Raiders At 40: Is Indiana Jones A Paedophile?

Well, there’s a headline I never thought I’d ever write. The truth is that I never actually planned on writing this one. When I originally came up with the idea to do this multi-article celebration of Raiders of the Lost Ark turning 40-years-old, I sat down and thought about the subjects I wanted to cover. I knew I wanted to a retrospective of Indy video games, I’ve always wanted to cover the famed plot hole, I most definitely wanted to look at the making of the film (coming later) and more. I sat down and pencilled in subjects, then began to research those subjects before turning them into full-blown articles. When researching those articles, I kept finding fans questioning whether Indiana Jones was a paedophile.

I need to insert a little edit here as I’ve had people suggest that I’ve made this whole theory up myself just so I could write this ‘clickbait’ article. Well, I’ve not. Here’s a link to a YouTube video looking at this very subject. Here’s a discussion on Reddit about it. There are even more sites covering the same subject too if you look. I honestly have not made this up.

Now, I’ve watched Raiders a great many times over the decades, dozens upon dozens of times. Yes, I have had my own personal questions and theories about the flick as many others have too… But none of them have ever had anything to do with questioning Dr Jones’ sexual activity/attraction to minors. Still, when I did see this very subject pop up several times during my research, I really felt that I had to delve deeper into the subject. Okay, so this is going to require a little explanation before I continue.

Okay, so the whole question of Indy being a paedo or not seems to stem from one particular scene in the first film, and one very specific line of dialogue. It comes when Indy arrives at The Raven, the bar Abner Ravenwood opened in Nepal, and just after Marion clouts Dr Jones with a right hook:

Marion: “I’ve learned to hate you in the last ten years!”

Indiana: “I never meant to hurt you.”

Marion: “I was a child. I was in love. It was wrong and you knew it!”

Indiana: “You knew what you were doing.”

Marion: “Now I do. This is my place. Get out!”

See, it is Marion’s line of ‘I was a child. I was in love. It was wrong and you knew it’ where these fan theories of Indy being a paedophile come from. For this, I really need to explore the history of the characters.

According to the official bios, Indiana Jones was born in 1899 and Marion was born in 1909, so there’s a ten year age gap between them. Also according to the bio, Indy and Marion had a thing in the mid 1920s. The relationship lasted less than a year, and it was that very same Indy and Marion coupling that caused Abner and Indy’s relationship fall apart too. It turns out that Abner was not too happy that a student that he thought of as his son was ‘involved’ with his own daughter. For those not in the know, Abner Ravenwood was basically Indy’s adoptive father who taught him everything he knew, as his real father showed very little interest in him. Anyway, Raiders of the Lost Ark takes place in 1936 and Marion says how she had learned to hate Indy the last ten years. So we can assume their relationship ended in 1926, ten years before Raiders’ 1936 setting.

MARION DRESS

If Indy was born in 1899 and Raiders is set in 1936, that would make Indy 37 during the film, minus the decade since the relationship ended. So he was 26-27-years-old when he and Marion ‘got it on’, so to speak. That would also make Marion 27 during Raiders and 16-17 when her and Indy were ‘knocking boots’. So there is a 10-year age gap between them… But that is not exactly paedophilia, is it? I’m sure there are plenty of relationships with a decade or more gap between them. Of course, it really comes down to the age of consent and this is where I’ve really had to dig into the histories of all the characters.

So according to the bios, Abner sent Indy his journal in 1925 asking for help to find the Ark of the Covenant. Indy joined Abner in his search and that was when the relationship with Marion began. So Marion would’ve been 16-years-old at the youngest in 1925 and she was 17 when the relationship ended less than a year later. There was a (fictional) book published in 2008 called The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones, which detailed a lot of Indy’s history… Only some pages had been (stylistically) ripped out and exactly what happened between him and Marion is not detailed. Nor is where the couple were when they first got together. I don’t know if they were in the US or on an expedition with Abner at the time. But, if we assume they were in the US, the age of consent ranges from state to state and in 1920, the age of consent in the US ranged from 14 to 18. Marshall College, where Abner taught Indy (and where Indy would go on to teach at himself) is in Bedford, Connecticut and in Connecticut in the 1920s when they had their relationship, the age of consent was 16 (yes, I’ve really looked into this). So, if Indy and Marion had sex in 1925 in Connecticut, then she would’ve legally been of age as she was 16 in 1925. Still a ‘child’ as Marion claimed? I guess, but still legal and of age. So then, Indy wouldn’t have been a paedophile.

INDY AND MARION 2

However, as I previously said, I don’t know where they were when Indy and Marion were together. I assume the US, but they could’ve been on an expedition with Abner, quite possibly in Nepal at the time. The age of consent in Nepal now is 18-years-old. What was it in the 1920? I have no idea, I couldn’t find a truly reliable source. I did find a source that claimed it has been as low as 14 in the past. So if we assume they were in Nepal at the time, Marion still would (very possibly) have been legal in 1925.

But I have more. See, I’ve been writing a making of Raiders as my grand finale for this whole celebration (coming up next). I’ve researched a hell of a lot and I found a quote from George Lucas regarding Indy as a character. There were some characteristics of Indy that were originally suggested to be included or written in the first draft of the screenplay, but ultimately left out for a good reason. You’ll find out more when it comes to that making of article I have written (actually three articles as it is so big). Anyway, this is the quote:

“He has to be a person we can look up to. We’re doing a role model for little kids, so we have to be careful. We need someone who’s honest and true and trusting.”

– George Lucas

So then, if Lucas wanted Indiana Jones to be (in his words) ‘honest and true and trusting’, as well as being ‘a role model for little kids’… Why would he then be written as a paedophile? So even from a background and writing perspective, Indy was carefully crafted to not be a paedophile. If you dig around more, you will find that originally, Marion was supposed to have been around 12 or 13-years-old in early drafts of the script. So then, when Marion was originally written as being younger? Yeah, that would be a bit of a difficult one to explain. However, in the early drafts of the script, no mention of a relationship between them ever existed, Marion ws just Abner’s daughter. But the fact remains that Marion was made older and Indy was specifically written to be a role model to kids, etc. Yes, she was young, she was a ‘child’ as she called herself, but Marion was still of legal age.

INDY AND MARION 3

But I have more. See, it is never explicitly stated what Indy and Marion got up to. Those who question Indy being a paedophile are actually just making up that they had sex themselves. Even Karen Allen herself has weighed in on this very subject:

“So we don’t even know what it is. I mean, they could have kissed a few times, and she was just completely bowled over, and he could have just not wanted to get involved with someone so young. And maybe my father would have been furious at him. I mean, what’s great about it is we don’t know what the circumstances are.

