Indiana Jones 5 will feature another returning character – Sallah, played by John Rhys-Davies. Rhys-Davies played Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir in Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1981 and 1989, respectively. Last week, Disney announced that he would be back for a third time at the company's D23 expo.
Indiana Jones 5 has been in the works since at least 2016. It has already been confirmed that Harrison Ford will be returning as the titular hero, and that composer John Williams is on board as well. Director Steven Spielberg was originally expected to direct this installment as well, but according to a report by Comic Book Resources Spielberg stepped down in 2020 to focus on other projects. Still, the excitement at D23 this year proved that fans are still looking forward to this long-awaited sequel.
John Rhys-Davies is 77 today. He is best known to me for portraying the role of Gimli and the voice of Treebeard in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and obviously, Sallah in the Indiana Jones films. Happy birthday, John. – Mike pic.twitter.com/FEkkkXEyyu— Last Exit To Nowhere (@LASTEXITshirts) May 5, 2021
"This is it, I'm not falling down for you again!" Ford joked after a new teaser played at the convention. Indiana Jones 5 will be the first one not directed by Spielberg. It will instead be directed by James Mangold, known for directing The Wolverine, Logan and Ford v Ferrari.
With that in mind, connections to the older films are important to ground this new movie and raise the stakes. Still, Rhys-Davies is a Welsh actor, and some fans take issue with him playing an Egyptian character. Rhys-Davies affected a strong accent to play Sallah in the previous movies, and some of his dialogue implied dubious stereotypes.
Rhys-Davies is also known for playing Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and providing the voice of Treebeard as well. In an interview with The Tampa Bay Times, Rhys-Davies reportedly said that he turned down a brief appearance in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the CrystalSkull because he felt that it was too small, and he felt Sallah deserved better.
Details on Indiana Jones 5 are still scarce, including its eventual subtitle. The movie was co-written by Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth and Mangold, based on characters originally created by Philip Kaufman and George Lucas. No synopsis of the plot has been released yet. The cast so far also includes Pheobe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Kretschmann, Boyd Holbrook, Shaunette Renee Wilson, Toby Jones, Antonio Banderas and Olivier Richters. The movie is currently slated for release on June 30, 2023 in the U.S.