John Rhys-Davies wants a poignant return in Indiana Jones 5

Ryan Leston
UK Movies Writer

Could ‘Indiana Jones 5’ see the return of Sallah? John Rhys-Davies thinks so and he has a rather good idea how to make that happen.

Appearing at the BAFTA Cymru Awards, to pick up a special award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television, the legendary ‘Indiana Jones’ actor told Yahoo: “What would have happened to Sallah? I like to think that he would have been somebody like Khaled al-Asaad – that marvellous 80-year-old man who was defending his museum in Palmyra and who hid its major treasures and refused to give them over to ISIS and was beheaded in the town square. I think that’s probably how I would have seen Sallah.”

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“I’d love to have one last crack at Sallah,” said Rhys-Davies. “But I understand if time has just moved on – it would be sad.”

The real-life story of Khaled al-Asaad made headlines in 2015.

The 82-year-old Syrian scholar refused to lead ISIS to hidden Palmyra antiquities and was brutally murdered by Islamic State militants when they couldn’t get what they wanted. It’s a harrowing, absolutely horrific story.

But it seems like a fitting tribute to old Sallah.

During the events of ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, the ‘best digger in Egypt’ aids Indiana Jones in his quest to find the Ark of the Covenant – though he fears disturbing the ancient relic. His role in ‘The Last Crusade’ sees him coming to the aid of Jones once more and he always does seem to end up keeping those ancient relics out of the hands of evil.

And a heroic death could be the perfect end to Sallah’s story.

“Sallah is the last Arab in popular, contemporary culture, that we regard as a hero,” he added. “The world has changed, and that’s a tragedy for the West and for the Arab world.”

“Perhaps there is no place for a Sallah anymore?” he mused. “Although I trust that my mention of Khaled al-Asaad just reminds people that they are not all iconoclasts and that there are heroes there – real heroes, too.”

Either way, John Rhys-Davies would love to return and ‘Indiana Jones 5’ would be all the better for it.

‘Indiana Jones 5’ will star Harrison Ford as the iconic archaeologist.

Steven Spielberg will direct the film based on a script by David Koepp.

Watch Tom Selleck discussing his Indiana Jones audition below…


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