Indiana Jones 5: What is the Lance of Longinus?

Chris Tilly
The cover of Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny.Dark Horse Comics

At the start of Indiana Jones 5 – aka Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny – the title character stumbles upon an ancient artefact. So, what is the Lance of Longinus?

Indiana Jones is a teacher who spends his spare time hunting down ancient treasures. Over the course of the four previous movies, Indy has tracked the Ark of the Covenant, the Sankara Stones, and the Holy Grail.

The new movie is all about the Dial of Destiny, otherwise known as the Archimedes Dial. You can read all about that artefact here.

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But at the very start of the film, Indy finds the Lance of Longinus, an object that has real-world origins, as well as a storied Indiana Jones history.

Indiana Jones 5: What is the Lance of Longinus?

The Lance of Longinus is said to have pierced the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross during his crucifixion. It’s also known as the Holy Lance, the Spear of Destiny, and the Holy Spear.

The Lance is mentioned in the Gospel of John, when a Roman soldier – named Longinus – stabs Jesus in the side to make sure he is dead.

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Indiana Jones finds the Lance early in the Dial of Destiny, while rescuing his friend Basil Shaw from Nazis. Though all might not be as it seems with this specific spear.

Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny

Dial of Destiny isn’t the first time the Lance of Longinus has appeared in an Indiana Jones story. Indeed, it very nearly popped up in the first film.

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Early drafts of Lawrence Kasdan’s Raiders of the Lost Ark script featured the Holy Lance in a plot-line that suggested it could decide the fate of those who possess it.

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Dark Horse Comics

That storyline was removed from the shooting script, but did turn up in a 1995 Dark Horse comic series, titled Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny. Over the course of four issues, Indiana Jones teams up with his dad Henry to stop the Nazis using the Lance to win the war in 1945.

But Lucasfilm doubtless had an eye on using the Spear in a future film, as author Rob MacGregor was prevented from including it in an Indy book. Speaking to El Recoveco Del Geek, MacGregor explained: “The other MacGuffin that comes to mind that was also nixed was the Spear of Destiny, the spear that fascinated Hitler and was the one that supposedly pierced the side of Christ and held magical properties.

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“I was intrigued with that MacGuffin and think it would’ve made a great Indy story. But I was told that I would be infringing on a copyright or some other related legal issue.”

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: