If there’s something Indiana Jones hates more than snakes, it’s Nazis. Ever since Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Harrison Ford’s hero has been fighting Hitler’s hordes – thwarting their plans, brawling with them, or even just letting them be hoisted by their own petard when meddling with ancient mythical relics. Given that the upcoming (as-yet-untitled) Indiana Jones 5 is set decades after the events of World War II, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Indy might have a different enemy this time around. But while much is new in the upcoming blockbuster, some things never change: if Indiana Jones is back in action, so too are some familiar fearsome forces.
Empire can reveal that Indiana Jones 5 finds our hero in 1969, living against the backdrop of the space race – but the American effort to beat the Russians to the moon brings with it some uncomfortable truths for Indy. “The simple fact is that the moon-landing program was run by a bunch of ex-Nazis,” Indiana Jones 5 co-writer (and acclaimed British playwright) Jez Butterworth tells Empire. “How ‘ex’ they are is the question. And it gets up Indy’s nose…” Pitching Indiana – a man always looking to the secrets of the Earth rather than the stars – into the era of the astronaut finds him even more a man out of time. “It’s not just that the model of what a hero is has completely changed,” says Butterworth. “It’s not just that they’re looking for something where there’s nothing up there – it’s like Reno without the gambling, or whatever his line is. But the people that are behind it are, you know, his sworn enemies.”
Enter Mads Mikkelsen’s villainous Voller – see above – inspired partly by real-life Nazi-turned-NASA-engineer Wernher von Braun. “He’s a man who would like to correct some of the mistakes of the past,” teases Mikkelsen of Voller. “There is something that could make the world a much better place to live in. He would love to get his hands on it. Indiana Jones wants to get his hands on it as well. And so, we have a story.”
It’s a story that blends fact, fiction, fedoras and fascists – including a major action set-piece set at the Apollo 11 ticker tape parade in New York, thrown to celebrate the astronauts on 13 August 1969. The sequence not only sees Boyd Holbrook’s nefarious Klaber (“I’m a lapdog to Mads, and a crazy one at that,” the actor says) caught up in the middle of the historic celebration – see above – but also provided the inspiration for Empire’s exclusive subscriber cover art, illustrated by Sam Hadley (and not based on an actual moment from the film).
Prepare to discover more about the past, present and future of Indiana Jones, with more exclusives to come from Empire very soon. Empire’s world-exclusive Indiana Jones 5 issue – packed with the very first images and interviews, speaking to Harrison Ford, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Shaunette Renée Wilson, Boyd Holbrook, Jez and John-Henry Butterworth, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Simon Emanuel – hits newsstands on Thursday 24 November. Pre-order a copy online here.
Indiana Jones 5 comes to UK cinemas on 30 June 2023.