So she obviously cared deeply for him. He may have cared for her, too. But, in the end, decided it was a dangerous situation and he didn’t want to be involved. I mean, I guess, when something is as vague as that, you can color it any way you want to color it. I’ve tended to color it, sort of, that it was quite innocent. When she says, ‘It was wrong and you knew it’. I mean, I think maybe he led her on in some way. But when she says she was a child, I think she meant she was 16. Something like that.”

– Karen Allen

INDY AND MARION 4

So there actually isn’t anything to suggest that Indy and Marion did anything other than a bit of kissing and cuddling, and it is suggested that Indy put an end to the relationship before it got too serious too. Yes, a 26-year-old man (as Indy was in 1925) getting involved with a 16-year-old girl would most definitely raise more than a few eyebrows today…  But Raiders of the Lost Ark wasn’t set in 2021, it was set in 1936. Even then, the relationship (according to the character bios) began in 1925 and ended less than a year later in 1926. They were very different times, 16-year-old girls were getting married and having kids back then. So there is zero evidence to suggest that Indiana Jones was a paedophile. Questionable that he was involved with a girl 10-years younger than him yes, but she was of age… If they did have sex, of which there is nothing to suggest they did, then nothing illegal was going on. Dr Jones was definitely not a paedo.


Well, with that out of the way, it is onto the grand finale of this whole Raiders at 40 celebration. It’s quite a big one too. I’m going to look at just how and why the legend that is Indiana Jones came about and what went into making the film from its original conception, right up to its release.

Raiders At 40: Behind The Boulder

Aside from nazi face-melting, shooting an overly confident swordsman, an awesome truck chase and a hidden room full of snakes. Raiders had one of the most iconic scenes in any film ever. Of course, I’m talking about the boulder chase scene from the opening. Right here, I’m going to take a look at some of the behind the scenes info on that very classic scene and the whole opening part of Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as explore just where the idea came from. Just in case you need a reminder…

I love the entire opening to Raiders of the Lost Ark. The mysterious (and cool) way that Indy is introduced for the first time, the many traps the hidden Peruvian temple, the spiders and that golden Chachapoyan Fertility Idol, Alfred Molina doing that nervous finger rubbing thing as Indy attempts to swap his bag of sand for the idol. Those opening few minutes are brilliantly crafted and set up the character of Indiana Jones perfectly. Then, of course, it all leads up to that awesome boulder chase. I still remember watching that for the first time as a kid, holding my breath, excited and worried that Indy wouldn’t make it. Yeah I know it’s obvious that the main character of the film wouldn’t die in the opening 10 minutes, but 7-year-old me didn’t understand that back then.

ALFRED MOLINA

I think that the entire opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark could be one of the finest movie introductions ever made. The way it creates a mystery and introduces Indiana Jones is perfect. You know exactly the kind of character he is and you understand him instantly, all from that mini-movie opening. Re-watching the film (several times) for this whole multi-part celebration, I got to thinking just how the whole scene came about. Digging through interviews and making of documentaries, I unearthed some really interesting titbits that I’d like to share with you guys.

PARAMOUNT

That iconic, and now, Indy franchise staple opening shot where the Paramount logo turns into a mountain was a last-minute idea. Steven Spielberg sent producer, Frank Marshall all over the island of Kauai, Hawaii where they were filming at the time, in search of the perfect mountain peak. Marshall had to not only find the right mountain, but also photo it from every possible angle, so Spielberg could pick his favourite and match it to the Paramount logo. Something that would be done with CGI these days. Also, those opening few moments of Indy and his men walking through the jungle and up to finding the hidden temple were shot in ten different locations around Hawaii. Ten locations just for the opening 2-3 minutes of the film. The temple itself was filmed in Elstree Studios, London… Only 7,280 miles away from Hawaii.

You know Barranca, the guy who pulls a gun on Indy, for Indy to then whip the gun out of his hand, before making his brilliant (out of the shadows) first appearance? Well originally, that was written to be much more violent and graphic. Instead of just whipping the gun away, Barranca was supposed to become entangled in the whip, with his own gun pointing at his head. Indy then jerked the whip, for the gun to go off, making Barranca shoot himself in the head. Pretty brutal stuff and it kind of made Indy look like a bit of a ruthless murderer. The scene was changed for the better I feel. But, what is it with Harrison Ford being made to look like a cold-blooded killer in George Lucas flicks, for the scene to be changed later? 

HAN SHOT FIRST

The part when Indy and Satipo (Alfred Molina) are in the temple and Satipo gets covered in spiders was originally a bit dull. The spider wrangler used all male spiders and they just sat on Molina, motionless. Spielberg became increasingly annoyed as the real spiders looked very fake on film. So, Spielberg spoke to the wrangler and asked if there was anything that could be done to entice the spiders to move. There was, the wrangler added a female spider to the mix and well…

“Suddenly all hell breaks loose. They’re running onto my face and Steven is going, ‘Shoot! Shoot! … Alfred, look scared!’ and I’m all, ‘I’m scared! I’m scared!’”

– Alfred Molina

On his way to the famed golden Chachapoyan Fertility Idol, Indy was supposed to take other treasures from the temple. I don’t know if the scene was shot and then cut or not, but it’s not in the film, yet it was in the script. Also, when Indy gets back to America and Marshall College, Indy does give those other treasures he stole to Marcus Brody, as shown in the film. So he did take them then.

Speaking of the golden idol, it features a very hard to see effect in the film. The idol has eyes that actually watch and follow Indy as he approaches the plinth and takes it. The eyes worked via an internal mechanism which were moved using a radio control. The following images show the internal workings of the idol and Spielberg himself operating the radio control to move the eyes. If you go back and re-watch that scene, you can just about see the eyes move…. very, very slightly. Easier to spot in the 4K remaster.

GOLD IDOL EYESGOLD IDOL REMOTE

 

The famed boulder itself was originally much bigger. Envisioned to being sixty-five feet wide, it was downscaled to twenty-two feet and made of fibreglass. Steven Spielberg liked the idea so much that he extend the scene too. Originally, it was just going to roll down the ramp, Indy ran away and the boulder gets stuck immediately after. Spielberg not only extend the scene so Indy had to run further, but also made the ramp that the boulder rolls down about fifty feet longer, just to give it more screen time. Plus, that really is Harrison Ford outrunning the boulder too, he did most of his own stunts in the flick… And he had to do that particular running away from the boulder scene ten times. The scene was not only shot twice, but it was shot twice from five different camera angles. With each camera angle shot done separately, equalling ten different times Ford had to run away. 

