George Lucas is a master storyteller. His creations have permeated every corner of the pop-culture landscape, and inspired countless other artists to fill Lucas’s creative cosmos with new stories, settings, and characters. Even before Disney took over Star Wars and created a new multi-media canon, the Star Wars Expanded Universe was an insanely popular well of content. But what about the Expanded Universe of Indiana Jones?
Though much smaller in scope than Star Wars, Indiana Jones is still a pretty epic property. The character has a timeless appeal, occupying a Lucasian adventure mythology that reaches far beyond the four movies most of us know and love. From comics and books to video games and television, the world of Indiana Jones is full of mystical artifacts, exotic locations, and daring cliffhangers that fans of the movies would be remiss not to explore. To get you off on the right foot, here are the 15 Best Indiana Jones Stories Outside The Movies.
15. Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine
In addition to great gameplay, this 1999 LucasArts puzzle/adventure game offers everything you’d expect from an Indiana Jones adventure. Set in 1947, the game sees Indy recruited by the CIA to track down a Soviet excavation in the ruins of Babylon. At the dig site, Indy discovers a plot by a Russian physicist to discover an ancient machine that opens up alternate dimensions. From here, Indy races both the Soviets and the CIA across the globe to retrieve the missing pieces of the “Infernal Machine” and come face to face with the mysterious Babylonian god Marduk.
Like most video games, Infernal Machine prioritizes gameplay over seamless story execution, but that doesn’t stop the title from exploring previously uncharted territory in the Indiana Jones franchise. Not only are the game’s mystical explorations incredibly original, it’s third-act subversion of the villain role is highly provocative. If you like retro gameplay and want to experience a truly unique Indiana Jones story, getting your hands on Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine is definitely a worthwhile quest.
14. Mystery of the Blues
15 years before Harrison Ford dusted off the fedora and leather jacket for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, he would briefly revisit Indiana Jones in George Lucas’s Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. In the 5th episode of the series, Indy takes a quiet moment while on the run in Wyoming to recount an adventure from his past. In the year 1920, young Indy is at the University of Chicago, where he learns about Jazz from Sidney Bechet (as played by a young Jeffrey Wright), becomes involved in a murder investigation, and meets a young Al Capone. Naturally.
One of the great things about The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles is that the show had the freedom to tell both large and small-scale stories. Many of the adventures from Indy’s formative years were small in scope, but big in emotional resonance. “Mystery of the Blues” isn’t necessarily a hugely impactful story on Indy’s future, but it does offer a chance to see the character in a setting that’s creative as well as historical. Plus, the Harrison Ford cameo is just too fun to pass up.