After six live-action feature films, the Star Wars franchise went animated for a seventh movie, the (surprisingly) less popular The Clone Wars. Could George Lucas's other major property, the Indiana Jones series, do something similar but more successfully?
With this franchise, we've so far seen four features (now available together in a nice Blu-ray pack) plus 22 episodes of a live-action television show. There continues to be talk of a fifth film installment -- last update came from Karen Allen saying Steven Spielberg saying it's all up to Lucas and whether he writes a script (apparently he's not at the moment) -- but with Harrison Ford in his 70s (did you know he has a grandson in college?) and the last sequel being such a disappointment, perhaps there is another way for Lucasfilm to keep churning out the brand and make us fans happy in the process.
Meet Patrick Schoenmaker, an artist gaining a lot of fame today thanks to a recent post by Geek Tyrant that spotlighted his concept drawings for a non-existent Indiana Jones animated series. And they look amazing. The sketches and some of the fully colored images were initially part of a cartoon-style trading card project for Lucasfilm (Schoenmaker also does art for Star Wars Galaxy cards), but he's been making more on his own for fun and posting them on his blog and to a deviantART gallery. Over the summer he even created some background paintings and a very short demo for what an Indy animated series would look like:
That video is only part of what will apparently be a real demo to show Lucas to see if there's an interest in actually doing something with all this work. Could there be a real Indiana Jones animated series that allows us to go back to the character in his prime, fighting Nazis and going on adventures with his dad, Brody and Short Round? With Sean Connery retired, Denholm Elliott dead and Jonathan Ke Quan in his 40s, a live-action alternative to any of that is impossible unless they went the dreaded reboot route. Schoenmaker has, of course, already given us a look at those three characters:
Perhaps as he did with Star Wars, Lucas could put out an animated feature first and then follow with something on one of the cable channels and not entirely aimed at young audiences (not that it would be racy or anything -- just a PG-13 level cartoon). The only issue might be that he still needs to write the stuff, at least as a general storyline. Like with The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, he'd hire a stable of other writers to pen the actual episodes. Speaking of which, there are already some plots conceived for that show's third season that never got fleshed out, so there's already some groundwork. And the rest would just be about weaving stories in and out of the adventures we see in the movies.
Here's the most recent update from Schoenmaker on a shot from the demo:
Join the next discussion on Twiter by following Christopher Campbell (@thefilmcynic) and Movies.com (@Moviesdotcom).