‘Indiana Jones And The Dial Of Destiny’ Ending Explained & Movie Summary: What Is Voller’s Masterplan?

Exotic tropical locations within or outside the planet Earth, over-the-top villains, manifestations of unbelievable conspiracy theories, catacombs riddled with death traps, and a swashbuckling wanderer in the lead were the key tropes in most 30’s and 40’s pulp fiction and comics representation of them. These acted as source material when influenced by them; visionary filmmakers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Philip Kaufman brought the character Indiana Jones to life with the movie Raiders of The Lost Ark (1981), and the rest is, in the literal sense, history.

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The sprawling set pieces, high-octane chase scenes, and a grand sense of wonder weaved by John William’s music added a certain novelty to the movie, which has marked subsequent releases too. With four entries strong, the Indiana Jones movie franchise has inspired numerous other ventures of world cinema in the last five decades. With the fifth and final entry of the franchise, Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny, released in theaters worldwide, director James Mangold showcased a very grounded, conscious approach to the lore and characterization, blending nostalgia and new elements seamlessly as a final farewell to the wonders of the legendary adventurer.

Spoilers Ahead

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Back To The War Era: What Was The Relic That Indie Stole?

The movie opens in a medieval fortress turned into a Nazi military outpost during the last stage of the Second World War in 1944, where a captive is being presented in front of a German general, and the captive turns out to be none other than Henry Walton Jones Jr., aka Indiana Jones. The Nazis are relocating their plundered antiquities from the fortress, and Indie, who was trying to infiltrate the location, is caught under suspicion of being an Allied force’s spy. Moments after the general orders Indie to be hanged and sends him away, the Nazi astrophysicist, Jürgen Voller, appears in front of him to present the ‘Lance of Longinus, the infamous weapon that drew the blood of Christ, which he has procured under Hitler’s command.

The lance, along with all other antiquities, is loaded in a plunder train, and the Nazi troops find out about Indie’s longtime archaeologist friend Basil ‘Baz’ Shaw, whom the general decides to bring along with him as well. On the train, Baz overhears the conversation between the general and Voller, who states that the ‘Lance of Longinus’ is a replica of the original, but they have an even more significant artifact in their possession: the Antikythera, the dial of the legendary Greek mathematician and inventor, Archimedes. Voller believes the dial to be a temporal compass, which can grant access to certain numericals that can turn the course of history itself, and he keeps it in his possession.

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Meanwhile, a timely intervention by Allied forces’ bombing saves Indie from being hanged to death, and after killing a bunch of Nazi Gestapo troops during a daring chase in the night across the meadows, Indie manages to board the running plunder train as well. Through some trickery and sheer luck, Indie manages to rescue his friend from the train full of Nazis. The duo tried to infiltrate the fortress in search of the lance in the first place, but after learning that it’s a mere replica, they knocked out Voller, took the Antikythera, and Indie tried to stop the train so that the antiquities could be put back where they belonged. The Nazi general tries to stop the duo but gets shot by Baz. Voller gets knocked out of the train, and as Allied forces stop the train by bombing a bridge in front, Indie and Baz jump into the river below and escape.


Beginning Of The Space Age: Who Is Helena?

Twenty-five years later, Indy isn’t the same reckless, hardboiled, death-defying treasure hunter anymore. Age has caught up to him; his son, Mutt, has passed away, resulting in growing estrangement between him and his beloved wife, Marion, from whom he has been separated as well. Baz has left Indie, and he is stuck with the mundane job of being the archaeology professor at Hunter College—a time when people of his vocation are majorly neglected as the world is busy making way for the space age.

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Amidst such a humdrum routine, Indy is visited by his goddaughter, Helena ‘Wombat’ Shaw, daughter of Baz and as prolific in history and archaeology as her old man. Indy is especially surprised, given how his last meeting with Baz went. It is revealed that while studying the German hypothesis about the Antikythera’s real functionality, Baz went insane and lost his life in the end. Archimedes invented the dial as a means to measure the irregularities in the pattern of planetary rotations, which can explain and predict upcoming natural calamities. But apparently, Archimedes’ calculations were so precise that the Antikythera could locate fissures in time as well—at least, that’s what Voller and, later Baz, too, started believing. To save his friend from going insane, Indy took the dial the last time he met Baz before his death and promised to destroy it rather than let it fall into the wrong hands. Helena, however, doesn’t recall anything about the day and asks Indy to let her accompany him on an expedition to the exact location where Indy apparently lost the other half of the dial, which she has gotten to know from her father. Indy takes Helena to his college’s antique room, where he keeps the other half of the dial hidden.


Voller Back In Action: What’s The Reason Behind His Return?

On the other hand, Jürgen Voller had been sheltered by the U.S. government after the war and, like many of the other Nazi scientists, was used by the state to further their space program under the guise of a certain Professor Schmidt. The 1969 moon landing was, for the most part, Voller’s contribution, and in return, the government allowed him to indulge in a few ‘personal’ affairs aided by the CIA. Thanks to that, Voller, assisted by his two vicious personal Nazi agents, Klaber and Hauke, and CIA agent Mason, has tracked down Helena and knows her purpose for seeking the dial as well, which he wants for himself.

While discussing the dial, Indy catches Helena’s lies about her father telling him they lost the dial, whereas she knows that Baz handed the dial to Indy himself. Indy questions Helena’s true motivation, and at the same time, Klaber, Mason, and Hauke appear on the scene to capture Helena, who escapes with the dial, and Voller’s associates capture Indy. After rampaging through New York’s moon landing celebration parade and riding a horse through the subway stations, Indy finally manages to escape them as well. Later, he discovers that Klaber and Hauke have killed two of his colleague professors, and police are searching for him for questioning.

Indy seeks the help of his dear friend, the fan-favorite character, Sallah, and learns that Helena has resorted to finding out and selling antiquities in illegal black markets. The dial she has taken is to be sold at Tanjier, Morocco, where Helena operates under a local gangster, and Indy needs to go there as well to get the dial back and clear his name. Sallah helps Indy make arrangements to travel to Tangier, and although he wishes to accompany him as well, Indy doesn’t want to reel his old friend into any more trouble. At Tanjier, both Indy and Voller appear at Helena’s private auction and spoil the party. A grand chase ensues, with Voller escaping with the dial; Indy, Helen, and her teenage sidekick Teddy follow them in a tuktuk, and they themselves get chased by the gangster Rahim and his thugs. Voller is apprehended by the CIA and gets taken back to the States, as agent Mason is instructed by the government to eliminate Voller and his men for creating too much of a nuisance. Klaber and Hauke kill Mason and other CIA operatives and seize control of the aircraft. Meanwhile, Indy and Co. speculate that Voller will head towards the Aegean Sea, where the Grafikos, or cryptic waypoint, to the other half of the dial can be recovered and that they need to reach the place before the Nazis.

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A Deep Dive For The Past: Did Indy Manage To Complete The Dial?

Reaching the shores of the Aegean Sea, Indy seeks the help of his sponge diver friend Renaldo to search for the Grafikos in the sunken Roman sea vessel and manages to find it as well. However, Voller arrives with his men at the scene, kills Renaldo’s crew, and demands Indy translate the Grafikos, which is scripted in Polybius B. A refusal to do so results in Voller gunning down Renaldo and scaring Helena into cooperation. Helena translates the Grafikos and manages to escape the Nazis with Indy and Teddy, and it is revealed that she misdirected them on purpose about the location of the other half of the dial, which they deduce to be at Archimedes’ tomb in Sicily, near the Ear of Dionysius. However, Voller assesses the misdirection and follows Indy and co. to Sicily, where he manages to abduct Teddy.

Venturing through treacherous caverns, Indy and Helena find Archimedes’ tomb in the hopes that they will bargain for the other half of the dial in exchange for Teddy. However, they find a strange frieze engraved in the tomb and even a prototype model of a modern watch, something they consider to be the proof that the dial’s usage is about accessing the temporal fissures. In the meantime, Teddy manages to escape from Voller’s crew and gets rid of Hauke by drowning him. Voller decides to proceed anyway and ambushes Indy, taking the other half of the dial and completing the entire set. Teddy causes a distraction, which allows Helena to escape, but Indy gets shot and captured by Voller and his men.

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Rewriting History: What Is Voller’s Masterplan?

Taking Indy to one of his secret airbases, Voller reveals that he will use the dial to locate the temporal fissure to go back in time to 1939 by navigating the exact co-ordinates shown by it, thereby killing Hitler there and becoming the Fuhrer himself. He led Germany to victory in the Second World War and recreated the Third Reich. As Voller takes Indy to be a part of history in his bomber plane, Helena manages to cling to the aircraft, and Teddy follows them in a light aircraft.

However, as Voller’s bomber flies to the fissure, Indy warns them about the continental shift, which Archimedes’ calculations didn’t consider and which can result in them reaching an altogether different point in the timeline. By the time Voller realizes this, it has already been too late, and the entire band finds themselves in Sicily during the siege of Syracuse. The invading Romans considered the bomber plane to be a fire-breathing dragon and shot it down, resulting in Voller and his crew’s deaths, while Indy and Helena managed to land using parachutes.

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Did Indianapolis Gain Some Form Of Closure At The End?

Shot and injured, Indy is awestruck by witnessing history unfold right in front of his eyes and urges Helena to go access the fissure to return to the present timeline, leaving him to be a part of history. Archimedes himself, who was present during the scenario, appears at the site of the crash and asks Indy how far they have come. Seeing Voller’s watch in Archimedes’ hand and conversing with him, Indy realizes the dial was the medium of a distress call by Archimedes, as the genius predicted if someone from the future could get their hands on the device, they could attempt to access the fissure, which would have inevitably taken them to this exact point in time, and they could help the Greeks  win against the Roman invaders. This also explains why a strange dragon frieze was in Archimedes’ tomb in the future, as well as the prototype version of the watch—a paradox has already been created without Indy’s and others’ knowledge. Archimedes returns the future version of the dial to them, and Indy states that he is willing to stay, but Helena isn’t ready to let go of his godfather just yet, as not only will the time paradox threaten the course of history but also the fact that she doesn’t want Indy to give up on his life in the present. Helena knocks out Indy in his own signature way and, using Teddy’s plane, returns to 1969.

Back in the present timeline, Indy wakes up in his apartment and asks Helena why she even bothered to bring him back, as he believes that nothing is left for him at this time anymore. To Indy’s surprise, he sees Marion, his beloved wife, enter the apartment accompanied by Teddy (no thanks to Helena’s intervention), along with Sallah and his grandkids. The group goes outside for an ice cream break to allow Indy and Marion to catch up, and a beautiful, romantic recreation of Raiders of the Lost Ark is enacted by the duo, which is enough to make fans teary-eyed. As the camera pans outside, a closing shot highlights the adventurer’s iconic fedora—the adventure might have ended, but the journey of his life is far from over. The series ends on a memorable, heartwarming note and allows the iconic character to have much-deserved closure.

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Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

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