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The Terrible Name Indiana Jones Almost Had

Since the character's debut in 1981, Indiana Jones has been a household name. The iconic character created by George Lucas and played by Harrison Ford has been around for so long that it is almost hard to imagine a world without him, or a world where he's different in any way. Shockingly, however, the Indiana Jones we know could have been very different had Lucas made any number of decisions differently along the way.

One of these seemingly simple decisions may have made all the difference. After all, does anything really roll off of the tongue as well as "Indiana Jones?" Evidently, George Lucas (along with the rest of the world) did not think so when push came to shove. Even so, Lucas considered a different name for a brief period of time during the earliest days of the film's production. Here's the name that Indiana Jones very nearly had... until, luckily, a change was made.

How Indiana dropped Smith for Jones

It's true — this iconic hero almost had a different name, but in the end, Indiana Smith just doesn't sit right. However, it seems as if Indiana Jones' writers weren't overly-concerned with the difference. During one of the early Story Conferences between Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Larry Kasden for "Raiders of the Lost Ark," (of which there is a full transcript available online) Lucas switches between the two without giving it much thought.

During the meeting, Lucas fills in Spielberg and Kasden on the character's basics — he's a dashing rogue, capable with weapons, and has a way with women, a typical western hero lying somewhere between the realms of Clint Eastwood and James Bond. He also dives into the specifics of the plot before Kasden asks a natural question: "Do you have a name for this person?"

Always prepared, Lucas rattles off the name "Indiana Smith," calling it "unique" and "Americana square." However, he quickly changes his answer when Kasden suggests Indy as a nickname. Lucas agreed with the idea, also suggesting (somewhat out of the blue) that he could also be called "Jones." From then on, it seems, Jones became the character's official surname... and the rest is history.