Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ending explained: your biggest questions answered

The ending of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” truly takes a wild turn, as the titular Dial takes the plot in an unexpected direction. Amidst all the action, you may have missed some important details, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Now that the movie is playing in theaters across the US, we’ve carefully analyzed the major twists and turns in the ending of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” We’ll provide a thorough explanation of what happened, addressing your most significant and burning questions along the way.

In “Dial of Destiny,” Harrison Ford reprises his iconic role for one final adventure. Joining the cast are new faces, including Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Indy’s goddaughter Helena Shaw, Mads Mikkelsen as the sinister Dr. Voller, Antonio Banderas as Indy’s friend Renaldo, and Toby Jones as Helena’s father, Basil Shaw.

It’s important to note that the following discussion contains significant spoilers for Indiana Jones 5. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, it’s best to turn back now! However, for those who have already seen it, get ready to uncover the secrets of destiny…

The conclusion of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” becomes quite intricate once time travel becomes a factor. After embarking on a global quest to find both halves of the Antikythera, Indy (Harrison Ford), Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge), and Teddy (Ethann Bergua-Isidore) are discovered by Dr. Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) and his henchmen.

Indy sustains a non-fatal gunshot wound and is captured by Voller and his allies, ultimately ending up at an airbase. Voller then reveals his nefarious plan: he intends to use the Dial to travel back in time to August 20, 1939, in Munich, Germany. There, he aims to assassinate Adolf Hitler and take his place, believing he can lead the Second World War to victory.

Meanwhile, Helena sneaks onto the plane carrying Indy, while Teddy steals a plane of his own.

As the Nazis set the Dial to initiate time travel, Indy observes objects in the plane shifting across the ground and comes to a realization. Voller has overlooked continental drift, the gradual movement of continents due to shifting tectonic plates. Since Archimedes had no knowledge of continental drift during his time (as it was only observed in the 20th century), he couldn’t have accounted for it in the Dial’s calculations. Consequently, Voller’s coordinates are inaccurate. In a desperate attempt, Voller tries to halt the plane at the last moment, but it’s too late.

The plane emerges through the portal into ancient Sicily, specifically during the siege of Syracuse in 212 BC. In a twist, it is revealed that Archimedes designed the Dial specifically to call for help from the future and prevent the siege.

Indy and Helena manage to escape from Voller’s plane using a parachute, while the Roman fleet shoots it down with enormous bolts. The crash results in the deaths of everyone on board, and Archimedes encounters Voller’s severely burned body, retrieving his watch (which could be the same watch Indy and Helena found in his tomb). Archimedes also discovers the completed Antikythera device.

Indy and Helena escape the chaos, but Indy discloses his plan to remain in the past. After studying history his entire life, he now has the opportunity to experience it firsthand. However, Helena strongly disagrees. At that moment, Archimedes intervenes, along with his companion, saving Indy and Helena from a Roman soldier. Archimedes returns the Dial to Indy. Although Indy expresses his intention to stay, Helena vehemently objects, leading to her punching her godfather, rendering him unconscious.

Later, Indy regains consciousness in the correct time period. Helena assures him that he is meant to be there, to which he questions, “For whom?” However, Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) enters the apartment. She and Indy were going through a divorce after the death of their son in the Vietnam War.

“Someone told me you were back,” Marion says. “Are you back, Indy?” The two recreate the iconic “Where doesn’t it hurt?” moment from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” as they reconcile romantically.

The film concludes with Indy’s famous hat hanging outside the apartment. Just as the screen fades to black, Indy’s hand swiftly reaches out to grab the hat once more.

What is the Dial of Destiny?

The Dial of Destiny, also known as the Antikythera, serves as a time-travel device crafted by the ancient mathematician Archimedes. However, Archimedes divided it into two parts and left a clue indicating the whereabouts of the hidden second half. When the two parts are reunited, the Dial becomes capable of locating temporal rifts, allowing journeys into the past.

But there’s a twist. It turns out that Archimedes constructed the Dial solely to summon assistance from the future during the siege of Syracuse, Sicily, when his homeland faced an invasion by Roman forces. This revelation throws a significant wrench into Voller’s malicious intentions, to say the least.

Interestingly, the Antikythera is indeed a genuine historical artifact, although it probably wasn’t employed for time travel. Discovered in 1901 on a Roman shipwreck near the Greek island of Antikythera, much like depicted in the movie, the Antikythera mechanism is widely regarded as the earliest analog computer. It functioned as a clockwork representation of the solar system, allowing for the tracking and prediction of astronomical positions and events. The exact inventor of the device remains uncertain, though Archimedes is among the potential candidates.

Archimedes plays a prominent role in “Dial of Destiny,” but it’s important to note that he was indeed a real historical figure. In the film, Archimedes is portrayed as an ingenious inventor and mathematician hailing from Syracuse, with a lifespan spanning from 287 BC to 212 BC. He showcased remarkable advancements far ahead of his time and his inventions contributed significantly to the defense of Syracuse during the siege.

However, unlike his fictional counterpart, Archimedes met his demise at the hands of a Roman soldier during the actual siege of Syracuse. It can be assumed that this unfortunate event occurred because, in reality, he did not invent time travel and therefore could not summon Indiana Jones for assistance.

Why does Voller want the Dial?

