Steven Spielberg says the next Indiana Jones could be a woman

"We'd have to change the name from Jones to Joan. And there would be nothing wrong with that"

Steven Spielberg has suggested that the next Indiana Jones lead could be female, and could go by the name ‘Indiana Joan’.

Harrison Ford has portrayed Jones in four franchise films to date, with the upcoming fifth instalment expected to be the actor’s last.

Speaking to The Sun, Spielberg said that it could be time for the famed explorer to take “a different form”.

“We’d have to change the name from Jones to Joan,” the director argued. “And there would be nothing wrong with that.”

Filming for the fifth Indiana Jones movie is set to begin next year, with Spielberg now saying: “This will be Harrison Ford’s last Indiana Jones movie, I am pretty sure, but it will certainly continue after that.”

Indiana Jones 5 is expected to hit cinemas in 2020, with it already confirmed that Shia LaBeouf will not appear.

Disney sets release date for 'Indiana Jones 5'

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones

Stressing the importance of gender equality, Spielberg said: “My mom was strong. She had a voice, she had a very strong opinion. I have been very lucky to be influenced by women, several of whom I have just loved madly — my mom and my wife.”

He also confirmed that the cast of his new film Ready Player One were “equally paid” and that in 2017’s The Post, “Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep got the same pay cheque exactly, right down to the perks.”

Read NME‘s review of Ready Player One here.