In yet another example that Disney holds no respect for the legacy of the numerous IPs they’ve assimilated over the years, the first trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny seems to suggest that the world’s most famous archaeologist has forgotten his own past adventures.
Released on December 1st, the trailer opens with a montage of the title hero’s (Harrison Ford) life in the years since Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Amongst shots of Jones teaching, exploring a river-filled cave, and riding a motorcycle in pursuit of a departing plane, the familiar voice of the returning Sallah (John Rhys-Davies) begins to reminisce, “I miss the desert, and waking up every morning wondering what wonderful adventure the new day will bring to us.
“Those days have come and gone,” the tired explorer replies to his old friend. “Perhaps,” Sallah replies. “Perhaps not.”
As Jones turns to Sallah, intrigued by his open-ended suggestion, the trailer cuts to present another montage of clips, which begins by presenting audiences with glimpses at such forthcoming events as Jones fighting a Nazi atop a train (ostensibly in a flashback), Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) in a rooftop pursuit, and the hero’s discovering of the eponymous Dial of Destiny.
From there, the montage moves to tease a number of the film’s action set pieces, including the aforementioned train-top fight, a horseback chase through a parade, and the exploration of ancient ruins by Jones and Helena – ostensibly in an effort to distract viewers from the nonsensical ‘advice’ by offered by Jones over the footage.
“I don’t believe in magic, but a few times in my life, I’ve seen things,” says the hero to an unknown individual, presumably Helena given the inflection of hope in his words. “Things I can’t explain, and I’ve come to believe it’s not so much what you believe – it’s how hard you believe it.”
Ostensibly, given that this film is being advertised as a sequel, these words are being uttered by the same man who lived through the first three films.
At this point in his life, Jones has been presented with physical, objective proof of the existence of both the Christian God – courtesy of the literal wrath of God in Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as the spirit of a Templar knight and the effects of the actual Holy Grail in The Last Crusade – and the Hindu god Shiva – as seen in his evoking of the deity’s name to heat up the Shiva linga stones during the climax of The Temple of Doom. (And to that last point, it should be noted that he was able to evoke Shiva’s name without even really believing in the deity – it was a hail mary throw.)
As such, it’s stretch of bullwhip proportions from Disney to suggest that Jones would even entertain the possibility that something as abstract as ‘magic’ existed in a world where such belief systems were provably true (and in all honesty, given the time period and the sheer awesomeness of the proof to His existence he has seen, Jones would likely be in a Christian church every Sunday).
Not only that, but thanks to his aforementioned outing in Mayapore fighting against the Thuggee cult, Jone has also seen that strength of conviction is not enough to actualize one’s own belief. Otherwise, Mola Ram may have emerged from their fight the victor rather than a crocodile snack.
Finally, as a version of John Williams original The Raiders March composition – known colloquially as ‘the Indiana Jones theme’ – crescendos in conclusion to the montage, Disney closes out the trailer with an attempt at subverting audience expectations.
Meeting with a number of shady figures in a Middle Eastern restaurant, Jones suddenly jumps back from the table and, in an attempt to intimidate his opponents, begins to crack his whip in their direction. Following a declaration of “Get back” from the archaeologist, the crowd responds to his threats by drawing their own individual firearms and taking aim at Jones.
Shocked by the number of barrels he now finds himself staring down, Jones ends this inversion of Raiders of the Lost Ark’s infamous duel by ducking down under the table as the crowd opens fire.
Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is set to premiere in theaters on June 30th, 2023.