Is 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' About Dads and Divorce?

Is 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' About Dads and Divorce?

8 min read

"Life imitates art far more than art imitates life." ~ Oscar Wilde

1982 was probably not George Lucas' favorite.

He was in the final, maniac stages of finishing Return of the Jedi, the culmination of his Star Wars trilogy. As he wound down the galactic empire, work continued on his filmmaking one; construction began on Skywalker Ranch in 1980 and wouldn't be complete until 1985. In addition, preliminary story discussions for the yet-unnamed Indiana Jones sequel had begun.

But the most turbulent and upsetting development had nothing to do with the business of movies.

Citing his relentless workaholism and emotional distance, his wife Marcia Lucas asked for a divorce.

"I wanted to stop and smell the flowers. I wanted joy in my life. And George just didn't. He was very emotionally blocked, incapable of sharing feelings. He wanted to stay on that workaholic track. The empire builder. The dynamo. And I couldn't see myself living that way the rest of my life." ~ Marcia Lucas, "Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" pg. 422

They'd been married 14 years. Even though it was clear their destinies lied along different paths, Marcia didn't give up without a fight. She suggested marriage counseling. George said no. She asked for a trial separation. Again, vetoed.

So Marcia called it quits.

George begged—not for another chance—but on behalf of his cinematic saga. He was afraid the divorce would derail Return of the Jedi's box office take. Marcia agreed. They announced the divorce two weeks after the film opened in 1983.