Indiana Jones is from Princeton, NJ and was first introduced in the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, set in 1936. The character is an adventurer reminiscent of the 1930s film serial treasure hunters and pulp action heroes, whose research is funded by Marshall College (named after producer Frank Marshall) a fictional college in Connecticut, where he is a professor of archaeology. In this first adventure, he is pitted against the Nazis, traveling the world to prevent them from recovering the Ark of the Covenant (see also Biblical archaeology). He is aided by Marion Ravenwood and Sallah. The Nazis are led by Jones's archrival, a Nazi-sympathizing French archaeologist named René Belloq, and Arnold Toht, a sinister Gestapo agent.
The 1984 prequel, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, set in 1935, took the character into a more horror-oriented story, skipping his legitimate teaching job and globe trotting, and taking place almost entirely in India. This time, Jones attempts to recover children and the Sankara stones from the bloodthirsty Thuggee cult. He is aided by Shorty Short Round and accompanied by Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw).
The third film, 1989's Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, set in 1938, returned to the formula of the original, reintroducing characters such as Sallah and Marcus Brody, a scene from Professor Jones's classroom (he now teaches at Barnett College), the globe trotting element of multiple locations, and the return of the infamous Nazi mystics, this time trying to find the Holy Grail. The film's introduction, set in 1912, provided some back story to the character, specifically the origin of his fear of snakes, his use of a bullwhip, the scar on his chin, and his hat; the film's epilogue also reveals that "Indiana" is not Jones's first name, but a nickname he took from the family dog. The film was a buddy movie of sorts, teaming Jones with his father, often to comical effect. Although Lucas intended at the time to do five films, this ended up being the last for over eighteen years, as Lucas could not think of a good plot element to drive the next installment.
The 2008 film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, became the latest film in the series. Set in 1957, 19 years after the third film, it pits an older, wiser Indiana Jones against Soviet agents bent on harnessing the power of a crystal skull associated with extraterrestrials discovered in South America by his former colleague Harold Oxley (John Hurt). He is aided in his adventure by an old lover, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), and her son—a young greaser named Henry "Mutt" Williams (Shia LaBeouf), later revealed to be his biological child, Henry Jones III. There were rumors that LaBeouf will take over the Indy franchise. This film also reveals that Jones was recruited by the Office of Strategic Services (a predecessor department to the CIA) during World War II, attaining the rank of Colonel in the United States Army and running covert operations with MI6 agent George McHale on the Soviet Union.
Telvesion From 1992 to 1996, George Lucas executive-produced a television series named The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, aimed mainly at teenagers and older children, which showed many of the important events and historical figures of the early 20th century through the prism of Indiana Jones' life.
The show initially featured the formula of an elderly (93 to 94 years of age) Indiana Jones played by George Hall introducing a story from his youth by way of an anecdote: the main part of the episode then featured an adventure with either a young adult Indy (16 to 21 years of age) played by Sean Patrick Flanery or a child Indy (8 to 11 years) played by Corey Carrier. One episode, "Young Indiana Jones and the Mystery of the Blues", is bookended by Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, rather than Hall. Later episodes and telemovies did not have this bookend format.
The bulk of the series centres around the young adult Indiana Jones and his activities during World War I as a 16-17 year old soldier in the Belgian army and then as an intelligence officer and spy seconded to French intelligence. The child Indy episodes follow the boy's travels around the globe as he accompanies his parents on his father's worldwide lecture tour from 1908 to 1910.
The show provided some backstory for the films, as well as new information regarding the character. Indiana Jones was born July 1, 1899, and his middle name is Walton (Lucas's middle name). It is also mentioned that he had a sister called Suzie who died as an infant of fever, and that he eventually has a daughter and grandchildren who appear in some episode introductions and epilogues. His relationship with his father, first introduced in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was further fleshed out with stories about his travels with his father as a young boy. Indy damages or loses his right eye sometime between the events in 1957 and the early 1990s, when the "Old Indy" segments take place, as the elderly Indiana Jones wears an eyepatch.
In 1999, Lucas removed the episode introductions and epilogues by George Hall for the VHS and DVD releases, and re-edited the episodes into chronologically ordered feature-length stories. The series title was also changed to The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.
Indiana Jones is featured at several Walt Disney theme park attractions.
The Indiana Jones Adventure attractions at Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea ("Temple of the Forbidden Eye" and "Temple of the Crystal Skull," respectively) place Indy at the forefront of two similar archaeological discoveries. These two temples each contain a wrathful deity who threatens the guests who ride through in World War II troop transports. The attractions, some of the most expensive of their kind at the time, opened in 1995 and 2001, respectively, with sole design credit attributed to Walt Disney Imagineering. Disney did not license Harrison Ford's likeness for the North American version; nevertheless, a differentiated Indiana Jones audio-animatronic character appears at three points in both attractions. However, the Indiana Jones featured in the DisneySea version does use Harrison Ford's likeness but uses Japanese audio for all of his speaking parts. In 2010, some of the Indy audio-animatronics at the Disneyland version have been replaced and now resemble Ford.
