Short Round and Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom

Ke Huy Quan Shares How THAT Backstage Reunion with Harrison Ford Happened

The moment from D23 that truly took me back to being a kid was seeing Ke Huy Quan and Harrison Ford together. And that’s saying something given that it is D23 and I am but a Disney kid at heart. The moment was so pure and included the two embracing each other with such happiness that it felt like I was back watching Temple of Doom for the first time again.

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Now, Ke Huy Quan—who played Short Round in Temple of Doom as a child and recently was a standout as Waymond in Everything Everywhere All At Once—shared what that reunion was like. Speaking to Kyle Buchanan at the New York Times for an upcoming piece (that Buchanan tweeted will be out later this week), Quan shared that he was so nervous about trying to see Ford again and that he wasn’t even sure if the actor would remember him since it has been so long since the two were together last.

“Oh my God. Let me tell you this. We were at the D23 event and I was told Harrison was gonna be there,” Quan said. “We’re in this green room with so many actors, producers, and directors, and the person who was assigned to assist me said, ‘Harrison Ford is right outside the green room. Would you want to go say hi?’ I’m thinking, ‘Of course! I haven’t seen him in 38 years.” So I walk out and I see him about 15 feet away talking to Phoebe Waller-Bridge, they’re there to promote Indy 5. And as I walk close, my heart is
pounding. I’m thinking, ‘Is he gonna recognize me? The last time he saw me, I was a little kid.'”

Quan went on to talk about Ford recognizing him even though it has been years since the two have been together and Quan is now an adult. “And as I get closer, he turns and points his finger at me, and he has that classic, famous, grumpy Harrison Ford look. I go, ‘Oh my gosh, he probably thinks I’m a fan
and he’s gonna tell me to not come near him.’ But he looks and points at me and says, ‘Are you Short Round?'” Quan said. “Immediately, was transported back to 1984, when I was a little kid, and I said, ‘Yes, Indy.’ And he said, ‘Come here.’ and gave me a big hug. When I wrapped my arms around him, all those wonderful memories I had on the set came flooding back. It felt so comfortable. It was amazing, and he’s an amazing man one of the most generous men on the planet.”

If the series should go to anyone, it should go to Short Round

The conversation about who should be the next Indiana Jones has been going around for years and I don’t love the conversation. Mainly because Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones and always will be, and at the point where they try to name a “new” Indiana Jones like a “new” James Bond, it would just be an attempt to keep the franchise going with the name they can keep making money verses telling a good Indy story. What I would love, however, is a series on Short Round.

The first time we met Quan’s Short Round was in Temple of Doom and the two were a tag-team that annoyed Indy to no end but by the two had such a sweet relationship. The problem was that Temple of Doom was a prequel and we already knew that Short Round was not in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then the only option we had in that original trilogy was The Last Crusade and we didn’t get the reunion I wanted.

While Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a movie, it came at a time in Quan’s career when he had left this industry thinking that there wasn’t a place for him (an admission that happened after his return to acting in Everything Everywhere All At Once). But now that he is back and taking Hollywood by storm, something that makes me so incredibly happy, I hope that we get to see the return of Short Round in Indy 5. And if anyone deserves to be the next archaeological action-adventurer, it’s Quan.

This quote makes it seem as if that doesn’t happen, but I’m going to pretend and still hold out hope that he just didn’t have a scene with Ford because come on, how AMAZING would it be to have Short Round (who has the name Wan Li despite the movie calling him Short Round the entire time) back and take over? Or at least let him embrace Indy! I’m going to imagine this was the classic Disney actor redirect and that Quan and Ford have actually reunited before D23. What I know for certain, however, is that this charming story absolutely made my day.

(image: Lucasfilm)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her current obsession is Glen Powell's dog, Brisket. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.