Although Harrison Ford is the only actor to appear in all five Indiana Jones movies, there have been a handful of people who’ve paired with Dr. Henry Jones Jr. for more than one adventure. Among them is John Rhys-Davies, who first played longtime friend Sallah in Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade, then was brought back last year for The Dial of Destiny (following his refusal to appear in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull). Because Indiana Jones 5 is the last movie in the franchise, we won’t be seeing Sallah onscreen again, but Rhys-Davies has shared what he thinks happened to his character after the events of the 1969-set story.
While appearing at a MegaCon panel hosted by Collider’s Arezou Amin, Rhys-Davies was asked if he prefers playing Sallah or Gimli from the original Lord of the Rings trilogy. The actor chose the former, describing Sallah as “wonderful” and “probably the only Arab hero in contemporary Western culture that we recognize.” Later on, Rhys-Davies said the following about how he envisions what the future holds in store for his Indiana Jones character:
I’ll tell you how I think Sallah ends up. I think he ends up like that wonderful fellow Waleed [Khaled] al-As’ad, who is the keeper of the museum in Palmyra. And when ISIS came or I think it was ISIS, he refused, he’d hidden all the treasures and he refused to give them out. And they said, if you don’t, we will kill you and he refused. And I think he was 82 years old and he was forced to kneel and they beheaded him. That’s a man protecting his culture. That’s a man protecting history. And I believe that’s the sort of man that Sallah might have become.
More Indiana Jones Stories
The story of what happened to Khaled al-Asaad is tragic, but the idea of Sallah also becoming a protector of treasures and antiquities is also quite fitting for the character. After all, he was introduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark as an excavator, and while we’ve only seen him share screen time with Indiana Jones three times, those two went on many more adventures together offscreen where they tracked down rare artifacts. It’s only natural that Sallah would want to spend the rest of his life protecting such things from the dregs of humanity.
When moviegoers reunited with Sallah in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, he was working as a cab driver in New York City, with Indy having relocated him and his family to the United States during World War II. Sallah helped Indy get out of the U.S. and tipped him off that his goddaughter Helena would likely be in Tangier, then returned at the end of The Dial of Destiny after Indy woke up. I’m going to make John Rhys-Davies’ idea head canon and imagine that as the 1970s begin, Sallah will ensure that his family’s doing ok, then embark on a new life of adventuring as this treasure protector.
Remember that you can stream Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, the previous four movies and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles with a Disney+ subscription. Otherwise, learn what cinematic delights await later this year with the 2024 movies schedule.