Indiana Jones 5 Ending Explained: Can Indy Return in 1969?

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a tale that starts in Indy’s early days during World War II. That’s when he first crosses paths with Archimedes’s Dial and Jürgen Voller, a Nazi who also wants to get his hands on that Dial.

Indy and his colleague Basil Shaw are able to acquire half of the Dial and escape the Nazis, but the story isn’t over. Flash forward 25 years later, and the hunt for the Dial is just beginning.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny’s ending wraps up the titular character’s story, with goddaughter Helena Shaw (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) bringing him back to 1969 from 212 BC. The fifth Indiana Jones film, directed by James Mangold, follows Harrison Ford’s beloved archaeologist as he hunts down the Dial of Destiny alongside Helena before it falls into Nazi hands.

The search for the second half of Archimedes’ Dial takes them from New York to Morocco, Greece, and Italy.

After their search leads them to Syracuse, Indy, Helena, and Teddy, followed closely by Voller’s Nazi crew, make their way to Archimedes’ tomb. They discover that the mathematician was buried wearing a modern-day watch.

Having kidnapped Teddy, Voller uses Archimedes’ clock necklace to unlock the two pieces of the Dial. With the coordinates set, Voller plans to fly through a fissure in time to August 20, 1939, kill Hitler, and correct every blunder made.

At the end of Indiana Jones 5, the big news is that the titular Dial of Destiny works. Though due to some ancient miscalculations – thanks to Continental Drift – Indy, Helena, and Teddy are sent back to the time of Aristotle rather than 1939.

Nazi villains Voller and Klaber make the same journey but quickly burn up when their plane goes down. Meaning that’s the end of their journey through time.

Indy then meets Archimedes, believing his days to be numbered due to the bullet in his chest, and decides to stay. “I’ve imagined this, studied it all my life,” he tells Helena, insisting she returns to 1969 without him.

How Does Indiana Jones and the Dial of the Destiny End?
Harrison Ford and Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) | Source: IMDb

But Helena is having none of it, knocks him out, and Indy wakes up in his bed in his dingy apartment in New York, still recovering from the said bullet. “You’re meant to be here,” Helena tells him. “For who?” asks Indy, as love-of-his-life Marion enters Indy’s place.

Coming to terms with time

Time changes things, people, places, feelings. Indiana Jones knows this better than anyone, and Dial of Destiny is about coming to terms with time, be it the present or the past.

Aging and regretful, Indy believes his time is up and that nothing is left for him. Time made him realize the past can’t be changed and that he must come to terms with it instead. Indy’s moment on the beach of Syracuse brought that idea to clarity, but he was tired and ready to give up. However, a pertinent aspect of the film’s message is that time doesn’t stop.

Indy can let the past swallow him or move forward, learning from his mistakes and being there for the people he loves.

Jürgen Voller, on the other hand, isn’t content with moving forward. He’s a villain who wants to shape time as he sees fit, believing it can be altered if he takes control of it, adjusting time to his needs rather than letting things be as they are. Voller has not come to terms with the fact that the Nazis were defeated. He tries to go up against time instead of accepting the loss. Each character is battling time in their way.

What’s Next for Indiana Jones?

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny ends with the beloved archaeologist hanging up his hat. The fifth film in the Indiana Jones franchise is Harrison Ford’s final outing as the whip-cracking adventurer. With how the movie wrapped things up, Indiana Jones may retire as a professor and spend the rest of his time with Marion, Helena, Teddy, and Sallah.

How Does Indiana Jones and the Dial of the Destiny End?
Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2023) | Source: IMDb

Indy has a large extended family, and considering his battle with time, Dial of Destiny seeing him settling down and living life to the fullest suggests he won’t be going on any wild archaeological adventures.

But just because Indy is done doesn’t mean Helena can’t take his place. Indy will likely fan the flames of Helena’s passion for finding ancient items.

Helena may have initially wanted the Dial of Destiny to pay off her debt, but she was equally fascinated with the artifact’s history. It had a special place in her heart due to her father’s obsession. With Indiana Jones hanging up his hat, it opens the door for Helena and Teddy to take the reins of whatever adventure calls next. Indy has more than earned his right to some rest.

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About Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is an upcoming American action-adventure film and is the fifth and final installment of the Indiana Jones film series. The film is directed by James Mangold, who co-wrote the script with Jez Butterworth and John-Henry Butterworth.

In 1969, Indiana Jones lives against the backdrop of the Space Race. Jones had started to feel doubts when the U.S. Government recruited former World War II enemies in their desperation to beat the Soviet Union out in the competition to make it to space. His goddaughter, Helena, accompanies him on his journey. Meanwhile, Voller, a NASA member and ex-Nazi involved with the moon-landing program, wishes to make the world a better place as he sees fit.

Harrison Ford will reprise his role as Indiana Jones, joined by Mads Mikkelsen, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Thomas Kretschmann, Boyd Holbrook, and Shaunette Renee Wilson.


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