With a new role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and his first major TV role, the now 80-year-old cultural icon proves that it is never too late to try new things.
Much more than Indiana Jones and Han Solo, Harrison Ford has had a wide and varied career since he exploded in the 1970s. On film, though. Never on TV and, until now, never in the MCU. Already, Ford has been one of the few Hollywood heavyweights never touched by Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet.
All that will change in the next two years. The now 80-year-old cultural icon will take on the role of General 'Thunderbolt' Ross in the MCU, replacing William Hurt after his death earlier this year. He will also tackle his first major TV role in Brett Goldstein and Jason Segel's Shrinking, a comedy in which he will play… an outspoken, left-wing shrink. Added to this is a new role in 1923, the Yellowstone spin-off, alongside Helen Mirren.
We know that Indiana Jones and the Quadrant of Destiny will mark his last outing as the history professor turned globetrotting adventurer: 'It's over! No more stunts for you,' he said at Disney's D23 Expo earlier this year, visibly excited: "This movie rocks. As the seventh highest-grossing actor ever, Ford could safely consider Indy 5 as his well-deserved turn and fly off into a bright sunset boulevard".
Well, for one thing, Marvel's pension fund must be hard to ignore. As for television, however, it is a sign of the new prestige of the serial format that long-time stars like Ford are migrating to the networks in their old age. (Notably, Sly Stallone made the leap just this year with Paramount's Tulsa King, and Al Pacino chased ex-Nazis in Hunters on Prime Video in 2020).
Harrison Ford said as much in a recent interview for the Yellowstoners podcast: 'To me, the quality of the work they've done there is obvious,' the actor said of the show, which is immensely popular in the US but has yet to catch on with the same fervour on this side of the Atlantic. "My ambition to be part of it doesn't seem too exaggerated. We think there is a big difference between television and film. It's really only the destination [that is different]. There are great opportunities to tell complicated and ambitious stories on television, going beyond just showing them."
When asked why he decided to get on the MCU liner, a move that could be considered beneath his acting level, he simply replied: 'After all, I've done a lot of things'. The Marvel project in question includes the technique of motion capture. One might think – as the podcast host notes – that General Ross might eventually become the Red Hulk. If so, motion capture would be in play for that. Ford doesn't mince words and continues to deny the possibility, and perhaps this late choice isn't just about money. Maybe.
Written by Michael Zippo
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