Did Indiana Jones Steal His Crystal Skull From A Real-Life Archaeologist?

We can all come with at least 100 reasons why we’d want to sue Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Harrison Ford after Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Introducing aliens into the franchise, wasting the great Ray Winstone in a thankless role, and “Tarzan” LaBeouf swinging with digital monkeys jump to mind. But few would imagine the latest lawsuit leveled in court against a major Hollywood studio, this time on behalf of the bulbous-shaped Crystal Skull, itself.

According to THR, archaeologist Dr. Jaime Awe – a self-proclaimed real-life Indiana Jones – has filed a lawsuit against Lucasfilm, the Walt Disney Company and Paramount Pictures demanding that they return a “stolen” Crystal Skull that was taken from a family who unearthed the relic in Belize 88 years ago. Awe says that the Skull – one of four such relics that contain magical powers (similar to the ones described in the movie) – was found by adventurer F.A. Mitchell-Hedges and his adopted daughter, Anna Mitchell-Hedges, in the early 1920s. Their story reportedly was recounted on the Sci-Fi Channel back in 2008. The legal complaint says that the studio never got permission to use the skull’s likeness in the film (even though Indiana finds his skull in Peru, but whatever). The plaintiffs, who are suing on behalf of the nation of Belize, would like a share of the movie’s massive profits.

Well, who wouldn’t? And while the studios have yet to comment on the lawsuit, I’m sure they are enjoying a good chuckle over the fact that their imaginary alien skull is causing them all sorts of troubles. There’s little doubt in my mind that Lucas heard of the Belize skulls while hatching the concept behind Crystal Skull (the other three skulls reportedly are on display at the British Museum in London, the Musee du Quai Branly in Paris and the Smithsonian in Washington). But that doesn’t mean the owe anyone money. We’ll see if anything comes of this lawsuit, but I’d be shocked if there case makes any progress through the courts.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.