“He won ten times and beat the odds. He was lucky and I was an idiot for letting him try.”

– Steven Spielberg

Also, the boulder was originally going to crush Indy’s iconic hat. In the original script, the hat comes off as Indy is running away for the boulder, with no time to get it back, Indy keeps running and the boulder rolls over his hat, then Indy was going to be in the rest of the film hatless. Spielberg disliked Indy losing his hat, especially in the opening few minutes, so he suggested that they let Indy keep his now trademark fedora. Just think, if it had not been for Spielberg, then Indy would never have been known as ‘the man with the hat’ and he would’ve lost one of his most famous pieces of apparel before it became so iconic.

INDY BOULDER

And finally, for perhaps, the most surprising things about the opening scene of Raiders and even Indy himself. It/he was inspired by a cartoon duck. Now, Indy was born from many different inspirations when George Lucas came up with the idea for the character. 1930s matinée serials and and pulp magazines. Real archaeologists such as Hiram Bingham, Roy Chapman Andrews, and Sir Leonard Woolley… And a little bit of James Bond too. However, one of the biggest inspirations was Scrooge McDuck, uncle of Donald Duck. See, when Carl Barks created Scrooge in 1947, he was seen as a bit of an adventurer himself. One such adventure, from The Seven Cities of Cibola story, published in 1954, shows just where George Lucas got the idea from.

SCROOGE 1

There’s the idol itself. Not gold, but made of emerald in the Scrooge McDuck story. Oh, and it is also noted that it is booby-trapped and that moving the idol will trigger the trap… Which would unleash a giant boulder. Thankfully, Scrooge releases the danger and the idol is left in place, so the giant boulder trap isn’t triggered. Saving everyone involved. Then…

SCROOGE 2

The Beagle Boys (Scrooge McDuck’s nemesis) turn up and take the idol for themselves. Of course, the booby trap is triggered and the giant boulder is unleashed, rolling through the temple as The Beagle Boys make a run for it. So there you go, one of the greatest scenes in a film was inspired by a Disney character… Kind of strange now that Disney owns the Indiana Jones IP and is now (technically) a Disney character himself. There are other Scrooge McDuck adventures that also inspired George Lucas. The 1959 comic, The Prize of Pizarro, for instance. In this one, Scrooge, Donald and those annoying kids have to get through a booby-trapped hall that shoots arrows/spears at them, before they are chased away by natives…

TEMPLE TRAP 1NATIVES

In fact, if you go and look at some of those old Scrooge McDuck adventure comics, there are loads of scenes that have clearly been ‘borrowed’ for Indy. I don’t just mean Raiders of the Lost Ark either. All of the Indy films have clearly been using Scrooge McDuck and his adventures as an inspiration for decades now.


Phew, this has been a pretty big celebration of Raiders of the Lost Ark reaching its 40th anniversary, but there’s still more to come. Next, I tackle a rather ‘risqué’ question that seems to crop up about Indy as a character every now and then… Is Indiana Jones a paedophile?

Raiders At 40: Movie Sequels We Never Got: The ‘Other’ Third Indiana Jones Film… And More

Today, the 12th of June 2021 marks exactly forty years to the day that Raiders of the Lost Ark was first released in cinemas. Four decades of Indiana Jones is exactly why I started this very lengthy, multi-article celebration (I’m not even halfway through yet). Now, I have looked at a few movie sequels that we never got already this year, with more coming too. As I continue my celebration of Raiders of the Lost Ark turning 40-years-old, I thought I’d look into possible Indy sequels we never got.

There had been a few false starts in relation to the fourth Indy film before it eventually happened. Indy 5 is now in production and filming as I write this very sentence, which too suffered a few false starts over the years. But they did eventually come about, or will soon exist. Yet, there was one Indiana Jones film that we will never see, the third film in the franchise. Now I know what you’re thinking, Indy III does exist with 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Yes, Last Crusade was the third film… Eventually. But there was another third and very different film that was in early development before Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was made. After Temple of Doom was a hit, another sequel was put into production. While in pre-production around 1985, the film was simply titled Indy III. George Lucas came up with a bare basic story premise.

HARRISON, STEVEN AND GEORGE

Anyway, George Lucas then gave his plot synopsis to Chris Columbus. Columbus being the man who wrote Gremlins and The Goonies in the eighties, before becoming a director in his own right. Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, a couple of the Harry Potter flicks and more all had Chris Columbus as a director. Columbus set about writing a script based on Lucas’ story premise for the third Indy flick. The following plot summary is taken from indianajones.fandom.com:

“It opened in a castle in Scotland in 1937, where Indiana Jones, while on a fishing trip, investigates murders by a ghost, the Baron Seamus Seagrove III. Indiana returns home, where Marcus Brody tells him to aid the zoologist Clare Clarke in Africa, who has discovered a 200-year-old pygmy named Tyki. Indiana meets up with her and his old friend Scraggy Brier in Mozambique, and discovers a suicidally lovestruck student of his named Betsy has stowed along. The Nazis, led by Lieutenant Mephisto and Sergeant Gutterbuhg (who has a mechanical arm), attack, and despite Indy’s best efforts in the ensuing boat chase, Tyki is captured.

Still, Tyki gave Indy a scroll which guides him to a Lost City via the Zambesi River. There, Indy, Clare, Scraggy and Betsy enter an uneasy alliance with pirates, led by Kezure. The Nazis attack in a giant tank, which Indy manages to rescue Tyki from by using a rhino as his steed. Tyki takes them to the city of Sun Wu King, where it is revealed Tyki is a prince. His father is then killed by the Nazis, and a battle ensues where Indiana is killed by Lieutenant Mephisto. The Nazis are defeated though, and Tyki takes Indy into a garden of immortal peaches, where Sun Wu King comes to revive Indy. Kezure eats a peach, but dies because he isn’t pure of heart. Sun Wu gives Indy his transforming Golden Rod, while Betsy decides to stay with Clare.”

CASTLE

The title was changed to Indiana Jones and the Lost City of Sun Wu King. Lucas made a few other edits to the story, like making the lost city in his story to house the Fountain of Youth, which would be used to kill off the Nazis. If you read that brief story outline up there, there are already a few ideas that carried over to Last Crusade. A boat chase, Nazi attack in a tank, a Jones ‘dying’ and being revived, the bad guy dying from the very thing that was meant to grant immortality, etc.

