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Indiana Jones 5 Trailer Mystery: WTF Is The Dial of Destiny?'

Is Indy going after an ancient time machine?

Originally Published: 
Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

By the time Indiana Jones 5 hits theaters on June 30, 2023, it will have been 15 years since the previous Indy flick — Kingdom of the Cyrstal Skull — followed the adventures of old man Dr. Jones (Harrison Ford) into the 1950s. Now, with the release of the first real trailer for Indy 5, we know what the movie is called, which could give us a hint as to what the movie is actually about. Does The Dial of Destiny refer to an ancient time machine? Is 1969 Indiana Jones about to head back and visit himself in the 1940s?

Here’s why the new trailer could have sneakily revealed that the flashbacks in Indy 5 are maybe not flashbacks at all.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Trailer

The trailer for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny tells us, briefly that in 1969, Indy has been reunited with Sallah (Jonathan Rhys-Davies), and his goddaughter Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge).

Elsewhere in the trailer, we see a former Nazi, now working for NASA, named Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) a mustached gun-wielding maniac named Klaber (Boyd Holbrook), and a US agent named Mason (Shaunette Renée Wilson), who is presumably on Indy’s side. Veteran actor Toby Jones is here, too, though he’s not playing a Nazi (like he did in Captain America) and oddly, hasn’t been in an Indiana Jones movie before, even though it very much seems like he has been.

Anyway, Indy is ruminating about whether or not he believes in magic, and it seems like he’s back on the case. But what case is he on exactly? What is the “Dial of Destiny?”

A de-aged Harrison Ford in a flashback scene in The Dial of Destiny. (Or IS it a flashback?)


What is the “Dial of Destiny,” the Indy 5 MacGuffin?

Indy movies always center on some kind of MacGuffin or object that Indy either has to track down or protect from falling into the wrong hands. But, with the Dial of Destiny, it’s actually not entirely clear what artifact is central to the plot of the movie. Over on Vanity Fair, Anthony Breznican speculates the “Dial of Destiny” that we see in the trailer is an analog for the historical, “Antikythera mechanism,” which would date back to the Hellenistic period, in Greece sometime between 300 BC and 30 BC.

In real life, the Antikythera mechanism has been referred to as an ancient computer. But what if, in Indy 5, this object is an ancient time machine? The trailer gives us some flashbacks to a younger Indiana Jones, complete with a de-aged Harrison Ford. But what if this isn’t a flashback at all? What if this is straight-up time travel? Will Indy have to go back in time and help himself with an old case? And if that’s true, does Old Indy already remember this happening? If time travel becomes part of Indy’s backstory, it could help to explain some of his cynicism, but also his fearlessness. Perhaps, since the 1940s, Indy has always known a future version of his exists out there.

Previous Indy movies have introduced the concept of vengeful gods, magic stones, a cup that gives you immortality, and alien skulls. In contrast to all of that, time travel seems almost old-fashioned, right? If the “Dial of Destiny,” is a time machine, then a kind of dopey title suddenly sounds awesome.

Of course, this time travel thing is pure speculation right now. Nothing has been confirmed about the “Dial of Destiny.” This is just a kooky fan theory that happens to fit the facts.

Harrison Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Indy’s Goddaughter — Who Is Helena Related To?

Tellingly, at the end of the trailer, we learn that Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Helena is Indy’s “goddaughter,” a fact that she seems to dismiss. But, if she’s Indy’s goddaughter that seems to mean Indy knew Helena’s parents. Could her father have been Marcus Brody (Denholm Elliott)? In both Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and The Last Crusade (1989), Marcus was Indy’s good friend and advisor in the world of archeology. It would make perfect sense that Helena was Marcus Brody’s daughter, and the fact that her last name hasn’t been revealed seems to point to some kind of big reveal. Either way, Phoebe Waller-Bridge in an Indy movie is clearly going to rock.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Release Date

Indiana Jones 5 hits theaters next summer on June 30, 2023.

Where Are All The Indiana Jones movies streaming?

As of this writing, Indy movies are not on Disney+, but rather on Paramount+. Here’s our complete guide.

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