What The Hell? Did Indiana Jones 5 Make Me Cry Over Mutt Williams?

Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny somehow manages to use Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams as a strong emotional core for the archaeologist’s final adventure. When introduced in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, LaBeouf’s character was certainly controversial. Be it because of the overall lackluster response to the fourth film by fans and the needlessness of Indiana Jones having a child to the over-the-top writing for the character, Mutt Williams was certainly one of the more divisive aspects of the already divisive Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

As such, many were curious if and how Mutt was going to be utilized in the Indiana Jones 5 movie. This was also raised into question given the controversial elements of Shia LaBeouf’s personal life, with James Mangold confirming to Variety at the film’s premiere that Mutt Williams would not be part of the film. That being said, the script for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny manages to find a way to make Mutt Williams’ character have an impact on the film’s emotional core, despite LaBeouf not appearing in any capacity.

Related: Indiana Jones Story Recap: 13 Characters & Events To Know Before Dial of Destiny

Mutt Williams Died In Vietnam After Enlisting

Why Shia Labeouf Mutt Williams Isnt In Indiana Jones 5

Early in the film, Indy can be seen viewing a news report, in which the story offers a shocking detail about Mutt Williams. It is revealed that Mutt has been killed, with the film not divulging how Indy lost his child until midway through the film. After teaming up with Antonio Banderas’ Renaldo, Indy and his goddaughter Helena have a brief moment of vulnerability together. Helena asks Indy what he would do if he could use the titular Dial to travel back in time. Indy replies that he would tell his son not to enlist in the U.S. Army, revealing that Mutt was killed in the Vietnam War.

The scene is one of the film’s most emotional, and Harrison Ford expertly portrays a grieving man who is still struggling to come to terms with the death of his son. While having LaBeouf involved in the film may have boosted Indiana Jones 5‘s box-office performance, the way Mangold and his team utilized the character undoubtedly works. Not only does it provide a retroactive seriousness to a character many thought was written as too over-the-top in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, but it also allows Harrison Ford to flex his acting muscles as an emotionally shut-off Indiana Jones in one of the film’s best scenes.

Marion & Indiana Jones Divorced After Mutt’s Death

Blended image of Marion from Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull and Indy in a train in Dial of Destiny

Stemming from this, Mutt’s death was also used to further Indy’s character in regard to Marion. Midway through Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, it was revealed to Indy that Marion was the mother of Mutt and that Indy was his father. The fourth film ends with the three settling back down in America, with Indy and Marion getting married. However, it is revealed in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny that the death of Mutt caused Indy to shut down, which led to him and Marion getting divorced.

While Mutt’s death alone was enough to give Indy a compelling character arc in Dial of Destiny, his divorce stemming from this adds plenty of depth. Not only is it a realistic portrayal of grief, but it allows the ending of the film to also hit more emotionally when Marion and Indy reconcile. As such, LaBeouf not playing an active role in Dial of Destiny may have been the right choice for the film, as Mutt’s death was the catalyst for the film’s most emotionally-affecting scenes.

The Dial of Destiny Turns Crystal Skull Into A Key Piece Of The Mythology

Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf look down at something in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

One of the most interesting things about this subplot involving Mutt Williams is that it makes Kingdom of the Crystal Skull into a key piece of Indiana Jones mythology. In the era of modern remakes, reboots, sequels, and “re-quels”, many franchises have often chosen to forgo prior installments that were not well received. From the recent Halloween legacy sequels that disregarded all films in the franchise save for the original 1978 film to Terminator: Dark Fate which served as a sequel to T2: Judgment Day and ignored the events of Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genisys, many modern reboots of franchises have picked and chosen which films to canonize.

As a result, many would have likely forgiven Indiana Jones 5 for doing the same with the often-maligned Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which is widely regarded as the weakest Indiana Jones film. Although, Mangold and his team proved that this was not the case, wisely choosing to fold Kingdom of the Crystal Skull into Dial of Destiny‘s story. This makes the franchise feel much more coherent and proves that even previously-panned entries into iconic franchises have storytelling worth to them. This was evident by the usage of Mutt in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, whose character bafflingly was the cause of the film’s most emotionally resonant scenes.

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