As Chris Columbus worked on a second draft of his script, things were changed. The Betsy character was removed completely and one of Indy’s ‘friends’ was changed to a bar owner called Dashiell who sides with the Nazis. Columbus even turned Sun Wu King into a bad guy, one that made Indy and Dashiell play chess against each other, using real people. When a piece (person) was lost, Sun Wu King disintegrated them… And I bet you thought Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had a batshit crazy plot. Then, after defeating Sun Wu King and his army, Indy and Clare Clark escape and get married. Chris Columbus also changed the title to two possibilities Indiana Jones and the Monkey King and Indiana Jones and the Garden of Life. I’ve managed to dig up a few more details on Chris Columbus’ story idea for the film, and some of them are really quite WTF?

From what I can gather, there was some upset over how dark Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was. So much so that this proposed third flick would be far more light-hearted. The opening set in a haunted castle, where Indy is looking into ghost murders (seriously) would see Dr Jones fighting off empty suits of armour, like something out of Scooby-Doo. When facing off against the Nazi tank mentioned in the above synopsis, it would scare off the animals of the African plain that the scene took place in. A rhino would charge at Indy, for him to grab the animal’s horn and flip himself onto the beast’s back. Then, Indy would use the wild rhino to charge at the tank, the rhino stops abruptly when the tank fires its gun. This sudden stop would launch Indy from the back of the rhino and the onto tank.

RHINO

Oh, it gets worse. Indy doesn’t actually stop the tank and it rolls closer and closer to the lost city. This is when Indy’s two female companions, Betsy and Clare, ‘talk’ to a group of trained gorillas and get them to attack the tank (I wish I was making this up, I really do). The apes pull the hatch off the tank, get inside and knock the Nazis out. The gorillas then take control of the tanks… Get dressed the Nazi uniforms and everything (again, I’m not making this up). The now Nazi uniform wearing apes steer their tank towards another Nazi tank and destroy it with a single shot, the Nazi-apes then celebrate their victory. Quick reminder… This was written by an actual, well-paid and respected Hollywood writer. You thought Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had some stupid scenes… It did, but seriously… Indy fighting haunted suits of armour and Nazi gorillas?

NAZI GORILLAS

Oh, and before I forget, the main Nazi bad guy, Sergeant Gutterbuhg’s ‘mechanical arm’, as it was described in the synopsis, was going to be a fucking machine gun arm. Further research reveals this was a left over idea from Raiders of the Lost Ark (see my making of article coming later for more details).

As for Betsy, Indy’s companion in this flick? Well, she was so infatuated with Indy that she tries to commit suicide because she couldn’t have him. She tries to hang herself with Indy’s whip. Douses herself in bourbon and tries to set herself on fire with a match. She purposely tries to knock a hundred and fifty-pound urn onto her head and more. There was even a scene written where Betsy is sexually harassed by a chimp. As previously mentioned, in later drafts, the Betsy character was removed completely… I can see why. I know you probably don’t believe a lot of that crap I just wrote, but do an interwebs search for Indiana Jones and the Monkey King and you’ll find several sites all reporting on the same thing with links to back up the claims. I mean, there’s even a read-through of the script right here.

SCRIPT BIT

Now, I have actually found the script online. However, it says it was for Indy IV and not Indy III. Plus it is dated 1995 and Last Crusade came out in 1989. So, was all this madness what may have happened instead of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? To be honest, I’ve found conflicting stories over whether this proposed sequel was going to be Indy III or Indy IV. I think it is very possible that it was originally written as an Indy III, but when they decided to go ahead with Last Crusade, it was re-worked as a possible Indy IV? Either way, here’s the script. Or there is another possible theory, the script is a fake/fan-made one. There most definitely was a Indiana Jones and the Monkey King story being developed as a possible Indy III in the mid eighties, but I honestly can’t find any concrete proof that the linked script is genuine. 

Anyway, the story goes that neither George Lucas nor Steven Spielberg liked the direction that the film was going in. They felt it was unrealistic (no shit!). Lucas came up with the idea to make the MacGuffin of the flick be the Holy Grail. He also gave the job of writing the story to Menno Meyjes who came up with the idea of turning the Grail into a metaphor, and that by fining the Grail, Indy also finds his relationship with his father. Meyjes’s story was then given to Jeffrey Boam to do some tying up and he penned the screenplay that would (thankfully) become Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

HARRISON, STEVEN AND SEAN

And that was just one of the proposed sequels… One of. Oh yes, there were other Indy sequels that never came about. I’m not going to go into as much great detail on these ones because firstly, details on these are much more scarce and mostly seem to be rumour-based over fact-based. Secondly, this article is getting on a bit and I have more Indy topics to cover. So anyway, these are the ideas for other Indy sequels that never happened.

Indiana Jones and the Haunted Mansion was said to be a genuine idea on the table for a while. But Steven Spielberg was reported to be unsure about making another film focusing on ghosts after his flick Poltergeist. Ideas were stripped back and it became the intro to the Indiana Jones and the Monkey King film that I just covered. The screenplay for this more supernatural focused Indy film was by Diane Thomas, who also wrote the Raiders rip off, Romancing The Stone.

Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars was one of the ideas being thrown around for a proposed Indy IV for a while. It also has quite a bit more detail surrounding it. George Lucas wrote the story around 1993-94, before handing it off to Jeb Stuart to do the screenplay. Reportedly, Stuart was struggling to make any kind of sense of Lucas’ ideas, so it was then passed on to Jeffrey Boam, who had done such a great job with Last Crusade. At the start, Indy almost marries a linguist called Dr Elaine McGregor. Guests at the wedding included Marion, Willie, Sallah and Henry Snr. But it seemed that Elaine suddenly disappears. Indy goes in search of his betrothed and he learns that she had been investigating the arrival of aliens on Earth. Long story short and Indy finds Elaine, they both crack a code on a stone cylinder, which leads them to a mountain. All while Russians are in pursuit, wanting to learn the secrets of the aliens for themselves. There’s action, Indy beats the Russians and discovers that aliens are real. He and Elaine finally get married and Short Round makes a cameo appearance at the end.

