Warning: Major Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny spoilers ahead!
It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.
With more than four decades of playing the fedora-sporting, whip-cracking archeologist (and professor!) Indiana Jones under his belt, Harrison Ford has had his share of both.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is the fifth and final film in the famed franchise, which started with the Steven Spielberg-directed, George Lucas-produced 1981 adventure classic Raiders of the Lost Ark... at least the final Indy adventure for the 80-year-old Ford.
The story takes place at two (or technically three) pivotal points in Jones’s life: At the end of World War II in 1944, as Jones (played by a de-aged Ford) and pal Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) come between Nazi astrophysicist Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) and Archimedes’s Dial, a legendary device believed capable of time travel; and in the “present day” of 1969, when a naturally aged Jones teams with Basil’s daughter, Helena “Wombat” Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) to once again keep the dial out of the possession of Voller, who’s now working with NASA in the space race but has some seriously nefarious secret plans. (As for the third moment — major spoiler warning! — that would be way, way, way back in time, or 212 BCE in the film’s surprising climactic time-travel sequence.)
Whether you’ve seen Dial of Destiny or just need to know its deal, here are all your burning questions answered about the fifth and final Indiana Jones movie.
Is Mutt (Shia LaBeouf) in the movie?
No, Shia LaBeouf — the troubled actor we once thought would take over the mantle of Indiana Jones after playing Mutt Williams, the son of Indy and wife Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) in 2008’s Kingdom of the Crystal Skull — does not appear in Dial of Destiny. As LaBeouf pivoted from blockbusters like Indy and the Transformers series to more arthouse fare (American Honey, Honey Boy, Pieces of a Woman) amid a pattern of arrests and legal issues from 2014 to 2020, his career turned fully toxic in 2020 when he was accused by ex-girlfriend FKA Twigs of sexual battery, assault and emotional distress.
Does the movie explain why he's missing?
Yes, the movie does explain his absence, and it’s sad news for Indy. Mutt, it’s revealed, was killed during the Vietnam War, as the film hints that grief over his death led to why we find Indy living alone in New York City, separated from Marion (whom he finally married at the end of Crystal Skull), for most of Dial of Destiny.
What about Marion, Short Round (Ke-Huy Quan) or Sallah (John Ryhs-Davies)?
Two out of three ain’t bad. Marion and Sallah are back for bit parts, though it feels like director James Mangold and company missed a golden opportunity not finding a way to bring Temple of Doom fan-favorite Short Round back for a cameo given Quan’s sublime comeback and awards-season dominance for his Oscar-winning role in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
At least there have been a few emotional Ford-Quan reunions in real life, with the pair posing for a viral photo at Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim (Quan was cast in Season 2 of Marvel’s Disney+ series Loki) last September, Ford presenting the Best Picture Oscar to Everything Everywhere, and Quan attending Dial’s Hollywood premiere.
Sallah, Indy’s cohort from Raiders and Last Crusade, makes two appearances in Dial, first helping Indy travel to Morocco to track down Helena, and in the celebratory final moments with his whole family in tow.
But it’s Marion returning to Indy’s New York residence at the very end, with the pair sharing a Raiders-esque embrace and seemingly mending their marriage, that packs the most emotional punch. And despite what the tabloids may say, the 71-year-old Allen remains very recognizable in her cameo as Indy’s longtime love interest.
Is the Dial of Destiny (aka Archimedes's Dial, aka the Antikythera) based on a real thing?
Yes. The titular Dial of Destiny is based on a real device dating from the late second century BCE, known as the Antikythera mechanism. As Helena explains to Indy in Dial of Destiny, the gear-driven device was retrieved by sponge divers from a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek island Antikythera in 1901, and it’s thought to have been used to track and predict astronomical events ahead of time.
Although the film claims the device — considered to be one of the first examples of an analog computer — was invented by Archimedes, there’s no historical evidence directly linking it to the Greek mathematician, but theories have linked the device to his school of thought.
However, that's where the film transitions from fact into fiction: the real Antikythera doesn’t look quite as shiny and polished as the film version, it never fell into the hands of the Nazis, and it doesn’t have any mystical powers except for being an incredible piece of ancient engineering.
If you wanted to get a closer look at the real deal, it’s currently on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, where it belongs.
Did the Nazis really horde treasure and seek supernatural artifacts?
Yes. The Nazis did have a specialized art-theft unit — the ERR — dedicated to looting art and antiquities across occupied Europe for a planned “super museum” that never came to fruition. And while it never managed to get possession of, say, the Lost Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail or the Dial of Destiny, the Third Reich was also obsessed with the occult. In 1935, Heinrich Himmler established a paranormal research group, the Ahnenerrbe, which expanded during the war under Hitler’s orders. One of its schemes involved a plan to reanimate the dead, resurrecting famous German warriors to aid in the war effort.
At the center of these two unhinged strategies was one of Hitler’s most desired pieces of art: the Ghent Alterpiece. The giant painting, attributed to the van Eyck brothers, was believed to have a coded map on one of the panels that would lead the Nazis to lost Catholic treasures including the Spear of Destiny (seen in the new film) and the Holy Grail. It was seized by the Nazis in World War II, and later found hidden in storage in a salt mine. (For more on that story, see George Clooney’s 2014 movie The Monuments Men.)
