Why it matters that Disney just secured the rights to Indiana Jones

Contributed by
Dec 9, 2013, 5:31 PM EST

Walt Disney Studios made a very interesting deal last week regarding the Indiana Jones films ... and here's why.

When Disney bought Lucasfilm back in late 2012, one of the big questions surrounding that purchase revolved around Lucasfilm's other crown jewel beside Star Wars -- the Indiana Jones franchise.

While Lucasfilm owned Star Wars lock, stock and barrel (except for A New Hope, which was financed by 20th Century Fox), the Indiana Jones movies were always a co-production with Paramount Pictures, meaning that any deal would have to involve Paramount somehow.

Well, Disney closed that deal last week, and according to Deadline, the House that Mickey Built will now have marketing and distribution rights to all future Indiana Jones films, while Paramount will retain distribution of the existing four and get a piece of the action on future movies as well.

So why is this important? Since Paramount will continue to hold the rights to the first four Indy movies, Disney has no stake in them whatsoever -- which means that to make any money off the deal, Disney will have to produce new films.

In other words, the deal makes it almost certain we will see another Indiana Jones movie -- if not a whole slew of them -- at some point in the future. After all, Disney is the company that's making at least six Star Wars movies within the next decade.

Now, Disney has not officially announced another movie yet. And there are some big questions surrounding the franchise -- for one, the fact that Harrison Ford is 70 years old and, if Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was any indication, might not be up to cracking that whip with the same authority that he used to.

Does Disney cast a younger Indy and go the prequel route? Have Ford serve as a mentor for a new adventurer? Or bring back Shia LaBeouf and make Ford into the new Sean Connery? Does Steven Spielberg come back once again to direct? Those are the questions that Disney must answer now -- and rest assured, its stockholders will make sure that the company answers them. What direction do you think Disney should take with Indiana Jones?