Indiana Jones George Lucas: Temple of Doom’s ‘Sankara Stones were a bit of a reach’

Indiana Jones: Harrison Ford discusses shooting fifth film

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Lucas is best known for creating the Star Wars franchise, but between the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy, the writer outlined and pitched the Indiana Jones series to a collection of movie studios. One of the standout features of the films was that each film had a supernatural object at its heart.

Lucas spoke candidly about how he found success with Indiana Jones in 2008, saying: “Indiana Jones aren’t action movies. They’re primarily mysteries with a supernatural object.

“So it’s kind of like X-Files. X-Files came out of this idea – instead of taking archaeological objects, they took Bigfoot and aliens and psychological mythology instead of the physical – but it amounts to the same thing. It amounts to a belief in the supernatural.

“Only, Indiana Jones films are supernatural mystery movies. They’re always going after some supernatural object. It’s not a pretend object. It’s not something that we made up.

“It’s something that actually exists, or people believe exists – whether it does or not is in dispute.”

The first film in the series, Raiders of the Lost Ark, followed the search for the legendary Ark of the Covenant, an object from history with real ties in legend.

The second film, The Temple of Doom, focussed on Indy (Ford) searching for the lost Sankara Stones – mythical objects which would glow brightly when brought together.

Lucas commented on these stones, saying: “We try to keep it within the realm of reality, but stretch it just a bit to make it more interesting and have more fun with it. And also, it’s based on some kind of real mythology that exists that people actually believe in.

“Sankara Stones was a bit of a reach, [laughs] but in Asia it’s not. As many people believe in the Sankara Stones as believe in the Holy Grail. That’s just Western, Eastern audience.”

Moving on to discuss The Last Crusade’s religious object, Lucas said: “But it’s the same thing with the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail has mythical connotations, has been ascribed with several powers, but nothing very specific. 

“So we had a time when we were going to do it and we rejected it, and we thought we better add to it some sort of healing property, to give it something to grab onto – which have been alluded to in the history of the Holy Grail.”

The Sankara Stones were such an iconic piece of The Temple of Doom, but the beginning of the movie included an enormous reference to a James Bond movie.

Before Spielberg joined Lucas on the Indiana Jones films, he was looking to direct the next 007 movie.

Harrison Ford stars in Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom

Spielberg revealed in 2016: “I called [Bond boss] Cubby Broccoli twice, and after Jaws which was such a huge success, I thought: ‘Hey people are giving me final cut now.’ So I called up Cubby and offered my services but he didn’t think I was right for the part.

“Then even after Close Encounters [of the Third Kind] came out and was a big hit – once again – I tried to get on a Bond film.”

He added: “I’ve never asked again. Instead, I made the Indiana Jones series.”

After being turned down for the job, Spielberg dressed Ford in a white tuxedo with a black bowtie and a red lapel flower in the first scenes of The Temple of Doom.

This outfit choice was a huge reference to 1964 Bond movie Goldfinger.

In the film, Sean Connery played 007 wearing the exact same suit, making them look very similar to one another.

Connery later played Ford’s father, Henry Jones Snr, in The Last Crusade, further connecting the two franchises.

The Indiana Jones films are available on Amazon Prime Video now. 

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