Cast announcements for Indiana Jones 5 have been rolling out for weeks, but what does it all mean? Most visibly, there will be two new female characters, which is a record high for the franchise. The brilliant mind behind Fleabag, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, will reportedly play a large role and Shaunette Renée Wilson of Black Panther and The Resident will play a supporting role. One can only speculate on the nature of their characters, but we can see what roles they thrive in.
Meet The Actresses
Waller-Bridge is a smart woman. Some (like me) would call Fleabag genius and others may call it good TV. Waller-Bridge wrote this dark comedy as a one-woman stage show, and through popular and critical acclaim it was picked up for TV. Again, Fleabag’s script was written by and starring Waller-Bridge, showing off her razor-sharp wit and comedic timing. Both season one and two were wildly successful, earning Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. So Waller-Bridge is talented, but what else? She played the unremarkable Droid L3-37 in the underwhelming Solo film, but that’s it for blockbuster roles. Hopefully director James Mangold can showcase Waller-Bridge’s quick wit Indiana Jones 5.
Shaunette Renée Wilson has the range to play anyone in Indiana Jones 5. She is best known for playing Doctor Mina Okafor in medical drama The Resident and then a fearsome Dora Milaje warrior in Black Panther. Wilson was born in Guyana and raised in New York, later attending Yale school of Drama. She primarily acted in stage and screen dramas until her supporting role in Marvel’s Black Panther, and her experience as a Dora Milaje warrior lends credit to her stunt and combat skills. While it’s unlikely she’ll be using a bo staff, MCU choreography training should translate well to just about anything. She has the prestigious education, the acting range, and the martial arts experience to embody the franchise’s next standout character.
The Track Record
Indiana Jones is a charming guy, and throughout four films he romanced three of four female characters. Each of his beaus fall within typical cinema tropes, Marion Ravenwood is an old-school ‘cool girl’ with her effortless good looks and ‘masculine’ traits like heavy drinking, competitive nature, and crass language. Willie Scott plays the typical ‘girly girl’ and her aversion to the outdoors and new foods provides endless comedy. Dr. Shnider is, of course, the fem fatale. She’s smart, gorgeous, sexy, seemingly submissive, and plotting Indy’s downfall at every turn. Despite her deception, Dr. Snider still begs for Indiana’s love before falling to her doom. Now that Harrison Ford is 78, Indy won’t likely have a romance between Waller-Bridges or Wilson’s character…hopefully 43-year age gaps are outdated.
Crystal Skull featured Irina Spalko, a Soviet ego-maniac. She and Jones had no flirtations, and instead Spalko’s aggressive hunt for the crystal skull bewilders Jones. Like most Indiana Jones villains, she dies in the flames of her own hubris.
Who will these two new characters be? What role in the future Indiana Jones franchise will they play? If any? For now, all we know is both women have the acting chops to knock Indiana Jones 5 out of the park.