Plot summary[edit | edit source]
It opened in a castle in Scotland in 1937, where Indiana Jones, while on a fishing trip, investigates murders by a ghost, the Baron Seamus Seagrove III. Indiana returns home, where Marcus Brody tells him to aid the zoologist Clare Clarke in Africa, who has discovered a 200-year old pygmy named Tyki. Indiana meets up with her and his old friend Scraggy Brier in Mozambique, and discovers a suicidally lovestruck student of his named Betsy has stowed along. The Nazis, led by Lieutenant Mephisto and Sergeant Gutterbuhg (who has a mechanical arm), attack, and despite Indy's best efforts in the ensuing boat chase, Tyki is captured.
Still, Tyki gave Indy a scroll which guides him to a Lost City via the Zambesi River. There, Indy, Clare, Scraggy and Betsy enter an uneasy alliance with pirates, led by Kezure. The Nazis attack in a giant tank, which Indy manages to rescue Tyki from by using a rhino as his steed. Tyki takes them to the city of Sun Wu King, where it is revealed Tyki is a prince. His father is then killed by the Nazis, and a battle ensues where Indiana is killed by Mephisto. The Nazis are defeated though, and Tyki takes Indy into a garden of immortal peaches, where Sun Wu King comes to revive Indy. Kezure eats a peach, but dies because he isn't pure of heart. Sun Wu gives Indy his transforming Golden Rod, while Betsy decides to stay with Clare.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
Lucas wrote an eight-page story outline in September 1984, which he altered with an eleven-page outline. Lucas' treatment made the Lost City the location of the Fountain of Youth, which only the pygmies can drink from (the Nazi army die after drinking from it). His first version of the story had the Monkey King get killed and Indy escape as his gorilla army riot. Chris Columbus, writer of Spielberg productions such as Gremlins, wrote two screenplay drafts in 1985 (the former was simply titled Indy III, and the latter was subtitled The Lost City of Sun Wu King). Columbus named all the characters and made Indiana go through a resurrection.
In his second draft, Columbus deleted Betsy, and made the villain a bar owner named Dash, who allies with the Nazis. Sun Wu King is also turned into a villain, who makes Indy and Dash play chess with real people; he disintegrates them when they are eliminated. Indy defeats the Monkey King and his undead army by breaking the Golden Rod, and marries Clare after escaping. Lucas ultimately decided the script was too unrealistic.
According to Hal Barwood, LucasArts briefly considered adapting the plot of Monkey King for an Indiana Jones video game which would have been a follow-up to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis was originally conceived as a tie-in for Monkey King. However, Barwood convinced them to drop the idea as he felt that the story was substandard.
The idea of character with a mechanical limb was originally conceived during the early development of Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which Arnold Ernst Toht was depicted with one. Author J. W. Rinzler would resurrect the concept for his villain Helmut von Mephisto in 2009's Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Mount Sinai, and Indiana Jones Adventure World added the Monkey King to a canonical source under the more traditional spelling Sun Wukong in 2012.