It was over 40 years ago. Wednesday, during the September school holidays. Probably the Croydon twin cinema. I remember it was raining. After Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back (sure… they call it a New Hope these days, but that’s another franchise), I couldn’t wait to see the next film made by George Lucas, along with one of his mates who made that shark film. (I was 12… give me a break)
From the opening scene, as the Paramount logo cut to an actual mountain – sure, it feels like a cliche now, but this was early in my cinema appreciation career- through to the final scene, I was taken on a roller coaster ride through Peru, Nepal, Egypt and even the middle of the Mediterranean. Once I got my head around the fact that the Lost Ark featured in the title didn’t belong to Noah, I was fine.
The fact that I shared a surname with the Hero shore helped. “Did I ever tell you that Indiana was short for Richard?” Possibly a line originally used by my younger brother, with a monosyllabic surname making it all the more amusing.
I may or may not have once programmed Dr Jones’ Triumphant March into my mobile phone to use as a ring-tone in the mid 90s. The music may or may not have played as the now Knoller-in-Chief and I walked into our wedding reception, embarking on our greatest and most enduring adventure. If you were there at the time, you know the answer.
And while Indiana Jones sets were in the stores in 2008-2009, I may or may not have been confident enough to admit that it was OK to buy these sets for myself, with the dawn beginning to break at the tail end of my Dark Ages. The paucity of these sets in our possession today perhaps tells you which might be the truth. Admittedly, at the time, the Crystal Skull may well have been leaving a somewhat ashen taste in my mouth, dulling my enthusiasm.
And so, as we prepare for the 5th Indiana Jones film, the Dial of Destiny, to be unleashed on screens worldwide on June 1st, we are seeing a return to Indiana Jones as a LEGO Licenced franchise with 3 new sets being released on the 1st of April 2023.
It does appear that we have a revitalised Indiana Jones figure, featuring a new hat/hair pirece – with a combination of nougat redora, with a reddish brown hat band and hair added underneath. We have 2 new torso prints, along with at least 3 different smiles. I am not sure how I feel about this: one of the intrinsic features of LEGO play is the absence of realism, and learning to compromise with design choices: I feel this new hat is a step too far, but it certainly distinguishes the new Indy from the old, where we were limited to one minifigure facial expression on any figure. Indeed, we can actually distinguish between the many phases of Indy in the new sets.
The LEGO Group Reveals Three New Sets Inspired by Indiana Jones™
Pay homage to Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade through brick building fun with three new sets launching April 1st
Indiana Jones™ returns to the LEGO portfolio with three new sets encompassing memorable moments from the franchise. Children and adults will have a chance to jump into the world of thrill and excitement by recreating the most iconic scenes from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
77012 LEGO® Indiana Jones™ Fighter Plane Chase
o Age: 8+
o Price $34.99/ €34.99/ 49.99AUD/ 349 CNY/ 29.99 GBP/ 44.99 CAD
o Piece Count: 387
77012 LEGO® Indiana Jones™ Fighter Plane Chase building set encourages children to recreate an exciting scene from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie. Grab Indiana Jones™ and his father, Professor Henry Jones Sr.™ and hop into the vintage convertible car to outrun the fighter plane and escape the chase. This set comes with 3 minifigures: Indiana Jones, his father Professor Henry Jones Sr.™ and a fighter pilot for adventures that await in this 387-piece playset.
The previous version of this set may have had Indy and his dad riding in a biplane, but putting them into the classic car brings some great opportunities for play: Running through a field of goats, chased into a tunnel, or ultimately, stranded without a car on the beach, with a flock of seagulls to harass with an umbrella. The options could be endless. Another wasted opportunity to bring back a LEGO Goat.
77013 LEGO® Indiana Jones™ Escape from the Lost Tomb
o Age: 8+
o Price $39.99/ €39.99/ 59.99 AUD/ 399 CNY/ 34.99 GBP/ 49.99 CAD
o Piece Count: 600
– 77013 LEGO® Indiana Jones™ Escape from the Lost Tomb building set provides hours of thrilling adventure with this detailed playset inspired by the Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie. Help Indy search for the Ark of the Covenant in the snake infested Well of Souls and escape by climbing the massive Anubis statue and finding the hidden passage. With 600 LEGO pieces, this interactive playset will provide endless hours of fun for children and parents together.
