Growing up, I had three great passions. Each of these passions was born out of a piece of media.
The first of my passions was Paleontology. Born of my love of the Jurassic Park
franchise, I absolutely adored dinosaurs and desired to learn everything about them. I once even challenged a paleontology major college student (my second grade teacher's son) to a dinosaur naming contest and won.
My second passion was Astronomy. I adored stories of space travel and exploration. Star Trek
and Star Wars
captivated my childhood and has continued to form a core to my futurist tendencies.
My third passion was Archaeology. And given the title of this article, you can probably imagine which series influenced this passion. The Indiana Jones
franchise built a love of history and alternate history that has only grown stronger as my knowledge of history grew with my education. Until I was in High School, there was a genuine part of me that wanted to go into archaeology as a profession.
Naturally, my dislike of busywork and the realities of being an archaeology teacher or museum curator (the only profitable jobs that an archaeology major could reasonably acquire) nipped much of that in the bud. But the love and appreciation for this film remained, especially as my passion turned to film-making and I learned the history of some of my favorite childhood films.
Like how Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
was a collaborative passion project between George Lucas, the director and creator of Star Wars
, and Steven Spielberg, the director and force behind...basically the best films of the 1980s and 1990s. Much like Star Wars
was inspired by George Lucas' love of Flash Gordon sci-fi serials, Indiana Jones
was inspired by the treaure hunter and explorers of 1930s and 40s serials, as well as the romance and danger of characters like Alan Quartermain and James Bond.
Lucas wrote the initial draft, then called The Adventures of Indiana Smith
. but shelved the idea for many years, as the means and method to create such a series of films were outside of his capacity. Initially wanting Clint Eastwood for the role of Indiana Jones, prior commitments on Eastwood's part to the film The Outlaw Josey Wales
, and the development of The Empire Strikes Back
being shifted to a different director to Lucas, would see Lucas and Spielberg team up with Harrison Ford to bring a brand new adventure franchise to life.
To phenomenal success. It is no exaggeration to state that the Indiana Jones
franchise fundamentally shifted much of the public perception around adventure blockbusters and even the archaeological profession. Just as Star Trek
and Star Wars
inspired astronomers and Jurassic Park
inspired paleontologists, Indiana Jones
has become the benchmark for future archaeologists.
And for very good reason.