What happens at the end of Indiana Jones 5? Dial of Destiny ending explained

Chris Tilly
Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.Disney

Here is the emotional ending of Indiana Jones 5 – aka Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – explained.

The Indiana Jones saga that has spanned more than four decades is now coming to a close, with the official synopsis as follows: “It’s 1969, and Indiana Jones is ready to call it quits. Having spent more than a decade teaching at New York’s Hunter College, the esteemed professor of archaeology is preparing to retire to his modest apartment where, these days, he lives alone. Things change after a surprise visit from his estranged goddaughter Helena Shaw, who is seeking a rare artefact that her father entrusted to Indy years earlier – the infamous Archimedes Dial, a device that purportedly holds the power to locate fissures in me.

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“An accomplished con-artist, Helena steals the Dial and swiftly departs the country to sell the artefact to the highest bidder. Left with no choice but to go after her, Indy dusts off his fedora and leather jacket for one final ride. Meanwhile, Indy’s old nemesis, Jürgen Voller, a former Nazi now working as a physicist in the U.S. space program, has his own plans for the Dial, a horrifying scheme that could change the course of world history.”

That’s the spoiler-free version of the story, but with the film now out in multiple territories, we’re going into detail about the climax. So beware, SPOILERS AHEAD

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Indiana Jones 5 ending explained

The big news at the end of Indiana Jones 5 is that the titular Dial of Destiny actually works. Though due to some ancient miscalculations – thanks to Continental Drift – Indy, Helena, and Teddy are sent back to the time of Aristotle, rather than 1939.

Nazi villains Voller and Klaber make the same journey, but quickly burn up when their plane goes down. Meaning that’s the end of their journey through time.

Indy then actually meets Archimedes, and believing his own days to be numbered due to the bullet in his chest, decides to stay. “I’ve imagined this… studied it all my life,” he tells Helena, insisting she returns to 1969 without him. “I’ll be alright… I need to do this.”

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But Helena is having none of it, knocks him out, and Indy wakes up in his bed in his dingy apartment in New York, still recovering from said bullet. “You’re meant to be here,” Helena tells him. “For who?” asks Indy, as love-of-his-life Marion enters Indy’s place.

A happy ending for Indiana Jones

We learn through Dial of Destiny that the pair have drifted apart since their son died, but Indy’s near-death experience reunites them. The couple discuss their collective pain, showing where it hurts in a beautiful callback to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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The film then concludes with Indy and Marion kissing in his kitchen; the happiest of endings for Indiana Jones. Though the camera then briefly focusses on his fedora hanging on a clothes line. And as the screen fades to black, Indy’s hand reaches out the window to grab it, suggesting his adventures aren’t over just yet.

For more Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny info, check out the below articles:

Indiana Jones 5 review | Cast and characters | What is the Dial of Destiny?Number of Indy movies | Helena Shaw explained | Soundtrack and songs | Indiana Jones streaming details | Dial of Destiny runtime | Lance of Longinus explained | Where is Indy’s son?Filming locations | How to watch the Indy movies in order | Is Short Round in Dial of Destiny? | Ranking the Indiana Jones movies | Villain explained | Does Dial of Destiny have a post-credits scene? | Best Easter Eggs | Ending explained | Deaths in Dial of Destiny? | Will there be an Indiana Jones 6?

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About The Author

Chris Tilly is the TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He has a BA in English Literature, an MA in Newspaper Journalism, and over the last 20 years, he's worked for the likes of Time Out, IGN, and Fandom. Chris loves Star Wars, Marvel, DC, sci-fi, and especially horror, while he knows maybe too much about Alan Partridge. You can email him here: chris.tilly@dexerto.com.