A complex timeline has emerged over the course of the Indiana Jones movie franchise, which first began in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark. Helmed by director Steven Spielberg and starring Harrison Ford in another career-making role (in addition to playing Han Solo), the Indiana Jones movies span more than 30 years in real time, and a little more than 20 years in-universe – that is, if you don’t count all the historical events which lie at the heart of each Indiana Jones installment. With most of the franchise set during the 1930s and later picking up in the 1950s, audiences follow Indy as he travels across the world in order to find and preserve the world’s greatest treasures, including the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail. Despite the Indiana Jones sequels never really measuring up to the original film, the Indiana Jones movie timeline has grown to become highly complex – but the Indian Jones movie release order is easy to pin down:
Indian Jones’ history stretches further and deeper than the movies, however. The cinematic Indiana Jones timeline doesn’t account for the numerous novels and comics, as well as a ’90s television show based on the Indiana Jones character. This makes things even more complex, but what’s important is that all of these additional materials from the Indiana Jones world cover Indy’s childhood, teenage, and young adult years. At the start of the first film in the franchise, which, chronologically speaking, is George Lucas’ Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – Indy is 36 years old. Here’s how the rest of the timeline for Indy’s adult years play out, as well as what happened before Indiana Jones was born.
Each Indiana Jones adventure is based on a historical event or, in the case Crystal Skull, a very fictional event involving aliens. This means key parts of every story happened centuries before Indy’s birth. Here are some key prehistoric dates in the Indiana Jones timeline as well as the character’s backstory.
The Year: 1935
The Year: 1936
The Year: 1938
The Year: 1957
The Year: 1969