Dr. Voller goes to extreme lengths to acquire the Antikythera, as depicted in the film’s opening flashback. His goal is to utilize it for time travel, specifically to Munich, Germany, on August 20, 1939. There, he intends to assassinate Adolf Hitler. However, Voller’s motivations are far from noble. Instead, he aims to seize power by replacing Hitler, believing he possesses the knowledge of why the malevolent dictator ultimately lost the Second World War. Voller aspires to lead the Nazis himself and secure victory. Fortunately, his scheme ultimately fails, and he meets his demise when his plane is shot down during the siege of Syracuse.

What is continental drift?

To put it simply, continental drift refers to the gradual movement of continents across the Earth’s surface, resulting from the shifting of tectonic plates. As Indy astutely notes, this phenomenon was not observed until long after Archimedes’s era. Therefore, there is no way Archimedes could have taken continental drift into account when constructing the Antikythera device. The significant shifts of the continents over thousands of years render Voller’s calculations entirely incorrect. However, it becomes irrelevant because Indy and Helena make a crucial discovery – Archimedes designed the Antikythera solely with the intention of seeking assistance during the siege of Syracuse. This revelation implies that even if Voller’s calculations were flawless, he wouldn’t be able to travel back to Nazi Germany.

Does Indiana Jones die?

Voller’s gunshot leaves Indy injured for a significant portion of the film’s third act. As the events in Syracuse conclude, Indy confides in Helena, expressing his desire to remain in the past. Being an archaeologist, he has dedicated his life to studying ancient history, and now he has an opportunity to personally experience it. However, Helena strongly opposes this plan and insists that Indy should return home. Despite her objections, Indy remains obstinate. At one point, it appears that Indy might indeed choose to stay, leading to an unconventional and potentially fatal happy ending for him, as his existence in the present would cease to be.

However, in an unexpected turn of events, Helena takes matters into her own hands and delivers a punch to her godfather’s face, rendering him unconscious. She then manages to bring him back home offscreen. It’s remarkable how satisfying it can be to witness Indiana Jones being punched, something we never anticipated.

Who is Helena Shaw?

Helena, surprisingly, is Indy’s goddaughter. However, due to a considerable period of time having passed since their last meeting, Indy fails to recognize her when she appears. Helena happens to be the daughter of Basil Shaw, who was driven to madness by his relentless pursuit of the Dial. When Helena reunites with Indy, she has ulterior motives. In fact, she seeks the Antikythera with the intention of selling it at an illicit auction.

What happened to Basil Shaw?

What happened to Basil Shaw?
Basil was a close friend of Indy’s, as depicted in the initial flashback and another later in the film. Upon discovering one part of the Antikythera on a Nazi train, Basil became consumed by obsession, convinced of its potential for time travel. His unwavering fixation on the Dial ultimately led Indy to separate him from it, taking possession of one half. This incident also marked the last encounter between Indy and Helena, until she resurfaced much later in the story.

Who was that at the end?

In a poignant moment at the movie’s conclusion, Helena assures Indy that he is where he’s meant to be, to which he heartbreakingly questions, “For who?” Suddenly, a very special individual makes a grand entrance – none other than Karen Allen’s Marion Ravenwood! Marion was initially introduced in “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” where it was revealed that she and Indiana Jones had a past romantic relationship, though he left her shattered. They rekindled their connection throughout the course of the film. However, Marion remained absent until “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” where it was unveiled that she and Indy had a son together named Mutt (real name Henry), portrayed by Shia LaBeouf.

Although Indy and Marion tied the knot in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” “Dial of Destiny” reveals that they are currently undergoing a divorce, triggered by the tragic loss of their son. Marion’s return, nevertheless, appears to bring emotional closure and a semblance of happiness to the adventurous archaeologist.

What happened to Indiana Jones’s son Mutt?

In “Dial of Destiny,” Mutt does not make an appearance, but his presence is represented through photographs. Indy discloses to Helena the heartbreaking news that his son enlisted in the army and tragically lost his life. It is implied that Mutt was killed in action during the Vietnam War. The sorrowful revelation unfolds as Indy reveals that Mutt’s decision to enlist was driven by a desire to purposely irritate him, adding another layer of sadness to the circumstances surrounding their relationship.

Does Short Round appear? 

Contrary to recent attention received by Ke Huy Quan and the heartwarming moments shared with Harrison Ford, it is important to note that Short Round does not have a role in “Dial of Destiny.” However, we still hold onto hope that we may see him once more in the future.

Will there be an Indiana Jones 6?

The conclusion of “The Dial of Destiny” leaves us with a sense of finality, even though Indy’s act of grabbing his hat might hint at the possibility of occasional future adventures. However, it is safe to assume that we won’t witness those escapades, as there are no sequel setups, post-credits scenes, and Harrison Ford himself has made it abundantly clear that this marks his last portrayal of Indiana Jones. Instead, we can satisfy our imaginations by envisioning Indy venturing out on numerous exciting journeys.

And that wraps up our explanation of the ending of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” If you’re craving more insights into the movie, feel free to explore our other articles using the provided links:

  • Our exclusive interview with the cast and director of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.”
  • Harrison Ford and James Mangold’s cherished memory from the making of the film.
  • Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall’s retrospective on over four decades of Indiana Jones.
  • Our captivating Cannes interview about “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.”
  • Harrison Ford’s thoughts on not reflecting on his past movies.
  • Mads Mikkelsen’s enthusiasm to play a zombie.
  • Mads Mikkelsen reminiscing about his encounter with Harrison Ford.
  • Discover if “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” features a post-credits scene.
  • Kathleen Kennedy’s revelation about the connection between Rey and James Mangold’s Star Wars movies.
Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site’s Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.

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