Disneyland Resort Paris also features an Indiana Jones-titled ride where people speed off through ancient ruins in a runaway mine wagon similar to that found in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril is a looping roller coaster engineered by Intamin, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, and opened in 1993.
The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! is a live show that has been presented in the Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park of the Walt Disney World Resort with few changes since the park's 1989 opening under a different name. The 25-minute show presents various stunts framed in the context of a feature film production, and recruits members of the audience to participate in the show. Stunt artists in the show re-create and ultimately reveal some of the secrets of the stunts of the Raiders of the Lost Ark films, including the well-known "running-from-the-boulder" scene. Stunt performer Anislav Varbanov was fatally injured in August 2009, while rehearsing the popular show. Also at Disney's Hollywood Studios, an audio-animatronic Indiana Jones appears in another attraction; during the The Great Movie Ride's Raiders of the Lost Ark segment.
Character description and formation
In his role as a college professor of archaeology, Henry Jones Jr. is scholarly and learned in a tweed suit, lecturing on ancient civilizations. In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it is revealed that Jones is influenced by the Marxist Archaeologist, Vere Gordon Childe, whose qualified acceptance of cultural diffusionism theory he propounds. Ironically, though Childe loathes fieldwork, Indy goes on to say, "If you want to be a good archaeologist, you gotta get out of the library." This is in tongue-in-cheek contrast to the previous film's comment, "Seventy percent of all archaeology is done in the library."
However, at the opportunity to recover important artifacts, Dr. Jones transforms into "Indiana," a "non-superhero superhero" image he has concocted for himself. Producer Frank Marshall said, "Indy [is] a fallible character. He makes mistakes and gets hurt. [...] That's the other thing people like: He's a real character, not a character with superpowers." Spielberg said there "was the willingness to allow our leading man to get hurt and to express his pain and to get his mad out and to take pratfalls and sometimes be the butt of his own jokes. I mean, Indiana Jones is not a perfect hero, and his imperfections, I think, make the audience feel that, with a little more exercise and a little more courage, they could be just like him." According to Spielberg biographer Douglas Brode, Indiana created his heroic figure so as to escape the dullness of teaching at a school. Both of Indiana's personas reject one another in philosophy, creating a duality. Harrison Ford said the fun of playing the character was because Indiana is both a romantic and a cynic, while scholars have analyzed Indiana as having traits of a lone wolf; a man on a quest; a noble treasure hunter; a hardboiled detective; a human superhero; and an American patriot.
Like many characters in his films, Jones has some autobiographical elements of Spielberg.
Indiana lacks a proper father figure because of his strained relationship with his father, Henry Senior. His own contained anger is misdirected at the likes of Professor Abner Ravenwood, his mentor at the University of Chicago, leading to a strained relationship with Marion Ravenwood. The teenage Indiana bases his own look on a figure from the prologue of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, after being given his hat. Marcus Brody acts as Indiana's positive role model at the college. Indiana's own insecurities are made worse by the absence of his mother. In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the character becomes the father in a temporary family unit with Willie Scott and Short Round to survive. Indiana is rescued from the evil of Kali by Short Round's dedication. Indiana also saves many children from slavery.
Because of Indiana's strained relationship with his father, who was absent much of Indiana's youth searching for the Holy Grail, the character does not pursue the more spiritual aspects of the cultures he studies. Indiana uses his knowledge of Shiva to ultimately defeat Mola Ram. In Raiders, however, he is wise enough to close his eyes in the presence of God in the Ark of the Covenant. By contrast, his rival Rene Belloq dies horribly for having the audacity to try to communicate directly with God.
In Crusade's prologue, Indiana's intentions are revealed as prosocial, as he believes artifacts "belong in a museum." In the film's climax, Indiana undergoes "literal" tests of faith to retrieve the Grail and save his father's life. He also remembers Jesus as a historical figure – a humble carpenter – rather than an exalted figure when he recognizes the simple nature and tarnished appearance of the real Grail amongst a large assortment of much more ornately decorated ones. Henry Senior rescues his son from falling to his death when reaching for the fallen Grail, telling him to "let it go," overcoming his mercenary nature. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles explains how Indiana becomes solitary and less idealistic after fighting in World War I. In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Jones is older and wiser, whereas his sidekicks Mutt and Mac are youthfully arrogant and greedy, respectively.