INDY MARRIED

As you can see, this was pretty much where the idea for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was born. Aliens, Russians, Indy gets married, etc. As for why it didn’t happen? Well, George Lucas was developing the idea in the mid-nineties, then Independence Day became a huge hit in 1996 and Lucas didn’t want it to seem like he was copying the whole alien film idea. So he sat on it for a few a while with the intention to get Jeffrey Boam to do rewrites and work on the plot more, to then make the film a few years later when everyone had forgotten about Independence Day. Sadly, Boam died aged 53 from a rare form of lung disease in January 2000. After that, George Lucas just lost all interest in the Indy vs aliens idea… For a few years, until 2008 with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Indiana Jones and the Lost Continent was one film that was heavily rumoured to be worked on in the early nineties. After the success of the brilliant Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis adventure game from 1992, stories began to appear in the press that the next Indy film would be based on the game. From what I’ve managed to dig up, that’s a half-truth. It seems there was some early work on a flick where Indy goes in search of Atlantis, but it wasn’t going to be an adoption of the game. It was going to be a whole new story, but with Indy still in search of Atlantis. In the film version, it was going to be revealed that Indy had a long lost half-brother, who tags along for the adventure. A few names of who would play Indy’s brother were thrown about with Kevin Costner being one. Another actor’s possible involvement was much more interesting though. At one point, Tom Selleck was rumoured to be playing Indy’s brother. That would’ve made a nice little reference, what with Selleck being the original actor hired to play Indy before his contract with CBS over the Magnum P.I. TV show put an end to that casting.

TOM SELLECK INDY

As for why it never went much further than very early development? Well, it seems that while Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg really wanted to move forward with the idea, George Lucas was not so happy and wanted to push another idea for a fourth flick (aliens?). So as no agreement could be made, the film just never came about.

Indiana Jones and the City of Gods is the last unmade Indy sequel that I managed to find some decent info on. Written by Frank Darabont around 2003, this is the closest any film ever got to actually being made as the fourth Indy flick before Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in 2008 came about. Indy was going to have a 13-year-old daughter with Marion, which, according to The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles TV show, is accurate. Yup, Indy originally had a daughter before Mutt Williams was ham-fisted into the canon. Anyway, the film was going to be set in the 1950s, Indy was well past his prime and had retired from his adventurous ways. With thanks to a Russian colleague called Yuri, Indy comes into possession of one of the infamous thirteen crystal skulls… Yup, just as with George Lucas’ Indy vs aliens idea, the crystal skulls were previously explored too.

Marion is brought back and she’s a bit of an adventurer herself, just like her dad. It was Marion who had hired Yuri to get the skulls in the first place as she wanted to try and find the Lost City of the Gods, with the skulls being the keys to open the city’s secrets. Marion convinces Indy to come out of retirement and help her find the Lost City of the Gods. With the crystal skulls returned to their rightful place, aliens grant Indy and those with him a wish. A spaceship tries to take off, but it crashes into the City of the Gods destroying it and any evidence it ever existed. Indy and Marion go back to the US and get married. The bad guys were to be former Nazis and Mutt Williams never existed. 

NO MUTT

As you can see, Frank Darabont’s idea eventually became Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Those who read Darabont’s script have said it was actually pretty good. Yes it still involved aliens (something I’ve never had a problem with), but Darabont’s script reportedly had better action scenes, better dialogue, it stayed true to Indy’s history and more. Apparently, both Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg loved  the script, but George Lucas, not so much. Lucas took over the script and hired more writers to work on it. Frank Darabont became pretty pissed off with that and left the project, which, of course, (d)evolved into Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It has been said that at least one version of Darabont’s script is floating around on the interwebs. Quite honestly, I’ve not looked into it. But I did find this interview that Frank Darabont did with MTV back in 2007, just before Crystal Skull began filming, where he talks about his wasted time on the project. Here’s the main bit of the interview for you to read:

MTV: “Would you say one of those bad experiences is the time you spent writing the aborted ‘Indiana Jones 4’ script?”

Darabont: “Indy is definitely in that category, topping the list. It showed me how badly things can go. I spent a year of very determined effort on something I was very excited about, working very closely with Steven Spielberg and coming up with a result that I and he felt was terrific. He wanted to direct it as his next movie, and then suddenly the whole thing goes down in flames because George Lucas doesn’t like the script.”

MTV: “Did you ever speak to George Lucas directly?”

Darabont: “Yes! I told him he was crazy. I said, ‘You have a fantastic script. I think you’re insane, George’. You can say things like that to George, and he doesn’t even blink. He’s one of the most stubborn men I know.”

MTV: “Do you know if any remnant of that story lives in the one they’re about to start filming?”

Darabont: “I have no idea if there’s a shred of it left. It was a tremendous disappointment and a waste of a year.”

MTV: “I would think part of you still wants to share that script with the world.”

Darabont: “I would love it, but it’s not my material to disseminate. At this point, I don’t give much of a damn what George thinks, but I wouldn’t want to harm my friendship with Steven.”

Wow, Frank Darabont was pretty pissed off with George Lucas eh? It really makes me wonder just how much better of a script Darabont’s was over what was actually filmed with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull? But with both Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg returning for that flick, they must’ve been pretty happy with whatever changes were made.


Anyway, that’s it. That’s about all the info I could find on Indiana Jones sequels that never quite made it. Some pretty interesting stuff, about five different films that were all lost for various reasons. Some of their ideas made it into both Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull eventually though. With Indy V currently filming as I write this (due to be released next year), I wonder if we will see any more previously abandoned ideas make it into the film? Quick addition: sites are reporting that Indy 5 is being filmed at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland, England. This is said to be the opening of the film… Just like the opening of the unused Indiana Jones and the Lost City of Sun Wu King script?

I still have more to come in my Raiders at 40 celebrations, as I ponder what the future of Indiana Jones holds. 

 

Raiders At 40: Indy Rip-Offs

This is the third article of my celebrations of Raiders of the Lost Ark reaching 40-years-old this month. In this one, I’m going to take a look at some Indiana Jones rip-offs, good and bad.

Whenever a piece of entertainment proves popular and profitable, others always jump on the bandwagon to try and cash in on that popularity. Raiders was no different and after its huge success back in 1981, plenty of movie studios began to churn out their own Indy-esque flicks, with varying degrees of quality. Films with the chiselled and rugged hero, travelling the world in search of some artefact or person. Usually having to deal with ancient, trap-filled temples/tombs/ruins. Often with some kind of period setting too. All while dragging a damsel in distress lass along for the ride. Some of these rip-offs were really quite subtle with just how much they were trying to copy Raiders of the Lost Ark and its template, others not so subtle…

COMBINE POSTER

Anyway, subtle or not, I’m just going to take a quick look at some well known and not so well known Raiders rip-offs of varying quality. For the first one, I’m going for a flick with a bit of an interesting link to Raiders of the Lost Ark outside of the borrowing of its style.

