Indiana Jones and Helena in Dial of Destiny

‘Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’ Reused This ‘Force Awakens’ Plotline

Are these similarities unoriginal or intentional?

Comparisons between the newest Indiana Jones film and the Star Wars sequel trilogy were inevitable. However, I am certainly feeling a bit of déjà vu when it comes to the storyline. Specifically, the many ways in which Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’s plot resembles that of The Force Awakens.

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The plot

Both Dial of Destiny and The Force Awakens revolve around Harrison Ford’s character losing his son and the resulting dissolution of his marriage with his brunette wife. As a result, Ford’s character starts both films a bit miserable and washed-up with only a few good friends left, longing for the days of his youth.

Despite his grumpiness, he still gets pulled into an adventure when some young people follow in his character’s footsteps, forcing him to be a mentor / surrogate father to them as a replacement for the child he lost.

Unoriginal or intentional?

The first accusation concerning this plotline is that it’s unoriginal and therefore bad. However, I would also point out that many aspects of this plot are aspects of the “requel” (or legacy sequel) as a whole; Logan, Scream (2022), and Halloween (2018) featured plotlines about failed marriages or estranged children that the hero must come to terms with while guiding the next generation.

These requel plotlines mostly explore how being a hero or protagonist is not conducive to maintaining family bonds and often leaves the hero alone and bitter now that they’ve survived to old age. Requels also analyze the physical toll of heroics, with many legacy heroes struggling with the realities of aging.

In many ways, the film borrows from Kingdom of the Crystal Skull as much as it borrows from The Force Awakens, only this time, the young person Indy is mentoring is his goddaughter and not his biological son. Personally, I think Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena is a great foil for Indiana; she reflects a lot of his worst tendencies back at him, from grave-robbing to recklessness and willful child endangerment.

What makes Dial of Destiny unique is that Jones survives the film, saved from his own self-destructive tendencies thanks to the intervention of his goddaughter. This breaks the trend of “passing the torch” to the next generation via the older hero sacrificing themselves, and arguably thumbs its nose at how self-sacrifice in many films is actually just thinly veiled self-destruction.

If anything, the last shot in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny—of Indy grabbing his hat from where it hangs on his balcony—shows that the great adventurer’s journey is not yet over.

What “requel” / legacy sequel do you think did this plot the best? Comment below!

(featured image: Disney/Lucasfilm)


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Author
Kimberly Terasaki
Kimberly Terasaki is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She has been writing articles for them since 2018, going on 5 years of working with this amazing team. Her interests include Star Wars, Marvel, DC, Horror, intersectional feminism, and fanfiction; some are interests she has held for decades, while others are more recent hobbies. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan.