Skip to Content

Indy Fans Share Their Passion at the Dial of Destiny Hollywood Premiere

  • Link Copied

The once-in-a-lifetime event brought cosplayers and collectors together from across the globe.

A couple of weeks ago, Hollywood Boulevard was swarmed with fedoras, leather jackets, and bullwhips (all of them screen-accurate, of course). Fans from as far away as Canada, the Netherlands, Italy, and Australia gathered for the U.S. premiere of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. It’s possible that such a large, diverse group of Indy fans had never been assembled before.

“All my life, I never imagined seeing fans from all around the world here,” said Eugene Shin, a member of the cosplaying group “California Jones” who recently organized a fan tour of location sites in the San Francisco Bay Area. “It just shows that Indiana Jones has a global reach, even in places where I never imagined Indy could be so popular. The fact that people have traveled all the way here is amazing.”

For many, including Shin, the experience felt like the culmination of a lifelong passion stretching back to their earliest memories. “My grandpa would rent videos randomly, and one day he chose Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” Shin recalled. “I was so engaged with the movie that I kept repeating it, and renting the movie over and over again.”

Kelsey Walmer, a Marion Ravenwood cosplayer, explained how “my whole family watched these movies when my brother and I were little, and we’ve continued watching for years and years together. It’s full circle, or full dial! [Laughs.]”

Natalie Benavides met her friend and fellow attendee Bryan Rohrenbacher “because of Indy,” as she puts it. An avid cosplayer, Benavides attended a convention in her Marion Ravenwood garb and was on the hunt for an Indy to pose with. “A mutual friend introduced us,” said Rohrenbacher. “We did a few photos, and after a few minutes, she said, ‘Okay can I climb on your back like in the snake scene?’ [Laughs.]”

With fewer releases over the past four-plus decades, Indy fandom could be described as more intimate than its counterparts like Star Wars. For some like attendee Connor Grewal, joining the community “was such a great moment to realize that there were other people who loved the franchise as much as I did. I grew up thinking, ‘Oh who cares about Indiana Jones except for me?’ It’s been great to meet so many other people who have the passion for it.”

The passion of the fans inspires their creativity, especially with the cosplayers who invest countless hours (and a fair amount of dollars) into their lovingly-detailed attire. Some, like Tasha Dahlberg, even take inspiration to imagine their own fictional character costumes. “I’ve always loved history and archaeology,” she said, “but Indiana Jones made it cooler and more adventurous. It’s the excitement of it. That’s always been a part of my life.”

Dahlberg’s Indy-inspired costume provided a unique spin on the well-known archetype. “I like being original and creating my own stories,” she explained, “so I came up with my own character, a female archaeologist called Arizona Jones, who is a cousin of Indy’s. I did a lot of research into 1930s female fashion. The hardest piece was the boots. Back then they had low-heeled boots. To find ones that weren’t high-heeled and had that vintage look was hard.”

Sporting a Sallah costume from The Last Crusade, Kevin Shirka was easily recognizable among the many Indys at the event (he even passed out dates on the sidewalk, insisting they were “good dates”). Known as YouTube’s “Indiana Jones Nerd,” he noted that “for a lot of us, Indy started as a family experience. I watched it with my dad and my whole family. It’s always had that warm feeling.” Shirka’s father Farhad, a native of Iran who immigrated to the United States not long before the debut of Raiders of the Lost Ark, kept his son company while fans queued. “He’s a wonderful character,” Farhad commented about the inimitable Sallah, “very pleasant and friendly. You just love him.”

As fans inspected each other’s costume details and recited their favorite movie quotations back and forth, the heartfelt love for the Indy stories was palpable. “A lot of people would probably choose this moment, but the truck chase is my favorite scene,” said Connor Grewal. “It’s one of the best action sequences in any movie, but it also showcases who Indiana Jones is as a character. It shows how he’s able to improvise, his determination, and even has humor. If I was trying to show someone who had no idea what Indiana Jones was about, I would show them the truck chase. It has ever single thing that an Indy movie needs.”

Beyond all the intricate details and insights that are so fun to obsess over are the resounding themes of the stories, ones that help us connect to experiences in our own lives. “The Last Crusade film delves into Indy’s emotional relationship with his dad,” Eugene Shin explained. “My own father and I were not very close for a long time, and this film conveyed that emotion and distance. Luckily, I’ve patched things up with him and there’s a strong emotional bond that makes me go back and watch The Last Crusade.” And with a quietly gleeful smile, the soft-spoken fan adds, “the action in the tank sequence is also amazing, of course.”

Related Topics