High Road to China (1983)

HIGH ROAD TO CHINA

Aside from this film’s alternate title (Raiders of the End of the World) that was most definitely trying to ride on the coattails of success that was Raiders of the Lost Ark, it also has Tom Selleck in his first major starring film role. Of course, Indy fans will know that, after a screen test, Selleck was originally offered the role of Indiana Jones. However, he had already done the pilot episode for the TV show Magnum P.I. for the CBS network and was contracted to the show, the network just would not let him play Indy. As Selleck himself explained in an interview in 2017:

“After I did the pilot for Magnum, I tested for Indiana Jones and got the job. Steven [Spielberg] and George [Lucas] offered me the job. And I said, ‘Well, I’ve done this pilot’. And they said, ‘Thanks for telling us. Most actors wouldn’t do that, but we got cards to play with CBS’. Turned out, CBS wouldn’t let me do it. They held the offer out for about a month. Harrison Ford hates to hear this. Harrison, this is your role, and you’re indelible in it; it’s just an interesting story. I signed a deal for Magnum, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m proud that I lived up to my contract.”

A quick aside. Tom Selleck even did a parody of Raiders in Magnum P.I. in the Legend of the Lost Art episode from 1988. And I’ve really gone off track here, I’m supposed to be talking about High Road to China. Set in the 1920s and Patrick O’Malley (Tom Selleck) is a flying ace, who is hired by Eve Tozer (Bess Armstrong) to help find her missing father. The two fly through six countries to get to China, where Eve’s father is located. Along the way, the duo get up to all sorts of shenanigans before they have to face an evil Chinese warlord. High Road to China is a very okay-ish kind of film. It most definitely has that Indiana Jones feel to it, even without any artefact hunting. While not as entertaining as Raiders, it’s still a watchable romp with some decent action and a few laughs too.

The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak (1984)

No, I didn’t just make that title up and yes, this film really does exist. Telling the story of Gwendoline (Tawny Kitaen), who is captured, but rescued by Willard (Brent Huff), a mercenary-adventurer. Gwendoline is in search of a rare butterfly that her father once tried to find. When Gwendoline’s maid is kidnapped, she hires Willard to help get her back, as well as seek out that rare butterfly.

Look, the plot of this flick is nonsensical and the film is really a very softcore porn version of Indiana Jones. It’s a low-budget French production that involves cannibal tribes and bondage… Though not at the same time. The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak is bizarre guff with a bit of nudity thrown in. A stupid slice of balderdash with a bit of blood and plenty of boobs. A fun and completely unnecessary watch.  

Romancing the Stone (1984)

ROMANCING THE STONE

Directed by the awesome Robert Zemeckis is this rather great action-adventure flick. Romance novelist, Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is forced to travel to Colombia when her sister is kidnapped. Joan has to deliver a map that tells the location of an enormous emerald as the ransom for her sister’s release. While in the jungles of Cambodia, Joan (literally) crashes into Jack T. Colton (Michael Douglas) and the two work together to get the emerald themselves before delivering the map and freeing Joan’s sister. Of course, things don’t go according to plan and there’s plenty of comedic action along the way. 

Romancing the Stone is quite honestly a great film. It manages to capture that Indiana Jones flavour, but do its own thing along the way too. With a tight and often amusing plot, some good action sequences and a really believable bit of on-screen chemistry between Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas. Plus, the film even manages to make a believable action hero out of Douglas too. The sequel, The Jewel of the Nile was not as good as the first film but still worth checking out for more Raiders-like fun. 

The Goonies (1985)

I think it would be rather remiss of me not to give this flick a mention. Truth be told… I’m not much of a fan of The Goonies. Yeah I know, that’s kind of blasphemous as a fan of these flicks and a kid who grew up in the eighties. Learning that their homes will soon be foreclosed, a small group of kids who call themselves The Goonies, find themselves going on an action-packed adventure after discovering a treasure map. The map tells of a fortune that once belonged to a 17th-century pirate, One-Eyed Willy. However, The Goonies are not the only ones looking for the treasure as a family of criminals, the Fratellis want the loot for themselves.

There’s a very good reason why this feels very Indiana Jones, that reason is Steven Spielberg, who wrote the story and was executive producer on the film too. The Goonies really is a more kiddy version of Indiana Jones and it has that distinct Spielberg feel through the entire flick. I may not be a big fan of The Goonies, but I sure do respect and appreciate it for what it is.

King Solomon’s Mines (1985)

KING SOLOMONS MINES

Allan Quatermain (Richard Chamberlain) is the Indiana Jones of the flick, and he’s hired by Jesse Huston (Sharon Stone). It seems that Jesse’s father has gone missing while on an expedition to find the fabled King Solomon’s Mines. It turns out that Professor Huston has been kidnapped by the German military who are also in search of the legendary mines, wanting to unearth their secrets.

This Raiders rip off makes no bones about what it is. Quite often making fun of and referencing Indiana Jones directly several times. It even features John Rhys-Davies who played Indy’s old friend, Sallah in the Indy films. As for its quality as a film… It is pretty dire, to be honest. But I think it falls into one of those ‘so bad it’s good’ type of flicks. It’s cheesy, badly acted and the story is unbelievably bland too. Sharon Stone is truly awful in this, it’s hard to believe that she would go on to be nominated for an Oscar… Eleven years later… And for a very different film.

Also, this is actually a remake, a second remake too. Based on the 1885 novel of the same name, the first version came out in 1937 and another in 1950. The 1950 version is actually a pretty decent watch. Oh, and the 1985 version even had a sequel released the following year. Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold was filmed back to back with the first film. It too is fucking awful with both Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone returning. A quick aside, the 1950 version of this film was actually one of the main influences behind the creation of Indiana Jones. So can I honestly claim this remake is a Raiders rip off when an earlier version of the film is what helped create the film it is ripping off? Yes I can because this is my blog and I can say what I like.

Armour of God (1986)

This is really a melding of two cinematic heroes. Of course, this is very Indiana Jones-esque, but there’s a good slice of James Bond thrown in too. Asian Hawk (Jackie Chan) is a treasure hunter who is hired by an old friend to help in the safe return of his kidnapped girlfriend. An evil religious cult are the ones who have kidnapped the fair maiden and they have two pieces of a legendary armour called the Armour of God. Asian Hawk must bring the remaining three pieces of the armour to complete the set and the cult will let their captor go. 