In Dial of Destiny, we hear of Hitler’s plan to get hold of the Lance of Longinus, and on the Nazi treasure train, you can see the Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire — a series of ancient objects that really were stolen by the Nazis from Austria during the war.
Was Jürgen Voller a real person?
No, but he was based on one. Voller is very clearly a heightened riff on Wernher von Braun, the German aerospace engineer known as “the father of space travel” who was a member of the Nazi party and Allgemeine SS and led Hitler’s development of rocket technology.
After World War II, though, Voller the most prestigious of roughly 1,600 German scientists, engineers and technicians was secretly relocated to the United States as part of “Operation Paperclip.”
Von Braun subsequently worked for the United States Army and Dial of Destiny’s future distributor Disney before making his biggest mark as one of NASA’s lead space architects in sending the Apollo 11 to the moon. In 1975, he received the National Medal of Science.
Where was Indiana Jones 5 filmed?
Principle photography for Dial of Destiny took place at Pinewood Studios just outside of London. It marked a return to the U.K. for the franchise, which shot the first three films at Elstree Studios, the home of Star Wars, before moving to Hollywood for production on Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
The film also shot on location across the U.K., Morocco, and Sicily. England’s Bamburgh Castle, Leaderfoot Viaduct, Glencoe, Biggar and the North Yorkshire Moors railway station were used during the prologue, while Glasgow’s main artery, St. Vincent Street, stood in for New York during the Manhattan moon landing parade sequence. The East London suburb of Hackney stood in for Basil Shaw’s home in Oxford, while London’s Hatton Garden also doubled for New York in one scene.
A full-scale replica of a New York subway station was built on Pinewood’s legendary 007 stage for the moment Indy rides a police horse through the train tunnels.
Although part of the film takes place in Greece, the production used Sicily to double for the Greek port where Indy meets up with his old friend Renaldo (Antonio Banderas), while all of the Sicily-set scenes were filmed in the real locations including the cave of Dionysius which — like in the film — is famous for its huge echo.
For the scenes in Tangiers — including the Tuktuk chase — the production shot exteriors in the city of Fez, while the interior of the Hotel L’Atlantique was built on a Pinewood sound stage.
Does Indy die in the end?
Given Ford has plainly stated that Dial of Destiny would be his last time donning the fedora, fans naturally wondered if Indy would die a hero’s death like his other most famous character, Han Solo, in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens — especially considering Ford was teaming with director James Mangold, who managed to kill off Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in the critically acclaimed Logan.
And while it momentarily seems like Indy might live out his last days chopping it up with Archimedes in 212 BCE (understandably an archeologist’s ultimate fantasy), Indy is ultimately safely transported back to the present day, where he’ll seemingly live happily (crankily) ever after.
Is there an end-credits scene?
No. Following in the tradition of the four previous films, there is no final scene for fans to enjoy after the credits have rolled.
However, there is a fun moment in the very last shot of the movie. As the camera cranes from the streets of New York back up to Indy’s apartment balcony, we see his trademark fedora hanging up on a washing line.
The screen begins to fade to black with an iris closing in on the hat, and just before it shuts completely, a hand snatches the hat from the line. While not hinting Indy is ready for another adventure — again, Ford says this is final time in the role — it does suggest that the world-weary professor has finally regained his zest for life.
Is Phoebe Waller-Bridge “the next Indiana Jones”?
This, of course, has been one of the most hot-button topics surrounding the release of Dial of Destiny. After her breakout television series Fleabag (which she created and starred in) and Killing Eve (where she served as head writer and executive producer), the British performer has become one of the most in-demand multihyphenates in Hollywood and has contributed to two of its biggest franchises, co-starring in Solo: A Star Wars Story and writing Daniel Craig’s James Bond swan song, No Time to Die.
With her prominent role in Dial, speculation naturally followed that Waller-Bridge could snatch the baton from Ford as he exits the series, especially as a number of other major franchises and characters (Ghostbusters, Ocean’s, Hulk) have been gender-flipped in recent years.
Rumors ran rampant that Dial of Destiny originally ended with Waller-Bridge’s Shaw literally putting on the fedora, but was changed by Disney and Lucasfilm after test audiences revolted. Mangold forcefully shot down those rumors down in December, though, railing on Twitter, “No one is 'taking over' or replacing Indy or donning his hat nor is he being 'erased' thru some contrivance. And he never was, not in any cut or script — but trolls will troll — that's how they get their clicks.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean Helena Shaw doesn’t have a future in Hollywood, though. Waller-Bridge is drawing acclaim for her spirited performance going toe-to-toe with Ford in Dial, and, again, Waller-Bridge has accumulated some major credibility in the business. It’s reasonable to think Disney and Lucasfilm would at least consider spinning off her character into her own franchise, though rumors have also circulated in recent months that a planned Indy-related Disney+ series has been shelved after the failure of this year’s female-led Willow.
Our two cents: Give Ke-Huy Quan’s Short Round his own series!
Is Indiana Jones 5 the last one?
By all accounts, Dial of Destiny is the last Indiana Jones movie starring Harrison Ford. But then again, there was as time where we never thought we’d see the actor play Jones, Han Solo or Rick Deckard again, and he has reprised all three. So we’ll only say this with 95% certainty.
And of course, in Hollywood, you can never discount a lucrative series being rebooted with a new actor in the role 10 or 20 years from now.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is now playing.
Watch the trailer: