Now that the poster for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" has been revealed, some details from the super-secret plot also can be officially exposed. "Indiana Jones" co-producer Frank Marshall is authorized to confirm some rumors and detail some of the story, about a quest for South American relics with supernatural powers.
When last we saw Indy, he was riding off into the sunset in 1989's "The Last Crusade," set in 1938 near the start of World War II. The new movie, due this spring, is set at the height of the Cold War in 1957, so the character has aged in real time -- 19 years.
"He's teaching and having kind of a quiet life," the producer says. Once the archaeologist is thrust back into danger, the signature Indiana Jones red line tracing across the map will take him to New Mexico, Connecticut, Mexico City and the jungles of Peru.
Despite all the gray-hair jokes (Harrison Ford is 65), Indy is still swinging from dangerous precipices and absorbing punches.
"Indy's a fallible character. He makes mistakes and gets hurt. He has a few more aches and pains now," Marshall says. "That's the other thing people like: He's a real character, not a character with superpowers."
The Nazis are no longer Indy's chief foe -- he's racing for the Crystal Skull against operatives from the Soviet Union, including Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as the seductive Agent Spalko. "Indy always has a love-hate relationship with every woman he ever comes in contact with," Marshall says.
Ray Winstone, currently the star of Beowulf, co-stars as an unethical rival archaeologist. "Transformers" star Shia LaBeouf sports greaser hair and rides a motorcycle as the hero's sidekick.
"The Last Crusade" concluded without a cliffhanger, but "Crystal Skull" will revisit bits from other films, including Karen Allen's feisty Marion Ravenwood from 1981's "Raiders of the Lost Ark."
The artifact of the title is inspired by real quartz sculptures of disputed origins that are carved in a way that defies the natural structure of the crystal.
"The theory is they are shaped by higher powers or alien powers or came from another world, or an ancient Mayan civilization had the powers," Marshall says.