This Is George Lucas' Tribute To Sean Connery

Sean Connery was, without a doubt, a cinematic legend. That's probably why he seemed immortal. Even though Connery had recently turned 90 years old, and despite the fact that he retired from film almost two decades ago, his mark on popular culture was so impactful — from the countless imitations of his accent, to his indelible influence on every James Bond actor who followed his lead — that it seemed impossible to imagine a world without him. 

And yet, here we are. On Saturday, October 31, it was publicly announced that Connery had died in his sleep, in the Bahamas, after an undisclosed period of sickness (later revealed to have been dementia). Not surprisingly, countless other 007 icons offered their tributes and condolences, from current Bond Daniel Craig to franchise producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli. 

Another touching tribute, though, has come from a man who had no connection to the 007 films — and that's George Lucas. While Lucas will likely go down in history as the mastermind behind the Star Wars universe, as he should, he was also the one who first created Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), originally named "Indiana Smith", back in 1973, and actually pitched it to a young Steven Spielberg — who, at that point, was interested in making a 007 film — as a character concept that was even "better than James Bond," (via BirthMoviesDeath). Together, the two created an iconic trilogy of adventure movies, reaching a peak so high that when the third film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, finally introduced the titular character's father, Henry Jones Sr., he was played by none other than the original Bond himself. 

Lucas, like so many others, has fond memories of working with Sean Connery. Here's what he said.

Lucas says that Connery 'left an indelible mark in cinematic history'

As reported by, Lucas had nothing but kind words to say about Connery's legacy, writing how, "Sir Sean Connery, through his talent and drive, left an indelible mark in cinematic history. His audiences spanned generations, each with favorite roles he played." 

Lucas also acknowledged that for him personally, of course, Connery would always hold "a special place in my heart" for his work in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. "With an air of intelligent authority and sly sense of comedic mischief, only someone like Sean Connery could render Indiana Jones immediately into boyish regret or relief through a stern fatherly chiding or rejoiceful hug. I'm thankful for having had the good fortune to have known and worked with him. My thoughts are with his family."

Reading Lucas' statement, it's hard not to reminisce on how perfectly Connery truly did embody the role of Henry Jones, Sr., with his unique charisma, while simultaneously fleshing out the backstory of the younger Jones to such a degree that one wishes Connery had somehow appeared in the preceding two films, as well. This does beg the question, though: Considering how well Connery, Lucas, and Spielberg got along, and the clear amount of fun that Connery had in the Indiana Jones universe, why didn't he come back for 2008's Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?

Why didn't Sean Connery come back for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull?

You have to admit, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was a movie that had its work cut out for it. Sure, it reunited the whole gang — up to and including Marion Ravenwood (Karen Allen) — but it's always hard to resurrect a series after a few decades have passed, no matter how beloved the previous films might be. One should expect that the upcoming Indiana Jones 5, if it ever comes out, will have similar mountains to climb.

One aspect of Crystal Skull that understandably disappointed fans, though, was the off-screen death of Connery's Henry Jones Sr., which is heavily implied through a photograph on his son's desk, but never actually explained. While it's easy to assume that the elder Jones simply died of natural causes, given his age, it still felt like a loss that Crystal Skull — which threw in just about every other piece of Jones lore imaginable — didn't at least feature a Connery cameo. What's the deal? 

Well, the first thing to understand is that by the time Crystal Skull was in production, Connery had retired — and according to all accounts, he loved retirement. Nonetheless, the thought of playing Henry Jones again did almost convince him to step back before cameras, as Connery wrote on his website (via the BBC) that, "If anything could have pulled me out of retirement, it would have been an Indiana Jones film." The reason it didn't, then, seems to have come down to creative disagreements that Connery had with Spielberg and Lucas when they discussed the possibility of his return, according to The Hollywood Reporter — namely, Connery wanted a bigger role. Connery even pitched the idea of a death scene for his character, but in the end, he felt that the film's storyline made it so that, in his words, "the father of Indy was kind of really not that important," and he didn't want to go through the stresses of film production for a mere bit part.

Nonetheless, it's clear from Lucas' statement that these conversations ended on good terms, with everybody still friends. And, if nothing else, Connery's role in The Last Crusade will always go down as one of the best parts of the series.