Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) Ending Explained: Has Indy hung up his hat for good?

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny Plot Summary

The movie begins on a train in 1944 where we are re-introduced to a younger Indiana Jones as he once again tries to prevent the Nazis from getting their conniving hands on an ancient artefact.

This time around, the item in question is supposedly the spear that pierced Christ’s side at the crucifixion but it’s not long before Indiana realizes it is a fake. However, this isn’t the only prized possession that is under the ownership of the German army. They also have one-half of Archimedes’s Antikythera mechanism, a legendary contraption that allegedly has the power to detect fissures in time.

Indy manages to steal the device away from the Nazis with the help of his eccentric friend Professor Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) but he is pursued by a German officer by the name of Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) who squares off against Indy and Basil on top of the train. A fight ensues with Indy as the victor but years later, when the movie flashes forward to the 1960s, Indiana comes face to face with Voller again.

The scene is set for a global adventure in which Indy races against time to find the second half of the Antikythera device that Voller wants for his own nefarious purposes.

Does Indiana Jones beat Voller to it? And is this really the aged hero’s final adventure? Or do further adventures beckon? Let’s take a closer look at the movie.

Why does Voller want the device?

Voller needs to find both parts of the Antikythera device as this will give him the ability to travel back in time to reverse the events of World War 2. He doesn’t believe the Allies won the war. Rather, it’s his assertion that Hitler lost it because he made too many mistakes.

So, armed with the knowledge of the errors the Fuehrer made, Voller intends to turn the tides of history by killing Hitler and becoming the leader of the Nazi war party himself.

It falls to Jones, his intrepid goddaughter Helena (the daughter of Professor Basil Shaw), and a scrappy young teen named Teddy (who is a friend of Helena’s), to stop this former Nazi scientist before he returns to 1944.

Where is the device?

The first part of the device, which Indiana and Basil retrieved from the train, is situated within the college archives where Indy works. Helena comes looking for the device and seeks the help of her godfather in finding it.

She isn’t the only one who wants this time travel contraption. Voller and his henchmen are on her trail as they also want to get their mischievous mitts on it. They track Helena to the college but she manages to escape with the first dial-half with the intention of selling it on the Black Market.

Jones manages to get away from Voller and after catching up with Helena in Tangier, he prevents her from selling the device. They then begin the search for the second half of the dial on a quest that takes them to Greece where they team up with Jones’s deep sea diver friend Renaldo, who leads them to an ancient sunken ship.

Indy finds an old tablet hidden within the ship which contains cryptic directions to the device’s other half. Not long after, Voller and his men turn up again and kill Renaldo but our heroes escape to Sicily which is the location of Archimedes’s tomb, where the second piece of the device lies.

Does Voller get hold of the device?

Indy finds the Dial’s other half, as well as Archimedes’ skeleton which, bizarrely, is holding a modern-day wristwatch. The reason for this later becomes clear.

Before Indy can reassemble the two pieces of the device himself, Voller turns up, shoots our hero, and takes it from him. Voller and his men then board a plane and for a reason not really explored, take him with them. Behind them is Helena, who is pursuing the plane on a motorcycle, and Teddy, who is piloting a smaller plane that he has stolen.

Voller puts the two pieces of the device together and creates a fissure in time to enable him to return to Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, he miscalculates the coordinates so rather than ending up in Germany, the plane arrives in 212 BC Syracuse where a great battle is taking place.

The soldiers on the ground think the plane is a dragon and they manage to take it down with their primitive weapons. The plane crashes, killing everybody aboard, including Voller, but don’t worry – Indy doesn’t die. He manages to parachute out of the plane, along with stowaway Helena, before it hits the ground.

Shortly after descending safely, Indy meets his hero.

Who does Indy meet?

Indy meets Archimedes who arrives at the beach to inspect the wreckage. It’s here where the legendary inventor finds Voller’s watch, which is why we saw it earlier in the film attached to his skeletal remains.

His arrival nearly brings Indy to tears as our hero never imagined he would be in a position to meet the man whose technological achievements he admired.

After learning of the reasons why Archimedes created the device – to bring users to 212BC to aid the war – Indy tells Helena he wants to stay in the past. She doesn’t let this happen. Afraid that he might alter the course of history, she knocks him out with a punch and the next time we see Indy, we are back in 1969.

How did Indiana return to the present?

A now-healed Indy wakes up in bed and we are tricked into thinking he might have been dreaming about the movie’s events, but thankfully, that’s not the case at all. He notices a Syrian spear on the bedside next to him, so it’s clear he did journey into the past.

So, how did he return to 1969? Teddy’s plane of course, as he had followed them through the time fissure. They returned in the plane through that crack in time before it collapsed.

After Indy awakens he is reunited with Helena, Teddy, and his old friend Sallah who is now living in New York. Then somebody else walks through his door – Marion, his one-time lover who he separated from after the death of their son (Mutt, who died in the Vietnam War) tore them apart. Helena had contacted her, presumably because she knew he still had feelings for Marion. She leaves the apartment with the others to give Indy and Marion time to reconcile.

Has Indy hung up his hat for good?

During the final few minutes of the film, we see Indy and Marion embrace. Seeing the two of them together is a beautiful moment and a satisfying end for Indiana after losing the opportunity to live in the past.

In fact, living in the past is the theme of the movie. At the start of the story, Indiana was living in the past in a figurative sense and unable to reconcile himself with the fact that his career as an adventurer was probably behind him. Later in the movie, he was given the opportunity to literally live in the past – a dream come true for our intrepid historian – although Helena sabotaged that plan.

At the end of the film, the past walks back into his life in the shape of Marion. It can be assumed that they go on to have to happy future together although this isn’t something we are told.

But what about his life as an adventurer? Is that really over?

Outside of his apartment, his hat is pegged to a washing line. This is a metaphor for his career as it can be assumed he has now hung up his hat (his career) for good. But just before the closing credits start to roll, we see his hand emerge from the window, grabbing the hat and taking it inside.

Does this mean that he still has another adventure left in him? Maybe but perhaps not one on a globe-trotting scale. The probable answer is that he is about to start on an adventure of another kind, one with Marion, who he will now share the rest of his life with. Of course, that doesn’t mean they will stay in New York but given Indy’s age, we don’t think he will involve himself with another quest for ancient treasure.

This is our assessment of the movie’s ending. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.


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