With Indy, Marian Ravenwood, Sallah and a mummy, this set presents us with the second reimagining of a John-Rhys Davies Character in as many months (In March, we saw the arrival of a new Gimli figure in 10316 Rivendell). With at least 7 snakes included, Indy has something to be scared of. Once again, we see the on-screen cameo of R2D2 and C-3PO on the temple’s wall and the appearance of a Toa mask. Does this mean that Bionicle is now Canon in the Indiana Jones universe?
77015 LEGO® Indiana Jones™ Temple of the Golden Idol
o Age: 18+
o Price $149.99/ €149.99/ 239.99 AUD/ 1499 CNY/ 129.99 GBP/ 199.99 CAD
o Piece Count: 1545
– 77015 LEGO® Indiana Jones™ Temple of the Golden Idol building set celebrates the legacy of Indiana Jones™ with this rewarding build where adults can recreate the iconic opening scene from the Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie. This impressive 1545-piece set pays homage to iconic characters and scenes that will look great displayed on a shelf once complete.
In the best traditions of last year’s dioramas, along with a tendency for kooky geometry, this set revisits what is, for most of us, the first memory we have of Indiana Jones – raiding the Golden Idol, being betrayed by Satipo, being pursued by a rotating boulder on a stick, ultimately to lose the treasure to that scoundrel Belloq! With a part count and level of detail designed for the discerning adult builder, I have a feeling this is going straight to my ‘Must build’ list, later in the year.
I’m not going to lie: I am looking forward to these!
There have been rumours of a fourth set due to be released at this time, with leaked box images implying it to be based on the Temple of Doom. This set is not part of the April Announcement. We received the following somewhat cryptic message from the LEGO Community Engagement Team on the subject:
“Throughout 2022, the LEGO Group worked closely with Lucasfilm to optimize our planned product line up for the upcoming LEGO Indiana Jones product launches in April 2023.
As an outcome of this, we consolidated the launch to focus on three products (77012, 77013, 77015) that feature some of the most iconic scenes from the Indiana Jones franchise.
We hope our fans love the new range and can’t wait to get their hands on them.“
So… Is the rumored 77014 The Temple of Doom gone for good? Or has it simply been delayed?
The Temple of Doom does a lot of things poorly: the presentation of Indian culture in the 1930s and other racial stereotypes for one. Failing to bring the same sense of fun as Raiders and Last Crusade is another. Perhaps the set has been cancelled on one or more grounds here, which would be a shame. Perhaps it was felt that this set was not appropriate for the first wave, which has been aimed primarily at kids as well as adults who might have had a few years away from LEGO building (whose last LEGO Indy adventures might have been 15 years ago). As such, it might have merely been delayed. We might reasonably expect that there will be at least one more wave of sets, if only to ensure that there will be something to coincide with the new movie, but nothing is confirmed at this point. There might also be more sets based on the older films. We can only hope.
I find myself reflecting on how Hollywood portrays foreign cultures – and certainly the portrayal of the ‘Mystical East’ has changed dramatically since the early 1980s and today, but even more so since the Matinee series of the 30s and 40s which provided inspiration for the Indiana Jones franchise in the first place. Time will tell.
Are you looking forward to the new Indiana Jones sets? What other parts of the stories do you hope we see? Why not leave your comments below, and until next time…
One thought on “Indiana Jones and the Resurrected Franchise [3 New LEGO® Indiana Jones Sets: Official Reveal and Ponderings]”
I was 9 when Raiders of the Lost Ark came out and I saw the name “Raiders” and thought it was associated with the Oakland Raiders football team that I hated, so I didn’t want to see it. I had no idea who George Lucas and Steven Spielberg were, so that didn’t change my mind. I don’t think I was convinced that I might like the movie until my uncle told me that the hero’s name was Indiana Joe. My uncle got the name wrong, but my name is Joe and I live in Indiana, so maybe this won’t be so bad. That was an understatement. The combination of my low expectations and a great movie left me as happy as I’ve ever been watching a movie. “Roller coaster ride” is a great description, and it remains my favorite movie to this day. I’ve been hoping for LEGO Indiana Jones sets for a long time (I was deep in a dark age when the last sets came out) and I’m glad to see these. I wouldn’t mind seeing a LEGO set with a truck from the first movie, and a train from the opening scene of Last Crusade could be incredible.
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