Skip to Content
Young Indiana Jones

Back to School with Young Indiana Jones & Helen Seymour

  • Link Copied

Before he discovered the lost Ark or the dial of destiny, Indiana Jones was a student with a passion for learning.

As students head back to school this season, they can find some inspiration in The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones. One of Lucasfilm’s first live action television series, creator George Lucas envisioned Young Indy as an educational story, wherein Indy (Corey Carrier and Sean Patrick Flanery) encounters real-life historical figures and world-changing events as they happen.

At the heart of Young Indy’s earliest episodes is the hero’s relationship with this tutor, Miss Helen Seymour (Margaret Tyzack). When the Jones family sets out on an around-the-world lecture tour, the Oxford-based educator joins them to instruct the nine-year-old Indy. The teacher and student get off to a bit of a rocky start. After asking Indy his age, Miss Seymour adds, “And are you anxious to learn?” After taking a long pause, a recalcitrant Indy says, “Depends…” Miss Seymour is befuddled by the young American’s demeanor. “Depends?” she replies. “Depends? On what?” As if it were obvious, Indy says, “On what’s being taught.”

Traveling first to Egypt, Indy finds Miss Seymour overly strict and a little stuffy, whereas the latter finds the boy indignant and restless. It turns out that they both have much to learn about the other. Miss Seymour is in fact a sensitive, thoughtful teacher with a deep appreciation for the world’s cultures and peoples. She is firm with Indy, and maintains a rigorous standard, but she is also gentle and encouraging. Indy is eager and intensely curious. He learns to respect the value of books and scholarship, but would much rather learn about culture by running out into the streets or countryside and making friends.

Over time, Indy and Miss Seymour form a close knit bond of mutual respect and trust. They climb the ancient Egyptian pyramids, walk the Great Wall of China, roam the African savannah, and explore the streets of Florence together. Indy does most of the learning, of course, as his young mind develops its worldly sensibility with which we viewers are so familiar in Harrison Ford’s portrayal of the character. But at times Miss Seymour’s world view is challenged as well, such as when they encounter Pablo Picasso in Paris. The brash artist becomes a friend to Indy, who is full of imagination, and shows a reluctant Miss Seymour that there are in fact many ways to envision the world’s beauties.

The late actor Margaret Tyzack herself would comment that “perhaps Helen is a little firmer than other people were because she never dealt with children before in her life. And she does initially say, ‘I’m not a governess, I’m a tutor.’ I think Indy and she eventually come to respect each other, and as he grows up he realizes what an influence she had on him.”

No matter our age or experience, we never stop being students of life. Indy and Miss Seymour’s relationship demonstrates how a good education can be a mutually-shared experience between student and teacher. This connects to the larger vision of Young Indiana Jones as an educational showcase dedicated to inspiring critical and curious minds in viewers of all ages and backgrounds. As Lucas explained at the time of the show’s production, Indiana Jones is “a character who likes to learn.” He loves “what it gets him in the end. It doesn’t make him rich or famous, but it definitely puts him in good stead in terms of his walking through life.”

You can watch The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones on Disney+.

Lucasfilm | Timeless stories. Innovative storytelling.

Related Topics