How Did 'Indiana Jones 5' Make Harrison Ford Look 40 Years Younger?

De-aging technology in 'Indiana Jones 5'
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in the 'Indiana Jones' franchiseCredit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
A young Harrison Ford will return in Indiana Jones 5 through this de-aging effect. 

De-aging has become a staple in Hollywood cinema, with filmmakers returning well-known actors with lengthy careers to their youth for flashback scenes like in The Irishman or for wild sci-fi action films like Gemini Man

Now, Indiana Jones 5 will be taking the titular character, played by Harrison Ford, back to his glory days. The de-aged visual effect was confirmed when the first images from the film debuted exclusively in Empire magazine, showing Indiana Jones as we remember him from the original trilogy. 

The de-aging technology is only used in the film’s opening scene, which is set in a castle in 1944 and pits Indiana against a group of Nazis. The goal was to make the opening scene feel like “found footage” that “they shot 40 years ago.” 

De-aging technology in 'Indiana Jones 5'
'Indiana Jones 5'Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

“...[T]he audience doesn’t experience the change between the ‘40s and ‘60s as an intellectual conceit, but literally experiences the buccaneering spirit of those early days… and then the beginning of now,” said director James Mangold, who is taking over directing duties on the franchise from Steven Spielberg

According to Empire magazine, several techniques were used to pull off the de-aging effect. By using a new ILM software, archived material of a younger Harrison Ford could be integrated and matched to the new footage. On set, Ford wore the original brown leather jackets from Raiders of the Lost Ark and had the motion capture dots placed on his face for the visual effect. 

"My hope is that, although it will be talked about in terms of technology, you just watch it and go, 'Oh my God, they just found footage. This was a thing they shot 40 years ago,'" said producer Kathleen Kennedy. "We’re dropping you into an adventure, something Indy is looking for, and instantly you have that feeling, 'I’m in an Indiana Jones movie.'"

Ford also praised how believable the de-aging in the film looked, saying, "This is the first time I’ve seen it where I believe it. It’s a little spooky. I don’t think I even want to know how it works, but it works."

The de-aging technology is only used for the opening of the movie, while the bulk of Indiana Jones 5 takes place in 1969 against the backdrop of the space race. The film will return to the franchise’s Raiders of the Lost Ark roots by having Indiana face off against ex-Nazis. 

De-aging technology in 'Indiana Jones 5'
'Indiana Jones 5'Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Indiana Jones Joins the Space Race

Indiana Jones 5 will take place during the ‘69 moon landing, with an action sequence confirmed to take place at the Apollo 11 ticker-tape parade in New York. 

With the first look at Mads Mikkelsen’s character, an ex-Nazi now working for NASA named Voller, the actor teased, “[Voller] is a man who would like to correct some of the mistakes of the past. 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.” 

Starring opposite Ford and Mikkelsen in the film are Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Thomas Kretschmann, Boyd Holbrook, Shaunette Rénee Wilson, Toby Jones, Antonio Banderas, and John Rhys-Davies reprising his role from previous films as Indy’s friend Salah. 

The fifth Indiana Jones movie comes during a time when Disney and Lucasfilm are hoping to revive the franchises in a series for Disney+. Disney and Lucasfilm have been bringing up the possibility of a streaming show set in the world of the globe-trotting archaeologist, but nothing is set in stone yet. 

Once Indiana Jones 5 is released in theaters nationwide on June 30, 2023, we will have a clear understanding of the future of the franchise. Will Ford continue the franchise, or could someone else step into the role of the great archaeologist? Or, maybe, we will get more de-aged Ford in the series. 

Let us know what you think in the comments.     

You Might Also Like

Your Comment