Dial of Destiny in Indiana Jones 5 explained

Chris Tilly
The Dial of Destiny in Indiana Jones 5.Disney

Indiana Jones 5 is in cinemas now, during which all the characters are hunting down the Dial of Destiny. So here’s what we know about the ancient artefact, including if it does indeed possess magical powers.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny hit UK screens today, with an important aspect of the official synopsis as follows:

“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 time. “

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So what is that device, which is also called the Dial of Destiny? And can it travel through time? Read on to find out, just beware of SPOILERS FOR INDIANA JONES 5 ahead…

Indiana Jones 5: What is the Dial of Destiny?

The Dial of Destiny is Archimedes Dial, based on a real-life artefact called the Antikythera, which was thought to be used for astronomy by those who created it.

The Dial is what both Indy and the Nazis are after at the start of the movie, in 1944. And what Indy, the Nazis, and Helena Shaw – Indy’s goddaughter – are fighting for during the rest of the movie, in 1969.

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Here’s how the official production notes describe the object: “The sought-after artefact that drives the narrative, the Archimedes Dial, was inspired by a real-world artefact, the Antikythera mechanism. A mechanical device thought to be used in ancient Greece to calculate and display information about astronomical phenomena, it’s been described as the oldest known example of an analog computer.”

Why Archimedes’ Dial is a “genius choice”

Harrison Ford – who plays Indiana Jones – calls the Antikythera a stroke of genius for the movie. “Archimedes’ Dial – big, bold concept,” says Ford. “I think it was a genius choice. Other items that we’ve used in the other films always had a religious aspect to them – Sankara Stones, the Holy Grail, Ark of the Covenant. But this was fooling with the nature of science.”

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Says director James Mangold: “The moment I knew the movie was about time, opportunities missed, opportunities lost, choices made, irrevocable mistakes, then the question [became], ‘What would be the only thing that would allow me to fix time itself?’” explains Mangold. “The research that I found about the Antikythera, rumored to be an invention by Archimedes, has been speculated to be a kind of time compass.”

Can the Dial of Destiny travel through time?

Yes, the Dial of Destiny can travel through time. Everything Nazi villain Jurgen Voller believes about the object is true, making it the Flux Capacitor of the Indiana Jones franchise.

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But while the Dial does predict “fissures in time,” Voller’s research doesn’t bank on Continental Drift, meaning his figures are off.

So rather than traveling back to 1939 to win WWII, the characters all end up back in 214 BC. Where Indy comes face-to-face with Archimedes himself. Who sees that his device works, bringing the time-travel story full-circle.

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.