Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones is a screen icon and star of some of the most beloved action/adventures ever committed to celluloid. Right now production on Indiana Jones 5 is underway in England, with the nearly 80-year-old Ford donning the fedora one last time (and looking good doing it). But there’s been a controversy bubbling under the surface for fans for a while: is Dr. Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones Jr a pedophile?
The question isn’t as ridiculous as it might seem. In Raiders of the Lost Ark we see his tumultuous reunion with former flame Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen), while recalling their relationship Marion angrily says “I was a child!” and Indy replies “You knew what you were doing.”
The waters are further muddied by documented conversations between Steven Spielberg and George Lucas when writing the movie. Lucas suggested that Indy “could have known this little girl when she was just a kid. Had an affair with her when she was eleven” or that “[Indy’s] thirty-five, and he knew her ten years ago when he was twenty-five and she was only twelve. It would be amusing to make her slightly young at the time.”
Thankfully that stuff didn’t make it into the movie, though the implication remained. Now Allen has given her take on their history, saying she imagined Indy being 26 and Marion being 16:
“So we don’t even know what it is. I mean, they could have kissed a few times, and she was just completely bowled over, and he could have just not wanted to get involved with someone so young. And maybe my father would have been furious at him. I mean, what’s great about it is we don’t know what the circumstances are. So sfhe obviously cared deeply for him. He may have cared for her, too. But, in the end, decided it was a dangerous situation and he didn’t want to be involved. I mean, I guess, when something is as vague as that, you can color it any way you want to color it. I’ve tended to color it, sort of, that it was quite innocent. When she says, “It was wrong and you knew it.” I mean, I think maybe he led her on in some way. But when she says she was a child, I think she meant she was 16. Something like that.”
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I’m not sure a 26-year-old kissing a 16-year-old is that great either, but whatever the case I think everyone has just decided it’s best to ignore all this backstory and simply enjoy the movies. I have absolutely no idea why George Lucas was so intent on having his swashbuckling action hero be romantically entangled with an 11 or 12-year-old, but then it was the 1970s and some seriously skeevy stuff was going on back then.
Then again, depending on how the plot of Indiana Jones 6 goes, there’s a very real chance his romantic interest in that may have a much much larger age gap than this. But at least this time both will be consenting adults.