When  it comes to films that are clearly inspired by the Indiana Jones template, they don’t really get much better than Armour of God. I’ve been a fan of Jackie Chan for many years, long before he became such a huge star. I was brought up watching martial arts flicks and I got to see this one as a kid. Easily one of the best film in Jackie’s rather impressive career. Full of that trademark Jackie Chan humour, action and stunt work. Speaking of which, Jackie almost killed himself in this film when shooting a stunt where he had to jump from the top of a wall to a tree. The tree branch broke and Jackie fell five meters, cracking his head on a rock. To this day, he has a hole in his head after undergoing eight hours of surgery. The sequel, Armour of God II: Operation Condor is also worth checking out.

Firewalker (1986)

From one martial arts legend to another. This one sees Max Donigan (Chuck Norris) and Leo Porter (Louis Gossett Jr.) as two veteran treasure hunters. When a psychic gives them a map that is said to show the way to a massive stockpile of gold, the duo can’t help but go in search of it. Of course, they are not alone in the hunt for riches as someone or something else is after the loot too, something the psychic calls a red cyclops.

This one is played for straight-up laughs, it’s a comedy first and an action-adventure flick second. It was the first time that Chuck Norris had tried a non-serious role and makes fun of his tough-guy action persona in the film many times. And yes, it directly parodies Raiders too. Even John Rhys-Davies pops up in the flick, he must’ve made a career out of being in Indy rip-offs. As for the film itself, if I were to tell you that it’s brilliant, I’m sure you’d know I was lying. Firewalker is utter pants, but if you go in knowing that it is a crappy Indy clone with very little effort put into it, you might get some enjoyment out of its terribleness. I mean, this is a Cannon Group flick and they were famed for cheap and nasty, low-budget dreck. It is cheesy Chuck Norris guff, but still has a few laughs along the way.

Big Trouble in Little China (1986)

BIG TROUBLE

“Just remember what ol’ Jack Burton does when the earthquakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of Heaven shake. Yeah, Jack Burton just looks that big ol’ storm right square in the eye and he says, ‘Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it’.”

Jack Burton (Kurt Russell) is a fast-talking and blusterous truck driver/wannabe hero. When his friend Wang Chi’s (Dennis Dun) green-eyed fiancée is kidnapped by mysterious bandits, the two set out to get her back. They soon find themselves being dragged into a strange underworld of Chinatown in San Francisco, where face off against an ancient sorcerer, David Lo Pan (James Hong). It is this sorcerer who has captured Wang’s girl as he needs a woman with green eyes to marry to life a curse.

I fucking love this flick, I’d even put it up there as one of the greatest films ever made. John Carpenter is one of my favourite writer/directors, I’ve always had a soft spot for Kurt Russell and back in the eighties, I loved kung-fu flicks. Big Trouble in Little China combines all of that into the Indiana Jones mould and throws in some supernatural elements that feel very much at home too. This really is a crazy cocktail of a film, and one that was lambasted by critics when it was released. Big Trouble in Little China was a massive flop, as all John Carpenter flicks were when originally released. But it has since gone on to have a very strong and cult following over the years. I have always said that there are two kinds of people in the world, people who enjoy Big Trouble in Little China and think that it is amazing… And then  there are people who are wrong.

“When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favourite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like that: ‘Have ya paid your dues, Jack?’ ‘Yes sir, the check is in the mail’.”

The Further Adventures of Tennessee Buck (1988)

Here we have Tennessee Buck (David Keith) the Indy rip off for this film. In this one, two shallow, blonde, rich socialites, Kent (Brant von Hoffman) and Barbara (Kathy Shower) are on a river tour in the jungle of Borneo. Kent is on the lookout for a rare tiger to hunt. Things go wrong when their tour guide is killed by an elephant. Barbara almost goes the same way too, until Tennessee Buck turns up and saves her life. Tennessee is then hired by the couple to take them further into the dangerous jungle so they can continue their tour. So, of course, various jungle-based misadventures ensue.

Like the previously mentioned The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak, this too is a comedic romp with a touch of nudity. It does feature Kathy Shower, an ex-Playboy model, so of course, there are boobies in this one. Like The Perils of Gwendoline, it’s also a load of old guff. While there are some okay-ish moments in this one, it’s just a mess of a film that doesn’t really seem to know where it is going or what it wants to do. If you want some crap jokes, low-budget action and titties, then this is the flick for you.

The Mummy (1999)

THE MUMMY

For my final pick, I’m gonna jump to the end of the century with this rather decent remake of a Universal Studios horror classic. Rick O’Connell (Brendan Fraser) is a rough and ready adventurer. When Rick crosses paths with Evelyn and Jonathan Carnahan ( Rachel Weisz, and John Hannah), who are in possession of a map that leads them to Hamunaptra, Egypt. Rick is hired as a guide to take them to the city, where they discover the remains of Imhotep, an ancient mummy. Then things just go very wrong from that point on.

Whereas the original 1932 The Mummy was very much scary/horror focused, this remake leans more toward the action-adventure style and is very evocative of the Indiana Jones flicks. It’s a pretty damn good flick in its own right too. It is funny when it needs to be, well-acted and Brendan Fraser is very believable as an Indy-type too. The Mummy went on to become a pretty successful franchise with sequels and spin-offs, even roller coasters


Now, there were a few more films I could mention. Obviously, the likes of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and National Treasure (2004) series’ should be given a shout out. Then there’s the far lesser-known Librarian trilogy, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear, The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines and The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice (2004 – 2008), which are all very, very reminiscent of the Indy flicks. They’re utter crap, but still very obvious Raiders rip-offs.

THE LIBRARIAN

Anyway, I need to move on as I have more articles to write for my Raiders at 40 celebrations. Next up, I take a look at several Indiana Jones sequels that we never got.

Raiders At 40: Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Plot Hole

Continuing my Raiders at 40 celebrations this month, and I’m going to look at a (so called) major plot hole that the film has. This plot hole actually gained some traction a few years back thanks to the not very amusing The Big Bang Theory TV show. However, I actually heard of this goof long before The Big Bang Theory existed. For those not in the know, here’s the plot hole in question:

So basically, people like to claim that Indy had no impact on the resolve of the film at all and that the character was completely pointless in his own movie. Even without Indy, the Nazis would found the Ark, took it to the island and opened it. Ergo, all the Nazis would’ve died even if Indy had just stayed at home and put his feet up. Honestly, loads of sites have brought this plot hole up for a few years now, ever since it was mentioned in The Big Bang Theory. So, Dr Jones was completely irrelevant in his own flick right?

