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"It's whoever's in the room, isn't it, Mac?"

Indiana Jones on McHale's allegiances.[src]

Colonel George "Mac" McHale was a British companion of Indiana Jones in the 1940s and '50s. Friend to Jones during World War II, he served as a spy for MI6, and later, during the Cold War, an agent for the Soviet Union.

Biography[edit | edit source]

World War II[edit | edit source]

In the lead up to, and throughout the Second World War, George McHale worked for MI6 when he met World War I veteran Indiana Jones, who had recently joined the US Office of Strategic Services. During their first encounter, Jones was being threatened by a luger and Mac somehow saved his life, putting the archaeologist in Mac's debt.[1] During the war, Mac had a girlfriend named Penelope, and he would frequently give Jones an updated letter to deliver to her in case he was killed in the conflict.[4] One such correspondence was written on D-Day (June 6, 1944).[3]

Mac and Indy teamed up regularly during the conflict. On one occasion, the pair disguised themselves as Nazis to steal the cipher machine responsible for generating Germany's Enigma codes. McHale saved Jones's life again when they traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia together and his friend felt the needle of amnesia darts. In 1942, they went on a mission to Flensburg.[5]

In 1943, McHale and Jones got a break from their wartime espionage duties, and went to Haiti in search of a large black pearl known as the Heart of Darkness. While Jones was no stranger to the supernatural, McHale received a swift education in the existence of voodoo and zombies.[4]

With the war's end, the political landscape changed and the height of the Cold War brought the threat of the Soviets in place of the Nazis. Mac was fond of gambling, and eventually racked up a substantial debt, which Soviet agents capitalized on by secretly buying McHale's allegiance.[1]

Journey to Akator[edit | edit source]

"I thought we were friends, Mac."

Indiana Jones[src]

In 1957, McHale and Jones were digging in some ruins in Mexico when a group of Soviets led by Antonin Dovchenko kidnapped them. They took the duo to a secret US government facility in Nevada where their team leader, Irina Spalko, wanted to find a mysterious artifact stored somewhere within the warehouse. Spalko believed Jones knew where it was, and threatened to have Mac killed if he did not cooperate. Indy complied and assisted the Soviets in locating the artifact, but he attempted to escape with Mac by threatening to shoot Spalko. However, Mac stopped him at gunpoint, revealing where his true loyalties lay. Eventually, Indy managed to get away using an underground rocket sled while the pursuing Mac narrowly avoided a gruesome death as he ducked out of the way of the sled's engine flaring just in time. He left the area by jeep with Spalko, who congratulated him on his work.[1]

Mac was present in Nazca, Peru when Jones and Mutt Williams visited the sanatorium where Harold Oxley, prisoner of the Soviets, had been held, and then later found the Crystal Skull of Akator at Francisco de Orellana's resting place. Mac tipped off Spalko's men as to the whereabouts Indy and Mutt, and the two were captured and taken to a Russian camp in Brazil. There, Mac tried to convince Indy to join him like back "...in Berlin." Indy refused, and instead promised to break Mac's nose; a promise he fulfilled shortly after Mac stopped Spalko unleashing the skull's powers on an unsuspecting Jones. On their way to Akator, when Indy and his company managed to disband the Soviet convoy, Mac, to save his own life, convinced Indy that he was in fact a double agent working for the CIA. He explained that the earlier reference to Berlin was a hint, since both Indy and Mac worked there as double agents during World War II,[1] and that he had sent his handler, General Ross to bail Jones out of trouble after the Hangar 51 incident.[6]

Mac accompanied Indy's group to Akator, a legendary city of gold, but he hadn't changed sides at all: he was leaving behind transponders so that the Soviets could track them down. Inside the temple, his betrayal was revealed when Spalko and Soviet troops arrived; Mac explained to a confused Jones that he was no triple agent, but had simply lied about being a double. When the Crystal Skull of Akator was returned to its owner and the unearthly spacecraft opened an interdimensional portal, Mac attempted to gather the city's golden relics before he escaped the fragmenting temple. In his rush to collect the treasure, he stumbled and fell. Despite the betrayals, Indy tried to save Mac with his whip.[1] However, the gold that Mac had stored on his pockets had unlikely magnetic properties that were dragging him towards the portal and risked bringing Jones along with him.[7] Mac reassured his partner that he'd be "alright" and allowed himself to be pulled into the portal, giving Jones time to escape.[1]

Personality and traits[edit | edit source]

McHale had a cheerful air and a passion for gambling and women. He also suffered from musophobia. The end of World War II saw him take his interests to the extreme, however, and caused his reliability in telling the whole truth to waver.[8] A self-confessed capitalist, the Soviets bought his allegiance and Mac betrayed Jones after his gambling had led to substantial debt.[1] As long as Jones had known him, Mac had always fought dirty. Treacherous personality aside, for which he was unapologetic anyway, it seemed McHale still regarded Indy as a friend to the very end, insisting that the Russians stop exposing Indiana to the skull's power after the archaeologist began to convulse, and let himself be pulled to his doom so Jones wouldn't share his fate.[7]

Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]

George "Mac" McHale was portrayed by Ray Winstone in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[1] Winstone had previously been considered for the role of Bail Organa in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. While Jimmy Smits ultimately won the part,[9] Winstone became the first choice to play Mac after director Steven Spielberg saw him in Sexy Beast (2000).[10] The character is erroneously credited with the surname "Michale" in the film. IndianaJones.com also listed the character's surname as Michale, as did the DVD's featurettes.[11] Coincidentally, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is set in 1957, the same year in which Ray Winstone was born.

Although the character was created by Kingdom of the Crystal Skull writer David Koepp, McHale seems to be developed from Yuri Makovsky and Porfi, two characters from Frank Darabont's unrealized Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods screenplay. Like McHale, Makovsky was a spy who betrayed Indiana Jones at the beginning of the story. Also, during the story's climax, Jones makes an effort to help Makovsky survive the destruction of the lost city of Los Dioses (Akator in the final film). Unlike McHale, however, Makovsky is given no hint of redemption, and after being saved, Jones hits and "exiles" him from United States. Porfi was an ally of the main antagonist (Peter Belasko in the City of the Gods script) and becomes obsessed with the wealth of Los Dioses, leading to his downfall.[12]

In order to shoot the scene where Mac is pulled into the portal, Winstone was attached to a harness that swung him away from Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones) with a wind effect later added through CGI, as seen in the featurette Production Diary: Making of "The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".[11]

Mac being threatened in the deleted scene.

There was originally going to be a scene in Crystal Skull where Spalko and her men coerce Jones into helping them search for the Roswell remains by threatening Mac's life outside of Hangar 51. When Jones refuses to cooperate, Mac is placed under the wheel of a truck driven by Dovchenko which forces Jones to comply in order to spare the life of his friend. The scene, despite being filmed, was cut from the finished version of the film.[13] Neverthless, this scene is retained in both the Crystal Skull junior novelization[14] and the adult novel.[7]

McHale acts as a spin on René Emile Belloq and Sallah, giving him characteristics of an anti-hero. He is also Jones' World War II counterpart to Remy Baudouin. Mac can also be seen as a male Elsa Schneider, as both were double agents for Jones and his enemies. He's both an anti-hero and an anti-villain.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

Notes and references[edit | edit source]

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