John Rhys-Davies says he would love to reprise his role as Sallah in Indiana Jones 5. The prolific Welsh actor is perhaps most well-known for playing the dwarf Gimli throughout Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but before he ventured across Middle-Earth, he partook in archaeological (and sometimes supernatural) adventures with Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones franchise, having appeared in two of the four installments thus far: Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade.
Rhys-Davies was originally contacted for Steven Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - only for a cameo, though, during the wedding scene at the end of the film - but he turned down the opportunity because he felt that his character deserved more. Now that Spielberg and Ford are gearing up to bring back Dr. Henry Jones Jr. for another adventure, Rhys-Davies says he would love the chance to get back on the horse alongside Indy and give his character some much-needed closure.
Yahoo! Movies UK caught up with Rhys-Davies at the BAFTA Cymru Awards ceremony this past weekend, and the actor revealed that he would "love to have one last crack at Sallah" in Indiana Jones 5. As for what the Egyptian excavator has been doing over these last few decades, Rhys-Davies says he would like to believe that Sallah had turned into some sort of museum and artifact protector, refusing to turn over priceless collections to invaders and robbers.
“What would have happened to Sallah? I like to think that he would have been somebody like Khaled al-Asaad – that marvelous 80-year-old man who was defending his museum in Palmyra and who hid its major treasures and refused to give them over to ISIS and was beheaded in the town square. I think that’s probably how I would have seen Sallah.”
Considering Sallah's history with Indy, as well as the fact that he was the finest excavator in Egypt, Rhys-Davies' personal story for the character actually falls in-line with what Sallah would have done after The Last Crusade. Unfortunately, though, the actor believes that the world has changed far too much since then and that the time for the character to return has long past.
“Sallah is the last Arab in popular, contemporary culture, that we regard as a hero. The world has changed, and that’s a tragedy for the West and for the Arab world. Perhaps there is no place for a Sallah anymore. Although I trust that my mention of Khaled al-Asaad just reminds people that they are not all iconoclasts and that there are heroes there – real heroes, too.”
Whether or not Rhys-Davies ends up reprising his role as Sallah one last time for Spielberg's Indiana Jones 5 remains to be seen. The script is currently being written by longtime Spielberg collaborator and Crystal Skull scribe David Koepp, so it's still possible that Sallah could be worked into the story somehow. After all, the film doesn't release until July 2020, so there's plenty of time to work out the kinks.
Source: Yahoo! Movies UK
- Indiana Jones 5 (2021) release date: Jul 09, 2021