UPDATE: Harrison Ford is Severely InjuredThe Dark Herald
Disney’s semi-official leak is that Harrison Ford’s shoulder injury has temporarily halted production for six weeks.
Frankly, official statements are given to sunny optimism. It shouldn’t be forgotten that Ford is seventy-eight no word on whether or not he’s had to have surgery but if WDW Pro is correct then I would bet on it.
According to WDW Pro at Pirates and Princesses Blog, Harrison Ford is down for eight weeks not six. More significantly, according to Pro, the production has been completely shut down. There is no second unit shooting going on, while the star recovers and that is very unusual. Normally when something like this happens you shoot the stuff you don’t need the lead actor for. Unless you are planning to kill the movie.
A complete shutdown means that Bob Cheapek is looking over the budget for this thing and is wondering if there is any point to continuing this. A restart after eight weeks, plus reshoots, plus CGing over whichever stuntman is going to playing Ford, and you are looking at, at least another fifty million, maybe a hundred million or more. That is a huge price to pay for a film that is only being made to give Kathleen Kennedy a chance to go out on a win.
It’s an open secret in Hollywood that she wrecked Star Wars. She is politically connected in Hollywood but there is an upward limit to how much good that can do for someone who killed the golden franchise. She won’t be able to get another job if she doesn’t have a win.
Given the meta-context of the articles in Forbes and Vanity Fair it would appear that Kennedy has been removed from any decision making on the Star Wars franchise. There has been no word on her getting her contract renewed. She had long made it clear that if she was fired she wouldn’t go quietly. The Carrano Firing was enough of a public blunder that she knew she was out no matter how much of a public fit she threw, and she knew it.
Consequently, a deal got made, if she left like a lamb, Disney would fast track Indiana Jones 5 and make it her own personal baby. Which is why I’m not saying Indy 5 is dead as a project just yet, (even if it should be).
However, Bob Chapek is a man with an abacus for a heart. He has to be asking himself how deeply into hock he is willing to go just save Kathleen Kennedy’s face. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull grossed a little under $800 million against a budget of $185 million. Given that the post-Covid-19 theatrical exhibition market still hasn’t recovered, a film that is going to have to now pull down well north of $400 million in the domestic market just to break even, has to be an unnerving proposition.
We may get a definitive answer about Indiana Jones’ future after the numbers are in on Black Widow.
I’ll keep you posted.
POSTSCRIPT: The truth of it is, Harrison Ford didn’t get anywhere near as much blame as he should have for The Force Awakens’ problems.
If you have ever watched the initial press conference for TFA, you will notice one incredibly awkward moment. It’s when Mark Hamill comes out on stage and Harrison Ford is standing there. Hamill has a deer in the headlights look on his face, he has no idea about how he should greet Ford. Ford finally smiles crookedly and gives Hamill a half hug.
Ford was the very last one of the big three to sign on to that project and I’m certain he had two big conditions. One, Solo had to die. Two, he would have no screen time with Mark Hamill and if Luke Skywalker was in this thing at all his screen time had to be under a minute.
That is what made Solo’s death scene so terrible. When you have a death scene for a major character, what matters is the reaction of the people around the character not the character’s reaction to his own demise. You have to have characters that are invested in the one that just croaked. Han Solo needed to die in Luke Skywalker’s arms, and Harrison Ford was too much of a prima donna to permit it.