Thousands of years ago, thirteen interdimensional beings landed on Earth. They all had crystal skeletons. After founding civilization, they returned to their main city, El Dorado (also known as Akator) and got ready to launch their flying saucer back to their dimension. But one, for unknown reasons, was beheaded. Only able to live as one, all of the aliens fell dormant, slowly decaying into skeletons.
In 1546, a group of conquistadors led by Francisco de Orellana stole the Skull along with other valuables from Akator. On the journey back to their ship, however, the Skull telepathically persuaded Orellana to return it to Akator, and the resulting argument with his countrymen led to them killing each other.The Skull was buried with him in his tomb near Nazca. According to legend, whoever returns the skull to Akator and reattaches it to the head of the alien will obtain the skulls power.
The Skull was later taken by Harold Oxley, who intensely researched its connection to the Peruvian legend of the City of Gold. He tried to return it to Akator, but stared into it's eyes and went mad. He was kidnapped by Soviets, led by psychic scientist Irina Spalko, who wanted to use the skull for psychic warefare by returning it to Akator. Dr. Oxley, however, didn't know how to enter the the main temple of Akator, where the skull had to be returned to. So they had to return it to Orellana's tomb for Indy to find.
In 1957, Indiana Jones, Marion Ravenwood and Mutt Williams tried to keep the Skull from the hands of the Soviets. They recovered it from Orelana's tomb, only to be kidnapped by the Soviets. Irina Spalko made Indy look into the skull's eyes so he could communicate with Dr. Oxley and learn the location of Akator. He does so and escapes from the Soviets with the skull. He, Dr. Oxley, Marion, Mutt and "double agent" Mac head for Akator with information from Dr. Oxley. However, Mac is still working for the Soviets, leaving a trail to the main temple. In the templ, they discover thirteen crystal skeletons, the remains of the aliens. The Soviets catch up, and Irina puts the skull on the alien's neck. The aliens come back to life, and start giving Irina their power. However, the UFO starts to launch, causing the temple to collapse. Most of the Soviets are beamed up into the saucer, including Mac, who stayed in the temple to steal treasure and couldn't escape in time. Indy and team are caught in a flooding passage and end up floating to the surface. Meanwhile, Irina is consumed by the aien's power and the UFO launches into another dimension, in the process destroying Akator.
There are other crystal skulls, such as the Mitchell-Hedges skull and another that Indy spent a number of prequel novels hunting for. But it is unknown whether or not they are actual alien skulls or mere replicas of the Akator skull.
Powers and physical makeup
The Skull was incredibly magnetic, even attracting metals (such as gold) that were not magnetic by nature. The Skull also had psychic properties, including the ability to communicate on a primitive level with people who stared into its eyes for a prolonged period. These powers also affected non-humans—Oxley used the Skull to divert an army of siafu intent on attacking him and Jones.
Behind the scenes
The Skull serves as the title MacGuffin at the heart of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The Skull was a practical prop created by Stan Winston studios, with some versions outfitted to physically "glow" from the eyes. The prop that is carried around throughout the movie is actually of a different size than that attached to the head of the crystal skeleton at the end of the film. Director Steven Spielberg claimed nobody would notice.
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novel
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull junior novel
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull comic