Monday, April 16, 2007

Indiana Jones & the City of Gods

First, we’re going to see a teaser trailer this Thanksgiving.

And second - Shia’s
officially signed. (Thanks for all the e-mails.) Shia said, “I can tell you I'm sort of the sidekick character, obviously,” which may reveal the fact that Henry Jones Sr. will have a diminished role in the film. He also says Lucas still won’t tell him what the MacGuffin will be. “Lucas looks at you and says simply, ‘I can't tell you that,’” LaBeouf says. “Then when he thinks he is supposed to tell you something but isn't sure, he gets up and leaves the room, goes in to talk with Spielberg and comes back and says, ‘Nope. Sorry.’”

However, I want to talk about the rumored title - Indiana Jones & the City of Gods. (Fanboys at Aint It Cool News now claim that this was the title of Darabont's rejected script.) In any case, this rumor originated from
an article in Empire Magazine. How did they hear this? “An email from an anonymous source.” Very flimsy, indeed, but at the same time, similarly flimsy reporting, such as the rumor about Shia, has a funny way of being true.

So IF this is true, what could this potential title mean?

I give you 5 theories:


Number V

Grecian or Roman mythology:

I lump these 3 cities together as they are different branches of the same mythological tree. They each have the nickname “City of Gods:”
Athens & Catania for its Grecian gods and Rome, of course, for its Roman gods. The number of possible artifacts is endless, but none of this is likely, because the movies have always been rooted in religious artifacts and not necessarily from the tales of Zeus and Cyclops.


Number IV

An Egyptian Artifact:

In southern Egypt, there is a famous archeological site,
Abu Simbel (photos here). There you will find The Great Temple dedicated to Ramesses, as well as the gods Amun Ra, Ra Harakhti, and Ptah, and thus, Abu Simbel earned the nickname “City of Gods.” The ancient Egyptians were obsessed with divinity, death, the afterlife, and reincarnation. You’re also looking at the possibility of seeing the ruins at Abydos, Karnak, Luxor, and also the island of Philae, which has the last hieroglyphics and a little known shrine to Egypt's lost gods.

Here, too, the variety of gods and artifacts is endless. The symbol next to the above paragraph is called the “
The Ankh” and was the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that stood for “life.” The Ankh appears frequently in Egyptian tomb paintings and other art. It often appears at the fingertips of a god or goddess in images “that represent the deities of the afterlife conferring the gift of life on the dead person's mummy.” The Ankh was often carried by Egyptians as an amulet, either alone, or in connection with two other hieroglyphs that mean “strength” and “health.” Mirrors were often made in the shape of an Ankh.


Number III

An Incan Artifact:

Of course, the photo at the tip-top of this article is the very famous
Machu Picchu, an ancient South American Shangri-La for the Inca Emperor and nobility, but the site also has a number of temples that were dedicated to Incan deities. Who were the Incan deities? Endless. An artifact related to the Chakana is a possibility. In Incan mythology, Uku Pacha ("the lower world") was the underworld located beneath the Earth's surface. Its symbol was the snake, which was thought to die when digging into the earth and reborn after coming out of it. (Yeah, baby, a snake!) On the flipside, Hanan Pacha (“higher world”) was the Heavenly underworld. Only righteous people could enter it (much like Heaven), crossing a bridge made of hair. Other locations might include the city of Pisac, which like all Inca cities was designed in the shape of a sacred animal or the city of Cajamarca, where the Inca leader Atahualpa was murdered by Spaniards.


Number II

A Buddhist Artifact:

“City of Gods” would, in fact, invalidate any theories about Islamic artifacts, including my own about
The Black Stone, because Islam believes in only one God. But with Buddhism...

We could be looking at a trip to
Tibet, the Potala Palace (pictured above), and the holy mountain of Kailash (all of which may explain why they are negotiating with Gong Li for a role). It is said of Kailash, “Sometimes, at sunset when the air is especially clear, it is possible to see the light surrounding Kailash. This light, starting within the depths of the mountain is the light of the City of the Gods, a forgotten Shambhala. Gods strictly protect their last shelter and the heritage of the great forgotten civilizations. Even today, no mortal can approach Kailash.” Another city we might see is Devinuwara. In Sinhalese language, “Devi” literally means “gods” and “nuwara” means “city.” “Buddhist as well as other community people visit this place at least once a year, during the annual festival season which occurs in June, to receive the blessings of the gods.”


Number I

Indy’s Going to Mexico:

No city in the world is more famously known as the “City of Gods” than
Teotihuacán. It’s a huge complex full of ancient pyramids with very cool names like The Feathered Serpent Pyramid, The Cuidadela, The Pyramid of the Sun, The Pyramid of the Moon, and of course, the Avenue of the Dead. I love it!

The origins of this city are cloaked in mystery. Time Magazine had a great article about it called
The City of Gods. Here's Wikipedia: “For many years, archaeologists believed it was built by the Toltec people, an early Mexican civilization. This belief was based on Aztec writings which attributed the site to the Toltecs. However, the Nahuatl word "Toltec" means "great craftsman" and may not always refer to the Toltec civilization. Also, Teotihuacán predates the Toltec civilization, ruling them out as the city's founders. Other scholars have put forth the Totonac people as the founders of Teotihuacán, and the debate continues to this day. There is evidence that at least some of the people living in Teotihuacán came from areas influenced by the Teotihuacáno civilization, including the Zapotec, Mixtec and Maya peoples. The culture and architecture of Teotihuacán was influenced by the Olmec people, who are considered to be the "mother civilization" of Mesoamerica. The earliest buildings at Teotihuacán date to about 200 BCE, and the largest pyramid, the Pyramid of the Sun, was completed by 100 CE.” The city produced a great number of obsidian artifacts.

On a side note, Indy could also be searching for a Mayan artifact. The Maya believed they owed a blood debt to the Gods – one that could only be repaid through sacrifice. Deep in the rainforest of Guatemala, you’ll find the massive Mayan city of
Tikal, which has some sensational temples especially Tikal Temple I and II. In Mexico, you can find the spectacular temples of Palenque and Chichen Itza.


GimmeABreak said...

What about Babylon? There's some pretty interesting mythology centered there as well as one of the seven ancient wonders of the world.

Following Greece and Rome, Babylon was the next city that came to my mind.

Mystery Man said...

Ooo... Babylon is a very cool subject. I'm open to any possibilities, frankly. Babylon, to me, didn't really fit the phrase "City of Gods," but hey, correct me if I'm wrong. This subject always makes me think of (from the days I was taken to Sunday School) Nebuchadnezzar. He was the only god in that kingdom and anyone who didn't worship him would be cast into the fiery furnace. He was subsequently defied by 3 Jews - Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego - and were protected by God in the furnace.

Also, it was a secular kingdom, and Indy always went for religious artifacts. I'm not sure what the religious artifact would be, could be something Jewish, but he already uncovered the Ark of the Covenant. You're also dealing with the land of Iraq as the setting and after WWII up until 1958, had been under the Hashemite monarchy. At the time, there would've been a lot of ugly tribal fighting and military coup d'etats. I think Lucas & Company would stear clear of Iraq.

GimmeABreak said...

I'm only peripherially familiar with the subject but the Mesopotamians had an interesting creation story, the Enûma Elish. The religious artifact could be the Tablet of Destinies (possession of it entitles the bearer to rule the universe). A lot of similarities to Indy I, I know...

Mim said...

MM, what do you mean by discounting Rome and Greece because Indy always went after religious artifacts?

Did they not worship Gods? Wouldn't you consider their systems of faith religion?

Still no word on Natalie Portman?

Mystery Man said...

Pat - Ohhhh... I must look into that. I'm not familiar with it, but it sounds damn cool.

Hey, Mim - not at all. That paragraph was a little too short. I’m so sorry. (I kept telling myself, "you're not writing over a thousand words this time." It's like, 1200 words. Sigh...) You’re absolutely correct. They most certainly worshipped those gods, which in the case of Greeks brought about the birth of theatre as it used to be just ceremonies and pageantries to please gods of harvest, which later turned into storytelling and the theatre. I have a thing for the Roman gods, too. (I love the name Fortuna, by the way and that Carmina Burana song). I love Grecian and Roman mythology enough to put them on the list, but at the same time, in light of the previous films, it just doesn’t feel right to me. There never was an organized religion devoted to those gods and the myths simply turned into stories of literature. No one believes in them today, so any story involving them might feel a little too farfetched. You can more easily buy into a religious artifact that has millions of followers today than some old myth no one believes in. But ya know… Lucas is capable of anything. I mean, hey, he paid Boam and Stuart to explore the possibility of a UFO artifact in Area 51.

With respect to Natalie Portman, unfortunately, Lucas killed that rumor not too long ago. Dead. You can read about it here ( I would’ve preferred a daughter over a son.

Laura Deerfield said...

My first thought on reading "City of Gods" was Teotihuacán... but a little digging around on the internet gave me this rumor:

combined with this factoid:
Here, we will use "Bangkok" when referring to the capital of Thailand. Actually, the official name of the capital is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonratanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilok Phopnopparat Ratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathuttiya Witsanukamprasit. Rather loosely translated, this becomes The City of Gods, the Great City, the Residence of the Emerald Buddha Capital of the World Endowed with Nine Precious gems, the Happy City Abounding in Enormous Royal Palaces Which Resemble the Heavenly Abode Wherein Dwell the Reincarnated Gods, A City Given by Indr and Built by Witsanukam. To the lighthearted Thai, the capital is Krung Thep [which seems to mean, roughly, City of Gods]

(from this:

Guillermo said...

I'm going toss in Lhasa, The Holy City, aka The Place of the Gods as a possibility. Geographically it's in the same area where Indy has travelled before, and it was--in the forties anyway--as place filled with artifacts connected to the early days of structured religion, etc.

Mystery Man said...

Laura & Guillermo - Thanks so much for those comments. Bangkok & Lhasa - I love it!

Ya know, I think I'm done with Indy articles for a while. I could get past this idea of Shia playing Indy's son, and I could still get excited about the title and I wrote this article and I even added a great video to the Best Of Indy IV Post, and then I read this schlop:

Sallah Will Not Return for Indiana Jones 4

Johnathan Rhys-Davies confirmed that he "has not been asked to be in Indy 4 or even approached about it. From the little information he had about the film he had been told through a third party that the character of Sallah had been written out of Indy 4 in favour of a younger cast."

Where's David Koepp's ass? I'm ready to hand it to him right now.


Mim said...

MM, I totally get your point about the Romans.

Sallah out? WTF?

Laura Deerfield said...

Oh, that's not a good sign.

Mickey Lee said...


If Indy doesn't go to the middle east, then there's no need for Sallah, and thus, I'm glad to see he's not been asked.

If he was shoehorned into a movie that took place largely in Mexico or something, then I'd be pissed -- because that's just shameless pandering. I mean after all, doesn't have like 12 kids to take care of?

Mystery Man said...

Ahh, the voice of reason. Thanks, Mickey. Yeah, you're right.


Mim said...

So we can assume it won't be in the mid-east?

I was going over all your material, MM. There's a ton. And I saw your comment on the snake (finally!)

In the pre-Christian religion that was organized around fertility, the seasons, and the female energy, the great Earth Mother was often accompanied by her snake consort, who served as her phallus to both protect and impregnate her.

zafer said...

thanks for sharing
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