Indiana Jones 5 and the fake film rumours

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones
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Indiana Jones 5 has been kept largely under wraps so far – but it’s not stopped clickbait rumours from gaining prominence, as we discover.


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Warning: This article mentions rumoured plot points for the upcoming fifth Indiana Jones film and debunks them. However, there are a couple of matters of discussion that reveal certain elements you may want to avoid.

When a film goes into production, especially on a big franchise, the fans can go into overdrive – speculating on the plot based on nothing more than on-set photos. It would be fair to say that the internet has turned this into something of a sport.

Indiana Jones 5, as it’s currently called at the time of writing, has of course been a target for this kind of internet chatter. With the film starting production in the summer of 2021, most notably in London, Glasgow and Yorkshire, there were plenty of photographers with long lenses taking photos of Harrison Ford at every opportunity.

These photographs end up all over the web, and because of the huge fandom of Indiana Jones and Harrison Ford, they also end up on various news sites around the world. It’s not uncommon for the attached story to usually include a description of the scene being filmed with minor details coming from “an inside source.” In terms of set photo reports, this term is allegedly the journalist creatively adding more to the story than there actually is.

There’s another set of people who try to deceive the fans by faking photos and images of supposed secrets which are not yet to be revealed. These images are purportedly taken by the various crew members working on the production. Just after principal production began on the fifth Indiana Jones, two photos started doing the rounds.

One was a title reveal, an image suggesting the film was called Indiana Jones And The Empire Of Evil. Director James Mangold was asked directly on Twitter to verify this, to which he quickly replied, “FALSE!” If the picture was real, the title may just be a generic placeholder. It’s not uncommon for films to have fake titles during production to try and throw off the scent of would-be snoopers.

For example, Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi was filmed under the title of ‘Blue Harvest: Horror Beyond Imagination’ and Batman Begins used the name ‘Rory’s First Kiss.’

The second picture looked to be a collection of concept art and upon first viewing it looks very authentic. They even have a picture of Mads Mikkelsen, who was confirmed to be part of the cast at the time, as a Nazi officer. However, this was revealed to be fake when a bell-shaped Nazi device in the image was revealed to be someone’s 3D computer model which they created after being inspired from the Wolfenstein series of videock in 2015. Also, the two pictures of the Nazi-themed UFOs from the bottom centre were taken from Turbosquid, a website that sells digital 3D models.

In a move far less deceiving, many people like to create fake posters of upcoming films or even films they would like to see. In January 2022, one artist created a poster for what they called ‘Indiana Jones and the Lunar Paradox’ based on what was known. No one claimed it was the first official poster but it apparently took one cinema manager in Warwick, Rhode Island by surprise. They seemingly had a copy printed and put it up for display in the cinema foyer! (image source is here).

A picture of a fake Indiana Jones 5 poster hung in a cinema foyer.

Returning back to the subject of the on-set photos that arrived during the summer of 2021, there was one suggestion that holds water, particularly from a sequence shot in Yorkshire. CGI will be used to de-age Harrison Ford back to his younger self.

Also, during filming in Sicily, Harrison Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge were seen reacting to a group of Roman gladiators. If this is correct, there can only be one logical explanation, Indiana Jones 5 will feature an element of time travel (possibly).

Yet one prominent YouTuber, who I won’t name for obvious reasons revealed later, has been creating some quite different theories about the plot of Indiana Jones 5.

His source revealed that at the start of the film – set in the 1960s, which matches the officially revealed information – Indiana Jones is visited by three men who claim to be fans and are asking after three specific artifacts. After they leave, Phoebe WallerBridge, who the YouTuber alleges is playing his assistant, asks about the same artifacts.

The outline of the plot continues. Indiana takes her to the relevant museum stacks and shows her what the men were asking about. The three men come back and a fight ensues which ends with the artifacts being stolen with Indiana and his assistant giving chase. The three men end up at a location very much in the style of Stonehenge and use the three stolen artifacts to perform a ritual which opens up a portal. The three men jump though, followed by Indiana and after some hesitation, his assistant finally follows as well.

Indiana and his assistant find themselves back in time, sometime during World War II. It is here that the 1960’s Indiana Jones will meet up with his younger self and together, they will beat the bad guys.

He finishes the rumoured plot by discussing two endings which are allegedly under consideration at the time of recording. The first would have 1960’s Indiana Jones die at the film’s end. The second choice is that the younger Indiana Jones will also die alongside his older self. His assistant (Phoebe Waller Bridge) will pick up the famous fedora hat and become the new Indiana Jones moving forward with the franchise.

We’ll pause here if you want to process that ending for a moment.

If that didn’t already raise your concerns about whether or not this is true, the YouTuber reminds you that the film is being produced by Kathleen Kennedy and then proceeds to attack her with language that I won’t repeat in this article.

Further videos relating to Indiana Jones also mention that the year-long delay to its release was for extensive reshoots, because no one is happy with whatever version of the story they can create. Allegedly, so much footage was shot, you could make multiple versions of the film similar to a choose your own adventure book.

Another story involves the number of endings being considered. The newer rumours have now claimed there are as many as seven filmed endings with test audiences hating every option. Apparently, the highest test score given by the audience for any one of these endings was a mere 35%.

Other rumour highlights include Disney dumping the film onto Disney+ or even scrapping the film altogether because it is in such a mess and cannot be salvaged.

It all seems to pour more fuel onto the internet’s already burning furnace of profiting from incorrect rumours, so hopefully you’ll understand why this piece doesn’t name names. But also, it’s telling that some of the rumours appear to cut through unchallenged. The user in question has almost 300,000 followers and several mainstream media outlets such as – sigh – the Daily Mail are picking up on these ridiculous stories and running with them online. Anything for clickbait, right?

This all came to a head recently in several further Tweets from the Indiana Jones 5 director James Mangold. As with rumours, not everyone knows where they started and Mangold has come under fire from several fans asking if any of this is true, which, unsurprisingly, he quite quickly shot down.

Here he debunks what is apparently a review written from a test screening where the author gives the film a score of 2 out of 10.

Mangold further denies that there have been any Indiana Jones 5 test screenings and this was backed up by the producer, Frank Marshall.

One Twitter user even confronted Mangold, telling him directly that he is wrong and the YouTuber is right. The reply says it all.

Sadly, despite these confirmations, which are the closest to being official without coming from Disney itself, some still side with the anonymous user in question. 

And that’s the environment filmmakers are facing. Aside from stuff that’s landed in the new issue of Empire, they have the choice of engaging with a lot of this, or keeping their film under wraps. Most go for preserving the secrets of their movies, and in the absence of official confirmation, ‘alternative facts’ have a habit of become headlines, no matter where they come from.

The best idea? It remains to wait until June 2023 when we can finally watch the fifth and final Indiana Jones cinematic adventure for ourselves. Unless that aforementioned cinema in Rhode Island already has a print…

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