Harrison Ford will start filming his last adventure as bad-boy archeologist Indiana Jones in April of next year, but director Steven Spielberg says that after that, Henry Jones Jr. could become a woman. This week, Spielberg said he’s cool with Indy being a woman, but made a baffling comment on changing the character’s last name to “Joan.”
Both the Sun and the Hollywood Reporter claimed that Spielberg thinks that after the last Indinana Jones film with Harrison Ford, that the character could easily be played by a woman. But, for some reason, Spielberg undercut this totally normal statement by saying “We’d have to change the name from Jones to Joan. And there would be nothing wrong with that.” What? Why would Indiana Jones need to have a different last name just because the character was female? If anything, the name “Indiana Jones” doesn’t scream a gender either way. In fact, guess what Speilberg? I’ve worked with more than one woman named “Indiana.”
Gender-swapped famous characters don’t need “feminized” names, no more than original characters need overly “masculcine” or “feminine” names. Take a look at Michael Burnham from Star Trek: Discovery. Was this woman’s name being “Michael” a problem for anyone? Nope. How about Bill Potts on Doctor Who? Again, a non-issue. Names of fictional superheroes don’t need to be gendered unless that is somehow relevant to who the character is in that story.
It’s great and all that Spielberg can see a world in which Indy is a woman. It echoes what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told Inverse last year about the future of Sherlock Holmes. “It doesn’t matter what race, gender, or nationality the new Sherlocks are. Perhaps the next one will be transgender, or an alien, or an android.” And this could be true of Indy, too.
The exact direction of the next Indiana Jones movie is unclear. After the less-than-stellar reception of the fourth film — Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Cyststal Skull — many fans wondered if it was even worth it for Lucasfilm to try and creat another Jones film.
But, Harrison Ford and Spielberg — and probably George Lucas — are clearly determined to send the fedora-wearing whipper-snapper off into the sunset once again. And if Indy returns from that sunset after 2020, hopefully she won’t have changed that name one bit.