“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” – The last, last, last crusade.
Dear Indiana Jones Fans,
First, we’d like to thank you for supporting Indiana Jones. Without fans like you, Dr. Jones’ rich world universe of movies, comic books, novels, video games, pinball machines, a television series, a theme park ride, a stunt show, and countless merchandise would not have been possible. Even if you aren’t aware that most of those things existed, we assure you that they are all real things, many of which at least several of you enjoyed.
We would also like to extend our sincerest apologies for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. We didn’t want to make it either, but we signed a deal in the late 1970s with Paramount Pictures to make five Indiana Jones films. Paramount was upset that we titled the third film The Last Crusade and even more upset that it was an exceptionally good way to end a (sort-of) trilogy. They threatened to let Michael Bay write and direct two more if we didn’t do them, so you can see we really didn’t have a choice. Plus, they insisted we cast Shia LaBeouf and center the plot around aliens and CGI because Transformers was far more successful than they expected. Again, we are deeply sorry.
Luckily, Disney bought us in 2012. They were just as upset at Crystal Skull as you, noting that the wait time for their Disneyland theme park ride had dropped from seventy-five minutes to three minutes. Crowds for Epcot’s stunt show dwindled as well, in no small part due to a familiar-looking young man insisting the stunt show needed to incorporate swinging from vines. With Disney in control of our franchise rights, they told us to fulfill our contract to Paramount with a final movie respecting the heart of the franchise and that they did not know what a Mutt Williams was.
To show how much we appreciate your continued support of the franchise (especially the shockingly high $791 million box office), we present to you Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. We swear Dial of Destiny will be the last Indiana Jones movie. I know you’ve heard this before, but this time we really mean it. We even had Harrison Ford go on the record (NBC’s Today – May, 2019) saying “I’m Indiana Jones. When I’m gone, he’s gone.” Nineteen years passed between The Last Crusade and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, another fifteen years to Dial of Destiny, and Ford will be eighty-one years old next month. You do the math.
Dial of Destiny has all the things you love about Indiana Jones adventures. Jones using his bullwhip. Jones punching people. Jones pursuing an ancient relic/MacGuffin. Jones explaining the history and mythology of that ancient relic. Jones fighting Nazis. Jones riding a horse. Jones picking up his hat. Closeups of Jones’ hat. Jones lecturing a bunch of college students in a classroom. Jones driving a vehicle in a chase scene. We even used CGI to de-age Jones for an opening scene where he tries to recover a different ancient relic than the main story ancient relic. Oh…and Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) is there too.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t bring back everything you love. This is the first Indiana Jones movie that isn’t directed by Steven Spielberg. We left many, many (many) messages and, eventually, his assistant called us and said Steven was busy making a movie that Steven says will be THE defining biopic of cinema. Now that we are done making Dial of Destiny, we’re excited to have free time to watch Spielberg’s movie to find out which great person of history Spielberg pointed his camera at.
Dial of Destiny is also the first Indiana Jones movie not written by George Lucas. You’re welcome.
We think you’ll be happy to hear that James Mangold agreed to direct and help write the screenplay for Dial of Destiny. Mangold was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Director for Ford v. Ferrari and Best Adapted Screenplay for Logan, so rest assured Dial of Destiny was in good hands. In addition, Mangold brought with him Jez and John-Henry Butterworth – the writers of Ford v. Ferrari. Finally, we added David Koepp as a fourth writer, who has helped write many good movies (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man, Mission: Impossible), many other less good movies (The Shadow, Snake Eyes, The Mummy (2017)), and that he is very, very sorry he answered George Lucas’ phone calls while writing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
We’re also excited to tell you about the other main characters. Phoebe Waller-Bridge plays Indy’s goddaughter/archaeologist Helena Shaw, the daughter of Indy’s friend Basil (Toby Jones). Helena wants to find the ancient relic so she can sell it and she needs Indy’s help to get it. Waller-Bridge attacks her role with the same gusto as Karen Allen did in Raiders of the Lost Ark. She will quip and smirk and archaeology so much you’ll think she’s a female incarnation of Indy himself.
Opposite them, Mads Mikkelsen plays an evil Nazi scientist named Jurgen Voller and nobody does evil villain like Mikkelsen. Like every Indiana Jones villain, Voller wants the ancient relic for its mythical power in order to help the Nazis take over the world. Also like every Indiana Jones villain, Voller is very one-dimensional to ensure there is no chance you will ever sympathize with him.
Everything else we did with the movie, we did with you, the fans, in mind. In honor of the previous films, we put in a bunch of easter eggs. We added a fun kid sidekick, Teddy (Ethann Isidore), a Moroccan teenager who helps Helena. He is no Short Round and, now that we think about it, adds nothing to the story or events. But we couldn’t find a way that drinking blood, ripping hearts out, or surviving a fall from an airplane in an inflatable raft made sense in this movie, so we went with the kid. Also, Sallah is there.
We cast Antonio Banderas as Renaldo, a new “old” friend of Indy’s for a fun underwater diving scene. We refrained from using too much CGI and filmed a ton of practical effects in several locations around the world. We put in a gigantic henchman for Indy to fight. We even decided to finally show the full power of the artifact, which we feel was the one flaw in the first three movies. We just know you’ll love it the same way you love it when monster movies show the monster in the first act of the film.
In gratitude to you, we spent $295 million dollars to make certain Dial of Destiny is at least the fourth best Indiana Jones movie. You might even say the third best. We appreciate your forty years of devotion and hope you enjoy watching Dial of Destiny as much as we enjoyed making it. Even if you don’t, we think you’d agree that shouldn’t ask for more than eight dollars back.
The Indiana Jones Franchise