James Mangold Explains Why Indiana Jones Is Still Fighting Nazis in Dial of Destiny: “It’s Just Relevant Even to Our World Today”

Image: Lucasfilm

Lucasfilm released a new trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny last week that can confirm Harrison Ford, who turns 81 in July, will be fighting Nazis once again as the titular archaeologist, and now, director James Mangold has revealed why. In a new interview with IGN, Mangold explained that Nazis are tied closely to the franchise, and while they’ve already been used in what many moviegoers have said are the best Indiana Jones films ever made—1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and 1989’s Last Crusade—the director stated that the group, and groups like them, sill exist in various forms, making them “both familiar and relevant.” Mangold goes on to suggest that he didn’t agree to direct Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny strictly for the money.

From an IGN interview:

According to Mangold, Nazis are tied to the franchise and, unfortunately, they, and other groups like them, are still relevant today in various forms.

“They’re as much a part of the character of Indiana Jones as every other element we’re familiar with,” Mangold said. “But also I think there are a million ways it’s just relevant even to our world today, whether they’re called one thing or another, these things don’t die away. These groups have kind of dreams of order and of the old days and are trying to return to them. So I felt like it was both familiar and relevant.”

Speaking of origins, Mangold also talked about becoming the first director besides Steven Spielberg to direct an Indiana Jones film. For him, it was a dream come true moment to be able to be a part of this iconic franchise, but even he had his reservations.

“Well, at first I was hesitant because of my admiration for Steven [Speilberg] and Harrison [Ford] and stepping in,” Mangold said. “But when they came to me, there was such a feeling that they were still open to what the story was going to be. And so I got the opportunity for a year to kind of really work with the Butterworth brothers, Jez and John-Henry, on what the story of this film was going to be.

“And in some ways, the danger always with sequels is really, do they just exist to make money or do they have something left to say? And that’s kind of the blunt question for me. Money is wonderful, but I’m not really interested in the creative act of just making a thing that’s here just to cash in on its name.”

From a Lucasfilm post:

The trailer opens with Harrison Ford’s iconic archaeologist asleep in his apartment — until the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” jolts him awake, a signal that we’re far removed from the era of the original Indiana Jones films. Indy is in late-‘60s New York and he’s also retiring, but not before his goddaughter, Helena (played by Phoebe Waller-Bridge), recruits him for one more adventure: to recover a “dial that could change the course of history.” We also see earlier Indy escapades, including an encounter with Mads Mikkelsen’s villainous Jürgen Voller, who is after the dial. There are car chases, horse-in-the-subway pursuits, and falls from planes. In other words, it looks like an Indy journey through and through.

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