yrs now.

Obviously lego won't make Indy and JT lines at the same time, but there's always hope for the future if your a JT fan. For me the good thing about both lines is that they could be used for each other, the Indy figs will fit right in with all JT sets and vice versa.

#15 Athos

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:37 PM

View PostLord Thrawn, on Jan 4 2008, 06:26 PM, said:

Isn't it possible that if Indy sets are successes then LEGO will save money by not renewing the license and then bring back Johnny because they both fulfil the same niche?

I doubt they'll do that, because it would cost LucasArts money, by way of licensing fees, which would make LucasArts mad and might endanger the StarWars license.

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#16 Joey Lock

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:50 PM

View PostTanotrooper, on Jan 4 2008, 05:46 PM, said:

well, the Indy license probaply won't go as far as SW, since there are only 4 movies to cover. As much as I love the Indy line, I don't think it will last for more than 3-4 years, simply because there isn't that much to cover. After this year, what we have left of possible things are:
-1ste movie: perhaps 2 more sets, but then everything is covered...
-2nd movie: the temple itself, some other sets, perhaps about 4-5 sets?
-3rd movie: (let me remember, it's a while ago) zeppelin, (book burning  :-P ), perhaps 2-3 more sets.
-4th movie: ???

If there are going to be 2 waves a year, this license will be used up fast. But I really like those Germans and Soviets  *wub*

Johhny, on the other hand, has still a lot of cultures and places to explore:
-Rome
-Greece
-Arabia
-Norse cultures
-Atlantis?
-...

These could also offer parts wich can be used for different timelines, and so will attract much people...

TT

Since Indiana Jones was a movie and Johnny Thunder is a no Licence then it should carry on.
If Indiana Jones turns out to be a big succsess then Lego might consider to make Johnny again!
I dont think there will be A Zepplin
If there is its gonna be pretty small, It wasnt a very big scene. Also I do hope they bring back Johnny Thunder but Norse? I dont think legos gonna go there and arabias kinda been done in Orient Expedition If you class the Turban guys as Arabs. Rome, yeah i guess and Greece.. Pretty much the same thing!

I think lego will make johnny go to the most exictng places like Atlantis and mabye a Johnny Thunder in America with Indians!  :-D  That would be fun since the Indians in Western was a short lived theme.

Edited by Joey Lock, 04 January 2008 - 07:54 PM.

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#17 blueandwhite

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:53 PM

I've always seen Johnny Thunder as the poor man's Indiana Jones.  Now that LEGO has actually put up some cash and picked up the Indy licence, I simply don't see a place for LEGO's knockoff hero.  The way I see it is, Indy can easly be placed in other adventures that go beyond the four movies, much like some of the newer Star Wars sets that draw on the expanded universe.  There simply isn't a place for Johnny Thunder right now.

#18 Joey Lock

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:58 PM

View Postblueandwhite, on Jan 4 2008, 07:53 PM, said:

I've always seen Johnny Thunder as the poor man's Indiana Jones.  Now that LEGO has actually put up some cash and picked up the Indy licence, I simply don't see a place for LEGO's knockoff hero.  The way I see it is, Indy can easly be placed in other adventures that go beyond the four movies, much like some of the newer Star Wars sets that draw on the expanded universe.  There simply isn't a place for Johnny Thunder right now.

I realise what you say but making mini Lego Indiana Jones Adventures...No way
I dont belive lego will do something like that.

But lego could make Young Indiana Jones Chronicles like Masks of Evil

Edited by Joey Lock, 04 January 2008 - 08:00 PM.

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#19 snefroe

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 07:58 PM

View PostLord Thrawn, on Jan 4 2008, 07:26 PM, said:

Isn't it possible that if Indy sets are successes then LEGO will save money by not renewing the license and then bring back Johnny because they both fulfil the same niche?
i don't think it's a logical decision to first release Indy sets and then later on JT sets. In that case, they should have started with JT sets and drop Indy all together. Lego's ways of taking decisions is often weird, and success does not always assure the continuation of a line. Vikings was successfull too, but was dropped after 2 years and a handfull of sets...

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Is there LEGO sales information on 2007? I'm always very curious about that sort of stuff

well i read in our newspaper today that Lego's sales in the US and Europe are stagnant at best. I was surprised to read that though. the shelves have been practically empty for a week now, well, except for MM sets. They're still here in large quantities, but most of city and sw is gone... AND, Lego is a BIG hype in Russia and Eastern Europe... that's their potential market. wonder how that will impact their strategy in the future.

#20 gylman

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 08:16 PM

Of course LEGO is stagnant in Europe. The market is fully saturated.
Eastern Europe and Russia are partially penentrated and not large enough markets.

