'Indiana Jones 5' Will Return In 2020 Without Shia LaBeouf's Mutt

Shia LaBeouf won't inherit be the heir apparent to Harrison Ford's whip-wielding archaeologist after all.

LaBeouf's character Mutt Williams, who was the secret son of Indiana Jones and Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood, won't appear in Indiana Jones 5 at all after the character's lackluster reception in the widely maligned Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Now it's a matter of finding out how long Ford is willing to continue donning the fedora, or whether a new "successor" will be introduced — one who doesn't have quite a grating energy.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull heralded an unlikely return for Ford as the globetrotting archaeologist, hitting theaters nearly 19 years after the third film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. While it featured familiar faces like Ford and Allen, it also introduced an unfamiliar face (though a little too familiar to those following the Transformers franchise) in the form of LaBeouf's Mutt Williams. The character was propped up as the young, strapping successor to Ford's aging Indy, though LaBeouf's hyperactive performance was as far removed from Indy as could be. Needless to say, his introduction was not warmly received, with many blaming LaBeouf for the sequel's failures.

So for Indiana Jones 5, it seems that LaBeouf will simply be removed from the equation.

The confirmation comes courtesy of screenwriter David Koepp, who is currently working on the fifth Indiana Jones film. Koepp told Entertainment Weekly:

"Harrison plays Indiana Jones, that I can certainly say. And the Shia LaBeouf character is not in the film."

This poses an intriguing crossroads for the franchise, as Kingdom of the Crystal Skull teasingly set up LaBeouf's character as the lead of the series once Ford hangs the whip. The closing scene even featured the iconic fedora flying away and landing at Mutt's feet before Indiana quickly places it back on his own head. It's a relief to see Ford back in the role, but with the actor pushing 75, it's questionable how long he can keep up the physically grueling role. Perhaps the new script will introduce a new, less polarizing character to don the fedora — or Steven Spielberg and co., may reboot The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles again.

Koepp was coy about the status of the script, telling EW, "We're plugging away at it." He hinted that the plot involves "some precious artifact that they're all looking for" throughout the film. With the film's release date slated for 2020, time is ticking for Spielberg and Ford to start production of the film, both of whom are confirmed to return alongside producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. Koepp said:

"I know we've got a script we're mostly happy with. Work will be endless, of course, and ongoing, and Steven just finished shooting The Post .... If the stars align, hopefully it'll be his next film."

Indiana Jones 5, still untitled, is slated to hit theaters on July 10, 2020.