Indiana Jones’s on-screen career began with Steven Spielberg’s beloved Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. In the film, archeologist Indiana Jones is recruited by the U.S. Army to find the biblical Ark of the Covenant, which has been mentioned in intercepted Nazi communications. The Germans believe that recovering the artifact will make their armies invincible, and allow them to win the war. After a globe-trotting adventure going from Nepal to Cairo, Indiana Jones is able to recover the ark, and stop the Nazis from using its awesome power.
Since then, the gun-slinging, globe-trotting archeologist has spawned a massive franchise of books, comics, videogames, and sequels. While a good portion of this media is set after Indiana’s film-debut, the fact of the matter is that in a way, Indiana Jones’ life has always been tied to archeology, and ensuring powerful relics stay out of the hands of those who would use them for nefarious purposes. Indiana Jones’ story truly begins in the The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, where fans can follow along as the titular character grows from a curious young boy into the iconic action hero viewers see in the films.
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is a limited series which follows Indiana Jones’ life at several key points before his film appearances. In the TV show, Indiana Jones is remembering these various episodes as on older man living in New York City in 1993, where various conversations in his day-to-day life remind him of his younger years and spur him on to tell his stories. Indiana’s stories begin from when he was a young boy, accompanying his father’s archeological expeditions, and culminate with Henry Jones’ Jr. off to enroll in university with the hopes of making his archeological fascination into the prolific career fans grew to love through the films.
Henry Jones Jr. as a Child
In the late 1800s, Indiana Jones was born to his father, Henry Jones Sr. and his wife, Anna. Henry Jones Sr. was an archeology professor at Princeton University, and his work often required that he travel to various dig sites. During this time, he would take Indy and Anna with him, exposing the young boy to several prolific scholars and important figures in history, such as Lawrence of Arabia. Young Indiana tagged along, learned about the ancient world in a hands-on fashion, and even got into a few adventures before reaching puberty. Perhaps the most notable of which being the first; set in an archeological dig in Egypt, the young boy, with the help of a few grown-ups, puts a stop to a series of murders at the dig site intended to scare off the archeologists and leave the site ripe for tomb-robbing. With his inquisitive mind and thirst for adventure, a young Indiana Jones began his journey across the globe.
Indiana Jones The Soldier
Following the death of his mother, a teenage Indiana and his father moved around a lot, and their relationship became increasingly strained. During what was likely a stage of teenage rebellion, Indiana Jones quits high school and finds himself travelling to Mexico to briefly join the Mexican Revolution. During this time he meets Remy Baudouin, and the pair become staunch friends. After the revolution, the pair travel to Europe and enlist in the Belgian Army during the Great War. During his time in the Great War, Indiana Jones fought in the front lines, served as a courier, and met figures of great repute, such as Charles De Gaulle, Ernest Hemingway, and Baron Manfred von Richthofen, The Red Baron.
Indiana Jones The Spy
Eventually, Indy and Remy grew tired of the danger they faced in the front-lines. As the pair felt that they constantly risked their lives for little impact on the war itself, they opted to enlist in the French intelligence service, and became spies. Indy now found himself deep behind enemy lines, doing his best to gather intelligence and get it back to the allies with the hopes of changing the war. During this time he had many close calls with the German secret police, who were always hot on his heels. As the war wound down, Indy attempted to track down a missing artifact that had belonged to Alexander The Great, had a traumatizing encounter with the supernatural in Transylvania, and was even able to watch the Paris Peace conference play out.
Indiana Jones The College Bound Student
Indiana then returned home, and pursued his college studies in archeology at the University of Chicago. During this time, he worked as a waiter in a restaurant, and his college roommate was none other than Eliot Ness. When one of the owners of Indiana’s workplace is violently murdered, Indiana and Eliot Ness solve the mystery, and along the way make an enemy out of Al Capone, who was a small-time gangster at the time. Indy manages to keep his head down, and finish his studies, occasionally taking summer jobs which exposed him to a nascent Hollywood and other parts of the 1920s. Once he had his degree, Indiana Jones took to being an archeologist properly.
Indiana Jones The Professor
From here, Indiana Jones begins teaching and going on archeological digs, and swashbuckling adventures after being employed by the fictional Marshall University. Notably during this time, Indy manages to return to the site of his first adventure, Egypt, and attempts to follow the trail of the Eye of the Peacock, Alexander The Great’s prized treasure. During this time, Indy also had several run ins with the mysterious U.S. Government “Suits”, a special interest group which collected and safely hid powerful, and dangerous relics away in Hangar 51 (though Indy would never see the place until it’s on-screen debut in The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull).
Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom
In 1935, one year before the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indy finally gets a worthwhile lead on the Eye of the Peacock. As we seen in the feature-length movie Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom, which marks Indiana Jones’ first true big screen adventure, apparently, the jewel is in the possession of a Shanghai crimelord, and he’s willing to trade the gem for a different artifact Indy must procure. After the deal sours, Indy, his sidekick Short Round, and club singer Willie end up in India, where they find a village oppressed by a cult of Thuggees misusing the power of a series of sacred stones. After defeating the cult and parting ways with his friends, Indy returns home, where he eventually begins following up on various leads pointing to the existence of a perfectly intact, Chachapoyan golden idol hidden deep within Peru’s jungle…