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The Indiana Jones Fan Theory That Places It In The MCU

It's no secret that few expected 2008's "Iron Man" to become the smash success that it was, let alone lay the groundwork for a sprawling cinematic universe. Nevertheless, it exceeded everyone's expectations and then some, allowing the Marvel Cinematic Universe to take over the pop culture and the box office in the years to come. Within just over a decade, it has given numerous Marvel Comics mainstays the chance to make the transition to live-action on screens both big and small, and it stands to reason that numerous others will follow suit in Phase Four and beyond.

Given the sheer amount of Marvel Comics stories and characters ripe for adaptation, it's highly unlikely that the MCU will run out of source material to work from any time soon. Nevertheless, that hasn't stopped it from folding in other projects for a little bit of a boost. For instance, with the reemergence of Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), as well as Electro (Jamie Foxx) and Lizard (Rhys Ifans) in "Spider-Man: No Way Home," it's implied that the original "Spider-Man" trilogy from director Sam Raimi and the short-lived "Amazing Spider-Man" duology are loosely MCU canon.

Of course, these examples are still Marvel properties, so are there any non-superhero-based film series attached to the MCU? According to a fan theory, the "Indiana Jones" franchise fits the bill. Here's how.

Was Indiana Jones once a HYDRA operative?

This theory comes from the mind of Reddit user Arc_the_lad, who posits that Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) wasn't all that he seemed. "Indiana Jones was a mercenary employed by Hydra to be a guinea pig for its experimental super-soldier program and to recover ancient artifacts associated with supernatural power, particularly the Crystal Skull."

Still here? Great, let's break this down.

Their first piece of evidence comes from a line that Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) utters in "Captain America: The First Avenger," where he notes the Nazis had been "combing the desert" for "trinkets" per Adolf Hitler's command. One can interpret this as a nod to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," which feature both the Ark of the Covenant and the Holy Grail being discovered in the desert by Nazi forces. However, Red Skull downplays their power due to his superior knowledge of the occult and his ability to successfully wield the Tesseract.

As far as Indy himself goes, Arc_the_lad provides a list of reasons that explain why he was actually a bad guy and likely a mercenary. They then explain his ties to HYDRA before diving into the proof that he's a Super Soldier. He outran a massive boulder with relative ease, held onto a submarine as it traveled underwater for miles, held his own in hand-to-hand combat well into his retirement years, and miraculously didn't end up suffering the after-effects of an atomic bomb explosion. Not to mention, he's capable of pretty much everything that Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan) is thanks to his Winter Soldier training. Coincidence?

The original post goes into much more detail about the theory, as does the comment section, but these are the broad strokes of it all. Is it likely MCU canon? Almost certainly not, but the idea of Indiana Jones being a part of the Marvel universe sure is fun to think about .