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The Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull novel is the adaptation of the fourth Indiana Jones film, written by James Rollins.

In the US, Del Rey released the hardcover edition on May 20, 2008, two days before the film's release. Del Rey's mass market paperback (ISBN: 0345502884) was released on November 25, 2008. In the UK, the novel was published in paperback format (ISBN: 009192667X) by Ebury Press on May 22, 2008. The audiobook version of the novel was released on CD (ISBN: 0739358987) by Random House Audio and was read by L. J. Ganser.

Plot summary[]

Differences from the film[]

As with the other three film novelizations, the are a few differences from page to screen when compared to the film.

  • There is an original prologue featuring Francisco de Orellana and his exploits set in 1546.
  • The first chapter concerns Indy and Mac's Mexican dig which is interrupted by the Soviets kidnapping them.
  • There are only three MPs at the entrance to Hangar 51, vs. the film's five. The race against the army sedan and hotrod is told from their point of view.
  • Jimmy Wycroft tries to shoot Antonin Dovchenko and the Soviets with his pistol before being killed.
  • Mac calls Indiana Jones "Indy" instead of "Jonesy".
  • Instead of picking his fedora up by himself, Indy has one of the Soviets do it for him, and the soldier puts it back on Jones' head.
  • When Dovchenko takes out the Maya artifacts which Indy discovered at Mexico, they break after falling to the tarmac so Irina Spalko never crushes them with her feet. Additionally, Indy tries to recover them but a guard prevents him from doing so.
  • During the Hangar 51 sequence, Indy actually sees the Ark of the Covenant but can't stop long enough to really examine it.
  • Irina Spalko actually returns to Russia, where she dissects the alien corpse from Hangar 51 under the watchful eyes of several Soviet politicians.
  • At Arnie's Diner, the Slugger is absent and as such Joe College defends himself after Mutt Williams' sucker punch.
  • When Indy and Mutt are chased by the KGB agents, there is only one sedan versus the movie's two. This is the sedan that smashes into the statue of Marcus Brody.
  • Spalko's driver dies much sooner. He gets eaten by the Siafu while still sitting in the car.
  • Instead of falling into the ants and being eaten, Dovchenko charges at Indy who uses the big Colonel's own momentum to flip him into the ants.
  • Spalko's psychic powers are a more defined. In addition to following the tracking devices left by Mac, she at one point senses that Jones has found Akator.
  • There is more exploration of the Akator temple, including the discovery of giant turbines and, in the treasure room, Indy and the gang find the corpses of past discoverers of Akator, who have all had their eyes burned out mysteriously.
  • The Ugha manage to kill some of Spalko's men before being gunned down with some Ugha managing to escape back into their tunnels.
  • The demise of the remaining Soviets. There are only three versus the movie's four. One is simply pulled into the vortex by his ammo belt; another soldier tries to grab him but is impaled when Spalko's sword flies out of its scabbard and skewers him; the third soldier has his eyes burned out like the corpses and later Spalko herself.
  • Spalko's brain completely crystallizes, and instead of her body exploding, she has an out-of-body experience in which her non-corporeal self precedes her (dead) earthly body into the vortex. Also the skeletons do not unify into one being as in the film.
  • After escaping from Akator, Indy asks Harold Oxley how he got past the guards at Chauchilla Cemetery twice. Oxley simply explains he went in both times during the day while the guards were sleeping.
  • During Marion and Indy's wedding, Indy initiates the kiss rather than Marion.




Behind the scenes[]

"I found it an interesting and fascinating challenge. It was both involving and liberating: deconstructing the script, creating internal monologue, expanding some scenes, contracting others, and inventing brand new scenes. The studio also gave me a fairly free hand. And all in all, I was able to add about a dozen entirely new scenes that aren't in the script or movie."
James Rollins on writing the novelization[src]

Long before Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was officially announced, previous Indy authors like Max McCoy[1] and Rob MacGregor – who had previously adapted Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade – had expressed interest on writing the fourth film's novelization.[2] Others like Campbell Black, who novelized Raiders of the Lost Ark, declined any interest for returning to write the novelization even if offered a chance.[3] In case of MacGregor, although his agent was confident that Lucasfilm Ltd. would approach him[4] and persistently encouraged Lucasfilm to hire MacGregor, the author was instead asked to novelize the Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings video game (although the completed manuscript ultimately went unpublished).[5]

James Rollins, whose earlier novels had been often compared to Indiana Jones, eventually caught the eye of Del Rey, which had acquired the license to publish Indy novels and submitted Rollins' name to George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who approved their choice and Rollins was hired as back before the spring of 2007. To write the novel, Rollins rewatched the first three films, was given access to the film's script despite initial tight security, had few conversations about it with screenwriter David Koepp and was allowed to view shots from the production department. While writing the adaptation, one thing Rollins became determined to do besides expanded on unexplained events was to explore scenes from the older Indiana Jones' perspective. According to Rollins, the character he most enjoyed writing was Jones' son Mutt Williams.[6]

Unlike previous authors, Rollins was given total freedom to explore Marion Ravenwood's backstory in his book which had previously been forbidden in prior Indiana Jones canon.[7]

Cover gallery[]

Notes and references[]

External links[]

Indiana Jones novels
Raiders of the Lost Ark · Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade · Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: The Mata Hari Affair
Cancelled: Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings
Original stories
Indiana Jones and the Peril at Delphi · Indiana Jones and the Dance of the Giants
Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils · Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge
Indiana Jones and the Unicorn's Legacy · Indiana Jones and the Interior World
Indiana Jones and the Sky Pirates · Indiana Jones and the White Witch
Indiana Jones and the Philosopher's Stone · Indiana Jones and the Dinosaur Eggs
Indiana Jones and the Hollow Earth · Indiana Jones and the Secret of the Sphinx
Indiana Jones and the Army of the Dead
Overseas exclusives
Indiana Jones and the Feathered Serpent · Indiana Jones and the Longship of the Gods
Indiana Jones and the Gold of El Dorado · Indiana Jones and the Sword of Genghis Khan
Indiana Jones and the Lost People · Indiana Jones and the Secret of Easter Island
Indiana Jones and the Labyrinth of Horus · Indiana Jones and the Avalon Inheritance
Young adult Indiana Jones novels · Timeline of novels
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Novel · Junior novel · The Movie Storybook · The Official Magazine · Scholastic Readers · Interactive Play-a-Sound
Partial adaptations
Meet Indy · Meet Mutt · Race for Akator
Indy's Adventures · Traps and Snares · Great Escapes · The Search For Buried Treasure
Soundtrack (The Soundtracks Collection) · An Unabridged Production
Comic · 1 · 2 · TPB · Indiana Jones Comic · Escape from the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!
Mobile game · Didj · LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues · Trading cards · Akator Temple Race Game
Activity books
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Behind the scenes
The Return of a Legend · Pre-Production · Production Diary (abridged cut) · Warrior Makeup · The Crystal Skulls · Iconic Props · The Effects of Indy · Adventures in Post Production · Closing: Team Indy
The Complete Making of Indiana Jones · A Photographic Journal
Script development
Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars · Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods
Home video
DVD (Complete Adventure Collection) · Blu-ray (The Complete Adventures) · 4K (4-Movie Collection)
Other material and merchandise
Toy line · Collector's Guide · Piano Accompaniment