In Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, I thought it was insinuated that Dr. Jones, Sr., Indiana's father, had died.

If so, how is that possible? At the end of Last Crusade, we see Jr. give his dying father a drink from the cup of Christ which, in my mind, imparts upon him immortality. Obviously, I don't believe that the Grail was meant to protect the drinker from "unnatural" death (ie. being hit by a car or dying in a plane crash), but barring those situations, shouldn't Henry Jones, Sr. have been alive and kicking?

I could be completely wrong. I've honestly seen Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, like, maybe 1 1/2 times and I could have totally made up the part about Sr. being dead, but I really think there is a passing comment or some kind of insinuation (maybe even just camera work) that Senior is dead.

  • 5
    I assumed he read the script and faked his own death again
    – Valorum
    Aug 3, 2015 at 11:41

6 Answers 6


After Indy is forced from his university position, he sits at his desk and looks at two framed photographs, one of which is his father.

INDY: Brutal couple of years, huh Charlie? First Dad, then Marcus.

CHARLIE: We seem to have reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away.

It's never made clear how they died but the implication of death is plain enough.

As for the grail, the knight who guarded it said "But the grail cannot pass beyond the Great Seal. That is the boundary and the price of immortality." I took this to mean that you were immortal only so long as you didn't pass beyond the seal. Water from the grail healed Indy's father's injuries but did not make him immortal. Indy drank from the grail, but he too lost his immortality once he left the grail site.

  • I thought of this too, but then I wondered how it would have been possible for a 150-year-old Crusader to make the trip across the desert to France and survive. I mean, the Grail makes you immortal--it doesn't prevent you from getting old and frail. But I admit that this is the only answer that makes any kind of sense.
    – Meg Coates
    Oct 28, 2012 at 4:52
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    @MegCoates - if that crusader stayed within the seal for that time before heading to France, it would seem that he wouldn't have aged until that time. Both the Jones' only remain within the seal for a short time, so the longevity effects of the grail aren't all that apparent on their lives.
    – HorusKol
    Oct 28, 2012 at 4:57
  • @HorusKol: Yeah, but the one crusader we do see is OLD. Ok, he looks really good to be whatever his age is, but old nonetheless. Of course, he could have been old when he chose to remain. And, also, so you can only be immortal so long as you choose to remain with the Grail? Or all immortality contracts became null and void once what's-her-name took the Grail across the Great Seal? Or do we believe that once you drink from the Grail you become "part" of the Grail and are subject to the same constraints as the cup of Christ in order to maintain your immortality?
    – Meg Coates
    Oct 28, 2012 at 5:02
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    @MegCoates maybe he'd go out for a pint every so often? A thousand years of Saturday nights could add up to 50 accumulated years of life ;) must be pretty boring in the shrine
    – HorusKol
    Oct 28, 2012 at 6:51
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    @MegCoates I think it is never established how exactly the grail grants immortality, only that it does. We only see that it has the power to heal even mortal wounds. It could be that the grail does not grant immortality by just drinking once, but rather bestows tremendous regenerative powers on all cells in the body for a limited amount of time. Maybe that was the true reason why you could only be immortal within the seal, because you had to drink from the grail on a regular basis. It's just an idea I had but it would be a plausible explanation. And you could still age if you stopped drinking. Oct 29, 2012 at 15:12

The film's official novelisation offers the following info about his death.

He crossed to one of the bookshelves and pulled down a thick book. Heyerdahl’s treatise on Mesoamerican languages. Opening it, he stepped backward and sat in a seat. There was one other chair in the room. A leather wingback, as weathered as Indy’s jacket. It rested beside the hearth. It had been his father’s. Henry Jones Sr. And though it had been two years since his father had died, Indy still couldn’t get himself to sit in it.

It was still too full of the old man.

No specific indication is given as to what killed him, but I think we can assume illness rather than injury given that Jones Jr. is more solemn than traumatised.

In reality, the character was killed off because actor Sean Connery point-blank refused to even consider a cameo appearance.

"I get asked the question so often, I thought it best to make an announcement. I thought long and hard about it and if anything could have pulled me out of retirement it would have been an Indiana Jones film. I love working with Steven and George, and it goes without saying that it is an honor to have Harrison as my son. But in the end, retirement is just too damned much fun"

The Indiana Jones Cast Expands - Raidernet Press Release

  • That is a wonderful quote you found from Sean Connery.
    – Erik
    Mar 27, 2017 at 22:06

Drinking from the grail once does not grant immortality. It heals wounds and prolongs life, but you need to keep drinking from him it stay alive. This is a common way for the grail to work in folklore; it's not just in the movie.

Everything from the movies is consistent with this. We know that all three brother knights had extended lives, so they must have all drunk from the grail. However, the two who left the temple behind did eventually die; one of them is known from folklore (although we must recall Prof. Jones' warning about folklore from Raiders of the Lost Ark) to have died of extreme old age.

The knight who remains in the temple can continue to drink from the cup. So he continues to live until 1938. He says that the cup cannot cross the great seal at the entrance. That is the boundary of immortality, because to remain immortal, one needs to keep drinking from the grail inside the temple.


Sometimes it's hard to keep up with a franchise when it branches out from movies (or TV) into different forms of print media. Now days, the easiest thing to do is to do a search for a wiki on the franchise. In this case, I searched for "Indiana Jones Wiki" and found the wiki on the franchise.

In the entry for Henry Walton Jones, Sr, in a later section (Death and Legacy), it states:

Henry Jones died four years later in 1951, bemoaning that Indiana never settled down.[1] Indiana kept a photograph of him on the desk of his Bedford home in 1957.

The film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull takes place in 1957, so Henry Jones, Sr. would have been dead for six years at the time of the film.

As a point of interest, originally the plan was to include the character in this sequel, but Sean Connery had retired and was having too much fun with his golf game to want to do another movie, so Indy's teacher was brought in to fill that role.

  • So we're assuming this was either a) an oversight of the writers or b) Henry Jones, Sr. died in some tragic accident? Clearly he didn't die from extreme old age as was the case of one of the original knights.
    – Meg Coates
    Oct 28, 2012 at 4:05
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    Could you please quote the primary cite instead of unreliable Wikia? Thx Oct 28, 2012 at 12:47

In the movie they say that once the cup crosses the seal it is basically all destroyed and broken. Meaning no eternal life. He was able to heal his father before Elsa crossed it with the cup.

When the cup was taken and then crossed over the seal, it basically made the temple self-destruct as the dramatic scene of the knight waving goodbye plays out and that's when the 'invincibility spell' was broken.

So yes, Indiana Jones' father did die and no, he was not immortal.

Also the reason why the knight was there was to protect the Grail not necessarily to live forever... Because who would want to sit in a dark musty old grave for the rest of their life? (also in the movie they state that one knight still lives to protect the Grail)


It must have been an oversight, as Indy says to the knight in l.c. that was 700 years ago. This means that the knight is at least 730 years old. The knight tells Indy that the grail cannot pass the seal, never is insinuated or stated that immortality ends passed the seal, so in turn I would assume that Indiana and his father are both immortal unless as said prior that they would die unnaturally. So his father must've by all accounts died unnaturally, cancer or any disease causing death would be unnatural as it is not simply from your body wearing out and death of old age.

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