LEGO sales growth is going to come from China mostly, and the rest of Asia. This enormous unpenetrated market will totally dwarf anything in Europe, and LEGO brand name recognition gives TLC a huge advantage.  

Increasingly affluent and foreign brands carry special cachet  (see this article - Chinese parents prefer foreign made toys

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#21 jedikermit

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Posted 04 January 2008 - 08:19 PM

View Postblueandwhite, on Jan 4 2008, 12:53 PM, said:

I've always seen Johnny Thunder as the poor man's Indiana Jones.  Now that LEGO has actually put up some cash and picked up the Indy licence, I simply don't see a place for LEGO's knockoff hero.

Ditto.  That's how I've always seen JT too.  

I also wonder...will there be a 5th Indiana Jones movie?  If this one does well, I can see Lucas, Spielberg and Ford getting onboard again for another installment.
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#22 the enigma that is badger

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 04:49 AM

View Postblueandwhite, on Jan 4 2008, 01:53 PM, said:

I've always seen Johnny Thunder as the poor man's Indiana Jones.  Now that LEGO has actually put up some cash and picked up the Indy licence, I simply don't see a place for LEGO's knockoff hero.
Frankly, I'd disagree with this statement.  True, JT and Indy share common themes, but only due to the fact they both pull from the same source material: pulp of the 1930s and 40s.  Should you say JT is a "rip off" of Indy, rest assured that Allan Quatermain or Doc Savage would be tapping on your shoulder soon enough.

Of course, that isn't to say that Indy bringing 30s pulp elements into the public consciousness didn't at all influence TLCs decision to base a line on this theme but to make a 1:1 correlation between Indy and JT frankly shows a lack of appreciation of the inspirations behind the Indiana Jones series.

View Postblueandwhite, on Jan 4 2008, 01:53 PM, said:

The way I see it is, Indy can easly be placed in other adventures that go beyond the four movies, much like some of the newer Star Wars sets that draw on the expanded universe.
Keep in mind, however, it was only after several years of SW sets did TLC begin to venture outside of the film continuity for sets.  I'd also debate the viability of "EU" Indy sets.  The Indiana Jones character is well-established in the public mind as existing in those three (soon to be four) films, unlike Star Wars that has always had a very strong presence outside of the films (comic books, novels, videogames, and the like).  True, Indy has had some nonfilm media, but nothing approaching the kind of volume SW had on the market.  As such, I can easily picture the average TLC buyer (particuarly parents) picking up a nonfilm Indy set and saying "I don't rememer this," and being somewhat turned off.  

That was the fun of the JT theme: it could pull from any of the 30s pulp elements without any boundaries.  Trip to India?  Why not!  Dinosaur adventures?  Worked for The Lost World!  Aside from a fantastic variety of new elements, part of the fun of the JT line was where JT and his companions would end up next.  

I wasn't a huge fan of the idea of Indy sets, but what's been produced thus far I like.  The prototype sets for Indy 4 look like a good start as well, but I, for one, still hold a place in my heart of JT.

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#23 Wout

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 07:56 PM

View Postjedikermit, on Jan 4 2008, 09:19 PM, said:

I also wonder...will there be a 5th Indiana Jones movie?  If this one does well, I can see Lucas, Spielberg and Ford getting onboard again for another installment.

If I know Lucas good enough there will also be a 6th movie :-P  X-D
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#24 the enigma that is badger

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 08:38 PM

View PostWout, on Jan 5 2008, 01:56 PM, said:

If I know Lucas good enough there will also be a 6th movie :-P  X-D
However, for another Indy film to occur, it would require the mutual consent of Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford.  Given the fact this lastest film had a somewhat torturous development history in terms of getting all three of those individuals to agree to a script as well as working out scheduling issues, a fifth Indy film would like entail the same kind of difficulties.

Of course, if Indy 4 makes an extremely large box office, that couldn't help to grease the wheels a bit  ;-)

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#25 Johnny 5

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Posted 06 January 2008 - 07:35 AM

View Postthe enigma that is badger, on Jan 5 2008, 02:38 PM, said:

However, for another Indy film to occur, it would require the mutual consent of Lucas, Spielberg, and Ford.  Given the fact this lastest film had a somewhat torturous development history in terms of getting all three of those individuals to agree to a script as well as working out scheduling issues, a fifth Indy film would like entail the same kind of difficulties.

Of course, if Indy 4 makes an extremely large box office, that couldn't help to grease the wheels a bit  ;-)

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Or they continue the franchise with Shia Lebouf.
Why else would they introduce his son, and with an up and coming actor like him.



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