Even though Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a box-office hit, it was still panned by critics and audiences alike. One of the main reasons that Crystal Skull receives flak stems from the movie’s use of aliens, or interdimensional beings, as George Lucas preferred to call them. For many, it felt extremely far-fetched that aliens existed in the Indiana Jones universe, but this paled in comparison to the mythical being that Indy once faced off against in his comic book universe.
Larry Lieber and Vince Colletta’s The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #19 takes Indy to the Himalayas after he received a notice from a Japanese colleague stating he found something amazing in the mountains. After the Japanese explorers scared off a primitive tribe, they were shocked to discover a full-grown dragon entrapped in ice. When Indy’s colleague reported his findings to the Japanese military, they decided the dragon could best be used as a weapon to attack American shores five years before the attack on Pearl Harbor. Fearful of a war between two prospering nations, Indy’s colleague reached out to him in an effort to prevent the Japanese from taking the beast.
Unfortunately, Indy arrived too late and the Japanese had already taken possession of the dragon. He attempted to stop them but his efforts proved fruitless. Luckily, the primitive tribe that oversaw the dragon recognized Indy as a hero and provided him with an enchantment that could return the dragon to the Himalayas. With this new information in tow, Indy set sail for the Land of the Rising Sun.
Jones tried to track down his colleague but was shocked to learn that his friend had committed suicide by hara-kiri, ritual disembowelment with a sword. Indy began working with his colleagues’ daughter who alerted him to a religious temple that she believed the military was using. Indy was immediately attacked upon entering the temple by a sumo wrestler, and their subsequent battle inadvertently woke up the dragon.
The dragon began to attack the inside of the temple before Indy struck it with his whip. The dragon chased after him and he was able to lasso his whip around the beasts’ neck before it took flight. He then rode the dragon through the Japanese countryside as it rained down chaos. Before the dragon could attack a group of school children, Indy read the primitive text and transported the dragon back to its original location.
While it might seem like an outlandish Indiana Jones story, this issue came out near the pinnacle of the franchise’s popularity. This issue came out a few months after Temple of Doom hit theatres, demonstrating that dragons were an idea well before aliens came to the forefront. Lucasfilm has also previously stated that the Further Adventures of Indiana Jones comic series is canon which means that dragons exist in the Indiana Jones universe. This story also takes place in the same year as Raiders of the Lost Ark, a mere few months after the events of the movie.
Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was not a perfect movie, but the inclusion of aliens should not take away from the movie’s experience. Indiana Jones adventures always include some essence of the unknown or supernatural. Even the original movies had supernatural religious artifacts. That’s not to say that there aren’t problems with Crystal Skull. The movie has many scenes that seem a little too fantastical, especially the jungle Jeep chase. While these scenes may feel a bit unrealistic, they still fit in line with Indiana Jones’ narrative.
This story more or less should serve as a warning to those expecting a classic Indiana Jones adventure when the fifth movie releases. Although audiences should not be concerned about the threat of a dragon’s appearance, the movie’s timeline could cause some concern. Indiana Jones was most prevalent during the mid-late 1930s. While he did have other adventures outside of this timeframe, his most notable experiences took place then. The new movie is rumored to take place in the 1960s during the Space Race. Viewers would do well to keep in mind that Indy is already aware of aliens and his adventures are not always grounded in reality. If Indy has already witnessed dragons and aliens, almost anything else is possible in his newest adventure.
Brennan Fielder is a video game and comic writer based in Kentucky. He is extremely passionate about Star Wars and loves all things involving a galaxy far, far away. As a history enthusiast, Brennan consistently finds himself encompassed in the lore and history of Marvel and DC heroes. A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a bachelor’s in Broadcast Journalism, Brennan is always ready to tackle the next story. For his most recent stories and Star Wars news, you can follow Brennan on Twitter at @BrennanFielder.
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