Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) is at the center of a dumb Indy controversy.Image: Lucasfilm
Before the trailer for Indiana Jones 5 was released, the world hardly knew anything about it. They knew who was in the cast and its release date, but until the trailer hit, 99.9% of the world didn’t even know the film’s title. In some deep, dark pockets online, though, certain fans think they know everything, and director James Mangold just fired back.
We now know the fifth Indiana Jones is called Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. It’s set in the 1960s and begins with a flashback featuring Harrison Ford de-aged, fighting Nazis. As for what specifically the “Dial of Destiny” is or what the movie is actually about, that’s officially still a mystery. Some online sleuths have begun to piece it together—while others have gone on to fabricate wildly inaccurate and, frankly, misogynistic predictions, and those were what Mangold addressed Friday.
What follows is largely non-spoiler but, according to io9 sources, does give away some very broad strokes about the plot of Dial of Destiny. So if you’d prefer to remain completely spoiler-free, go away now.
The prevailing rumor for the past several months, and one that io9 believes to be accurate, is that Dial of Destiny somehow involves time travel. Now, what does that mean? How? Why? Those things we don’t know and really would rather not know until June 30. What we do know is that online trolls have taken that nugget and fabricated an ending for the film that is not correct. But, with the time-travel plot becoming more likely with each and every reveal, some fans continue to perpetuate the lie.
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“Well Indiana Jones and the dial of destiny looks amazing @mang0ld, but if Indy dies and is erased from existence with Phoebe Waller Bridge taking over then you won’t hear the end of it sir! I hope that doomcock dude is wrong! Just have Indy and Marion retire!” tweeted user @Jonesy0091. And yes, that’s the theory. Via time travel, Indiana Jones will go back in time and erase himself, making it so Waller-Bridge’s character, Helena, will have canonically completed all of Indy’s adventures. The rumor goes so far as to say the film ends with scenes from the original four films, all of which now have Helena in them. (Fans have even created fake screenshots of the scenes which are beyond hilarious.)
A few weeks ago, another fan tweeted this theory to Mangold as a screenshot who simply replied “Not true,” before going on to a few other points. Friday’s response to the above tweet went further, though. “One more time. 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 not in any cut or script — but trolls will troll — that’s how they get their clicks,” Mangold tweeted.
He continued: “And please don’t exhaust me pointing out how once in a while a troll is ‘right.’ Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now & then. All one has to do is look at set photos & interviews & u get enough info to make wild guesses about a movie plot.” This, we can infer, refers to the fact that time travel is in fact part of the plot. But there’s more. “The diff between trolling a-holes & everyone else is they r trying to make $ off your feelings about other films & culture war politics. They push controversial guesses as coming from ‘sources’ to gin up clicks. Let it go.” And with that, the director probably went back to actually making the movie.
First of all, bravo to James Mangold for speaking out and defending his movie, something he doesn’t have to do and most Disney executives probably would’ve advised against. You never feed the trolls. But he, like others who have followed this story, is probably fed up not only at people believing blatant lies, but also their undercurrent of hatred and misogyny. That anyone could get so wound up about the slightest possibility of a woman having the same accomplishments as Indiana Jones is absurd at best and offensive at worst. These are fictional characters. Characters meant to engage and reflect the audience regardless of gender, race, age, height, etc. For decades non-men watched Indy movies and enjoyed them. Men can’t watch a woman in the role for five minutes and be cool with it? (Which, again, does not happen.)
Even if that was the ending—which, for the last time, it is not—if Indy the character chose to erase himself in a movie, that doesn’t erase the movies themselves. You could still watch them and see Indy find the Ark or Holy Grail, regardless of what follows. You’d think a person obsessed enough with Indiana Jones to be reading spoilers about the ending of his new movie months ahead of time could respect the decision of the fictional character they’ve put such an onus on.
io9 reached out to Lucasfilm which did not have a comment on the situation. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny opens June 30 and we’ll have much more in the coming months.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.