- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom News The Films Research Indyfans


Paul Shipper

Deleted Scenes
The Making of
New Ideas
New Faces
On Location
In Studio
Post Production
The Release
Behind the Scenes
Concept Artwork
Indiana Jones Message Boards
Help Support Films Temple of Doom New Ideas
The Making of

Chapter 1: Adventure's New Name


After the success of Raiders of the Lost Ark George Lucas decided to continue his vision for the recreation of the adventure serials of the past. Following the course of The Empire Strikes Back, the second installment in his Star Wars saga, this would be a journey to the dark side.

click to enlarge
Spielberg and Lucas.

Lucas had presented his idea for the second film to Spielberg and he had expressed interest so as in November 1981 he would say to American Cinematographer: "I loved the experience of filming Raiders. I don't know if it was the good fortune I enjoyed on this particular adventure, but I'm anxious to work again overseas. I'm definitely going to direct the sequel to Raiders. I had such a good time making the first one that I would hate to let the second one slip through my fingers into somebody else's hands. I'll certainly not be involved in the third or fourth one, but I really want to do the follow up, because the new story is even more spectacular than Raiders of the Lost Ark". Still he waited for a script to sign a contract.

With Lawrence Kasdan unavailable, since he had begun a career as director, making his first feature film Body Heat, Lucas approached his American Graffiti co-writers, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck in February 1982. He invited the couple and Spielberg at his ranch for their first meeting that lasted four days. In the first hour Lucas described what he had in mind. The title was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Death and the story would start in Shanghai, a year before Raiders and their lost Ark quest. Indy would get into a situation where his plane crashes. Then he's asked by a village to help them recover a sacred stone. That was the basic outline that Lucas had, and they all started building from there. Lucas also wanted a child in the movie, a virginal young princess but the rest of the company didn't feel comfortable with the idea and came up with a 10-year old Chinese boy. The idea of the little boy lead to another idea about a young Maharajah and that to a story about kidnapped children.

Spielberg thought the title was too gloomy and proposed the word doom instead of death, which Lucas accepted. For this second film they decided to go to the opposite direction Raiders took, so appearances from Sallah and Marcus Brody were dismissed. "The danger in making a sequel", said Spielberg, "is that you can never satisfy everyone. If you give people the same movie with different scenes, they say 'Why weren't you more original?' But if you give them the same character in another fantastic adventure, but with a different tone, you risk disappointing the other half of the audience who just wanted a carbon copy of the first film with a different girl and a different bad guy. So you win and you lose both ways." Indy's new companion was to be a blond bubble head who spends most of her time squealing and complaining. Being the very image of Marion Ravenwood her only resemblance to that character was that she becomes entangled in Indy's exploits by circumstances beyond her control. But throughout the film she is changed and by its end she's really a different person.

Since Indy had got his name after Lucas' dog the writing couple found it funny to name their new characters after theirs. So they named Indy's ten-year-old sidekick Short Round after their fifteen-year-old Sheltie and his new girl after Spielberg's Cocker Spaniel Willie. Continuing playing with their characters' names they named the film's two villains after 17th-century Indian painters.

Ford was eager to step into Indy's shoes again and stated to Starlog magazine: "Of course I'm doing the second Raiders film. With great pleasure. Steven Spielberg is going to direct it. So this is very exciting for me. It was one of the best working relationship experiences of my life working with Steven." As time passed Spielberg was getting involved in other projects and started making statements like: "More than likely, I will not direct but closely supervise it, almost as a co-producer, with George". Knowing that Spielberg would not wait forever Lucas took the two writers aside and warned them: "I'm afraid we might lose him, so you guys better get this done fast".

click to enlarge
Writers Willard Huyck
and Gloria Katz.

The first draft of the script was ready after six weeks and Lucas was enthusiastic from the outcome and so was Spielberg who signed for the film. "I can see it already", he said. As Willard Huyck noted in Charles Champlin's George Lucas: The Creative Impulse "Steven was amazed, he couldn't get out of it because we did it so fast". The script's second draft took another six weeks while the third was ready after a month. "That happened over an eight-month period of time", said Huyck. "We went off to do Best Defense. Steve would call us continually to make changes. There were some budgetary restrictions, and some ideas which came to him as he went to the locations, things he wanted incorporated into the script". After some more revisions the script went to Harrison Ford, who suggested adding more humor and character refinement in certain scenes. What Ford did not like was Lucasfilm's announcement that they were planning a total of five Indy films. "They must be talking to Roger Moore then", was Ford's comment. "I enjoy him very much but it's one at a time for me". Ford was afraid of being typecast as an action hero and not a real actor. Besides, every picture he had starred in had begun to develop follow-ups and the idea of becoming the 'King of sequels' wasn't welcomed either.

