19 Whip-Cracking Facts You Never Knew About Indiana Jones

Flukes and scoops in honor of Indy’s just-announced fifth adventure.

The Indiana Jones team of producer George Lucas, director Steven Spielberg, and star Harrison Ford have just announced that they’re all back on board for a fifth big-screen adventure featuring the fedora-wearing, bullwhip-wielding archaeologist. The new film, which doesn’t yet have a title beyond Indiana Jones and the [Something of Something], will hit theaters on July 19, 2019.

To herald the arrival of a new globetrotting Indy epic, here are 19 facts, figures, and pulse-pounding inside stories about the most thrilling action franchise the movies has ever sent hurtling toward audiences like an ancient tribe’s giant-boulder-turned-burglar-alarm.

1. In 1981, Harrison Ford was 39 years old when he debuted as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. When the new film arrives, he’ll be 77.

2. To date, four actors have officially portrayed Indiana Jones. On the big screen, Harrison Ford is the most familiar, while River Phoenix cameos as teenaged Indy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. For the 1992-93 ABC series, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, Sean Patrick Flannery donned the fedora to play Indiana from ages 17 to 21, while George Hall portrayed an elderly version of the character in the show’s wraparound segments.

3. Originally, the character was called Indiana Smith, and he was named after George Lucas’s Alaskan malamute, the same big, lovable dog that inspired Chewbacca and the Wookiees in Star Wars. Steven Spielberg changed the surname simply because he thought “Jones” sounded more distinctive than “Smith.”

4. The filmmakers’ first choice to portray Jones was actor and political activist, Peter Coyote, best known for portraying the kindly government scientist in E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).

5. After the studio rejected Coyote for not being a box office draw, Tom Selleck won the lead in Raiders. Fortunately for Harrison Ford, CBS refused to give Selleck the necessary time off from shooting his new hit series, Magnum, P.I. Footage exists of Selleck acting out Raiders scenes in full costume and character, and he certainly seems up to the job.

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