Today I learned something that almost makes me feel like my childhood was a lie. Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984) is a prequel. Even though Temple Of Doom was released three years after Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981), in the Indiana Jones storyline, Temple Of Doom takes place in the year 1935, one year before Raiders Of The Lost Ark in 1936. If you didn’t already know that Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom is a prequel (like me), then read on.
Indiana Jones Films: Release Dates vs Storyline
One of my favorite film series of all time is Indiana Jones movies. While the rest of his Star Wars cast struggled to break out of their intergalactic typecasts, Harrison Ford made an almost effortless transition to the Indiana Jones role. Throughout his career, Ford starred in (4) Indiana Jones films.
- 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark
- 1984 film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
- 1989 film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
- 2008 film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Temple Of Doom Is A Prequel
For my entire life, I always assumed that Temple Of Doom was a sequel to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. So when KSL NewsRadio radio personality, Ethan Millard, declared on Twitter that Temple Of Doom was a prequel, we challenged him to prove it. He could have just replied with a link to this Reddit thread but instead, he provided a couple of screenshots.
In Indiana Jones mythology, Temple Of Doom is Volume 23 and takes place in 1935. Raiders Of The Lost Ark happens a year later in 1936 and is Volume 24 of the series.
If Temple Of Doom Is A Prequel, Then…..
Even diehard Indiana Jones fans may be shocked to learn that Temple Of Doom is a prequel to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. But there’s a major problem in the scripts for Temple Of Doom and Raiders Of The Lost Ark that doesn’t make any sense.
In Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Indiana Jones spends most of the film telling anyone who will listen that he doesn’t believe in magic or religion. He’s a skeptic. It’s only at the end of the film that he changes his mind and closes his eyes in an act of faith so his face won’t get melted off.
But if Temple Of Doom is a prequel, then Indiana Jones should already believe in magic. One year earlier in Temple Of Doom, Indiana Jones is brainwashed by a spell and watches a religious cult leader rip someone’s heart out of their chest using magic from the Sankara stones.
Why would Indiana Jones forget all of his experiences with magic in Temple Of Doom? In his timeline, it only happened a year before Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Maybe the chilled monkey brains made him forget.
NERD NOTE: Kate Capshaw, Harrison Ford’s costar in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom (1984), found her future husband on the set. She became close with director Steven Spielberg and married him several years later in 1991.