Since Lucas wanted this film to be really scary, the villains had to be nothing like the Nazis or the suave Belloq of Raiders, so the writers adopted the villains of George Steven's 1939 version of the Rudyard Kipling poem Gunga Din, the Thugs. They were a sub-group among devotees of Kali, the goddess of Death, and they practiced ritual strangling - Thuggee - as a form of worship. Silent and anonymous traveling the roads of India, murdering travelers and burring them with their ritual pickaxes; the Thugs kept their sect and practices secret for centuries. Renaming them "Thuggees" or, in some versions, "Thuggies", and marring them with other cultural customs like Aztec cardiectomy, Hawaiian volcano sacrifice and European devil worship, Huyck and Katz came up with what they thought would be the ultimate villains.

While the villains of the film got more and more dark Indy's character was coming more and more light. This time around Indy's motivation would not be for the sake of archaeology nor for the artifacts themselves but for the freedom of enslaved children. This time Indy would show that he's not just a fortune hunter going after lost artifacts but a more kind person who cares for others.

Indy II, as it was the film's working title, would contain many violence, human sacrifices, hearts been plucked out, pointing out that Indy had started shifting away from thirties nostalgia towards eighties violence.

click to enlarge
Gong storyboard sketch.

Many of the sequences that were dropped during the making of Raiders proved to be valuable for the development of the new script. Originally Lawrence Kasdan had the headpiece of the staff of Ra broken up in two pieces the one obtained by Marion and the other by General Hok, an evil Chinese warlord settled in Shanghai. Leaving the United States Indy would travel to Shanghai and break into Hok's fortress. There he would face two imposing Samurais. By shooting one of them and strangling the other Indy would manage to remain undetected. With one of the fallen Samurai's sword he would break the glass cabinet containing the artifact and set off an alarm system part of which is a ten-diameter gong. General Hok would enter the place wielding a machine gun and begin firing indiscriminately. Indy would manage to unhook the gong and roll it across the hall using it as a shield. The sheer weight of the gong would crack the marble flooring offering Indy an escape. This scene, showing a more dark character of Indiana Jones, was cut from script due to cost saving. The new film begins with Indiana Jones meeting singer Willie Scott during his negotiations with the Chinese mafia in a pre-war Chinese nightclub called The Dragon. Continuing the in-jokes tradition that Raiders found, the nightclub's name was soon changed into Obi Wan. Alec Guinness' character from Star Wars. This scene was also the fulfillment of George Lucas' past wish to present a tuxedo wearing Indiana Jones.

click to enlarge
Trimotor storyboard.

Another scene that didn't make it from the Raiders script was Indy's flight to Nepal. On leaving Shanghai Indy would take a DC-3 to Nepal to find Marion. On board there would be the usual complement of passengers: a few tourists, a little old lady, and some Asians en route home. But it would be all an elaborate trap and while Indy sleeps everyone onboard would grab every available parachute and jump out of the airplane. Indy would wake and discover the cockpit locked and the plane on a collision course with a mountain. Pulling out a rubber life raft, he would wrap it around his body, leap from the plane, pull the inflate cord in midair and land safely on the snowy Himalayan peaks. Using the raft as a sled Indy would ride down the slopes all the way to Marion's bar. The scene was incorporated in Indy II following Indiana's escape from Shanghai and was modified in mid-production at Spielberg's request, transforming the script's passenger plane into a cargo craft and adding a clutch of chickens to the payload.

click to enlarge
Mine-cart storyboard.

A third scene cut from Raiders was in the film's climax. After Belloq's death Indy and Marion load the Ark on a mine car and try to find a way out, as the whole place is set ablaze. What follows is a wild chase in the dark mine tunnels as they are pursued by a group of Nazis. The race between the cars seems unfair since our heroes' car does not work properly. In the nick of time the car's throttle works and it accelerates its speed rapidly, leaving the Nazis engulfed by flames. Reaching the rail's end the couple finds a small Nazi transport launch carefully disguised as a Greek fishing boat. In the next shot the boat is chugging out to sea as the island rumbles and shakes. For this new film the concept of the mine car was considered first as a small scene only to become one of the film's greatest set pieces.

Next: Scouting for Locations and New Faces >>


Join us
Twitter Facebook The Raven
* - More Product. More Exclusives.