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This year marks the 40th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark, the movie that introduced us to Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones. Accompany Indy on his first cinematic adventure was Karen Allen’s Marion Ravenwood, who, though she may have been captured a few times, did not fall prey to the classic damsel in distress trope. Comparisons can certainly be drawn between Marion and Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia Organa, who debuted four years prior in Star Wars: A New Hope; especially since George Lucas worked on both movies.
Having written the first Star Wars movie and hashed out Raiders of the Lost Ark’s story with Phillip Kaufman, George Lucas is unquestionably qualified to note what Leia and Marion have in common. Here’s what the filmmaker had to say to THR about the key trait the characters share:
From my own work, Leia was always meant to be a leader. She was smart, in the moment and looking at the big picture. She was in charge of things and a Rebel leader from the get-go. Luke was fresh off the farm, and Han was a dubious character from what she could tell at that point. Marion didn’t have the same vantage point, but she was just as tough, too. She ran her life and business and bossed folks around with the best of them. They were different characters but shared the same strengths.
Leia and Marion certainly come from two different worlds… figuratively and literally. In one franchise, we had Leia as one of the Rebellion’s top leaders fighting her hardest to overthrow the Empire. In another franchise, we had Marion, who was living in Nepal when she reunited with Indiana Jones and was forced to join his quest to find the Ark of the Covenant after being targeted by the Nazis. But despite their contrasting narrative arcs, both women exuded toughness and strength in the face of danger, which wasn’t as common to see among female protagonists in those days compared to now.
Of course, in Leia Organa’s case, she’s been fleshed out across six movies, along with numerous novels, comic book series, TV shows and video games. Marion Ravenwood, on the other hand, has only appeared in two movies, with Karen Allen reprising the character in 2008’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, though Marion also popped up in various issues of The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones comic book series. Still, with Indiana Jones 5 coming up, there are potential opportunities to continue fleshing out the character, whether it’s by Indy’s side in the immediate aftermath of Raiders of the Lost Ark or even depicting a solo adventure of hers at a time closer to the events of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
Speaking of Indiana Jones 5, although Karen Allen expressed interest years back in reprising Marion Ravenwood, there’s been no announcement of her participating in the movie. In fact, so far all the faces joining Harrison Ford on Indiana Jones 5 are new, with the cast including Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Kretschmann, Boyd Holbrook and Shaunette Renée Wilson. As for Leia, The Rise of Skywalker concluded her story in 2019, but you can be sure that the character in her younger years will continue to be explored in various stories.
Indiana Jones 5 is set for release on July 29, 2022, while the next Star Wars movie, Patty Jenkins’ Rogue Squadron, will fly into theaters on December 23, 2023. But if you’re looking to rewatch older entries in either franchise, you can get your Star Wars fix over at Disney+ and delve into Indiana Jones’ world on Paramount+.