Well no, just as with most of the writing on The Big Bang Theory, it’s utter arse gravy with no thought applied to it. Before I do destroy this so called plot hole, like a Nazi having his face melted and head exploded, I just want to bring up a little incidental of the whole film, Marion Ravenwood.

So, let’s just say that, when Indy was asked to go find the Ark of the Covenant, he turned the offer down and went home instead. The Nazis turn up at Marion’s place in Nepal to obtain Abner’s headpiece for the staff, she gets a bit headstrong (as shown in the film) and the Nazis get rough. No Indy there to save her, Marion dies. Is that not a worthy reason to be in the film? The fact Indy saves Marion’s life?

MARION

Other sites and blogs have also brought up the fact Indy saves Marion’s life. But even that’s not 100% accurate. I mean, how did the Nazis know about Marion, how did they know about her very remote bar in Nepal in South Asia… The biggest continent on the planet, how did they know she had the headpiece that would tell them where to Ark was buried? The answer to that actually renders the entire plot hole redundant and proves how things wouldn’t have been the same if Indy wasn’t in the film. It all has to do with a very brief, but important scene. When Indy gets on the plane to Nepal and he travels by (now iconic) map… He’s not alone.

SPY ON PLANE 2

Someone is following him, it’s not actually explained who this mysterious person is. Some assume it is Gestapo agent Major Arnold Ernst Toht (Ronald Lacey) due to the glasses… But it’s not. The character is an unnamed spy played by Dennis Muren, a special effects artist on the film. As an added bit of trivia, Dennis Muren has won more special effects Oscars than any other person ever. Plus, when put side by side, you can tell that Thot and the spy are not the same actor/character. They are just both wearing a hat and glasses.

COMPARE

So, who is this spy and why are they following Indy? Well, what if he’s a Nazi, a Nazi who reports back to Major Toht when they land in Nepal? Then when in Nepal, Thot and his men follow Indy to Marion’s bar. Indy goes in, talks to Marion while the Nazis wait outside, perhaps even eavesdrop on their conversation. Indy leaves the bar, the Nazis enter, and the film plays out as it does. See, the Nazis only knew about Marion, her bar and that she had the headpiece because of Indy, because he was followed. So without Indy, the Nazis would never have found the headpiece, never found the Ark, never would’ve opened it, never would’ve had their faces melted. My conclusion is that Indy wasn’t irrelevant in his own film and no, the Nazis wouldn’t have opened to Ark without him as they never would’ve found it without him to begin with. Not a plot hole.

Before I move onto more proof that this is not a plot hole. I do know that the Nazis were aware of Abner Ravenwood (Marion’s father), because of a telegram that US intercepted from the Nazis about Abner and the headpiece is mentioned in the film. However, there’s no mention of them knowing who Marion is, or that she possibly had the headpiece they needed. Plus, that telegram states that Abner was in the US… He wasn’t, he was in Nepal. So the info the Nazis had on Abner was vastly out of date. Also as I’ve already mentioned, Marion had a very remote bar in Nepal in the biggest continent on Earth. What are the chances of the Nazis just stumbling on the bar and Marion? So for me, it makes sense that the Nazis had Indy followed.

Still, there is nothing in the flick that says the guy following Indy is actually a Nazi. He could be working for the American government and just on the plane to ensure that Indy is doing what he said he would. I only offered a possible theory there, using what is in the film. You have to admit that it is open to who the spy following Indy is and that it is possible he was working for the Nazis. But even if you want to throw that theory out, I’ve got the main nail to put in the coffin of this ‘plot hole’, *he claims with an knowing and sly Indy-like smirk on his face*… 

INDY SMIRK

Removing my explanation, this isn’t even a plot hole anyway. A plot hole is a very specific thing and one can write off any film ever made and create a non-existent plot hole by simply removing the good (or bad) guy from the story. I mean, I could create a ‘plot hole’ in King Kong by saying that, if Carl Denham hadn’t hired Ann Darrow and taken her to Skull Island, then Kong would never have ended up in New York and caused such a ruckus… Plot hole! No, that’s purposely creating an issue, to then find a plot hole within the false narrative that you yourself have just created.

As I said, a plot hole is something very specific. A plot hole is a gap or an inconsistency in a storyline that goes against the flow of the movie’s logic, established by the film’s plot. However, the plot of the film has the American government hire Indy to go after the Ark and bring it to US soil. So then, he is essential to the flick because THAT’S THE PLOT.

SUNSET DIGGING

Here’s a bit of dialogue between Marcus and Indy about going after the Ark, after Marcus speaks to the American government:

Marcus Brody: “They want you to go for it. They want you to get hold of the Ark before the Naizs do, and they’re prepared to pay handsomely for it.”

Indiana Jones: “And the museum, the museum gets the Ark when were finished?”

Marcus Brody: “Well yes.”

Just to repeat a line of dialogue there… “They want you to get hold of the Ark before the Naizs do”. Aside from the government screwing Indy over at the end and not giving it to the museum, he was being paid to find the Ark, before the Nazis and bring it to the US. If Indy had just said ‘no’ after being asked to find the Ark, went home and put his feet up… Then there never would’ve been a plot hole because there wouldn’t be a plot.

A plot hole (as an example) would be establishing that early in the film, that the Nazis could not be killed by the Ark… For the Ark to then kill them at the end with no explanation as to why. Removing Indy from the film is not a plot hole because Indy is the plot, the driving force of the whole film. As already covered, Indy was hired to find and retrieve the Ark, to then bring it back to the US… Which he did do. The killing of Nazis was not his job, that was not what the American government tasked him to do. So if we say that Indy being in the film or not made no difference because the Nazis would have opened the ark anyway if Indy wasn’t in the film, forget about the Nazis finding and opening it. The main plot point is that the Ark never would’ve been brought to US soil without Indy. The melting of Nazi faces is completely irrelevant, that’s just an added bonus, with or without Indy.

NAZI FACE MELT

So no, this whole Indy is irrelevant in his own flick is not a plot hole, and nor is he irrelevant. More a case of people not understanding what a plot hole is, or not being able to grasp the fact that Indy was not hired to kill Nazis. He was hired to bring the Ark to the US, which he did do. Without him, that never would’ve happened. So that kind of makes him pretty central to the plot eh? Can we now put an end to all this ‘Indy is irrelevant in his own film’ bollocks now then?

More articles to come in my Raiders at 40 celebrations and next, some Raiders rip offs of varying quality over the years.