Not Even James Mangold Noticed Indiana Jones 5’s Wild Disney Animation Deep Cut

Not Even James Mangold Noticed Indiana Jones 5’s Wild Disney Animation Deep Cut

So I’m watching Oliver and Company, the 1988 Disney animated film featuring the voices of Billy Joel and Bette Midler, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. As Oliver, Dodger, and the crew are being chased through New York City, they head into the subway and jump on the tracks. “This reminds me of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” I thought. Minutes later, the credits rolled and I saw the following words: “Animation Screenplay – James Mangold.”

James Mangold, the director of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, worked on a movie 35 years prior that had an action sequence that was almost exactly the same. Surely, this couldn’t be a coincidence. Surely, Mangold’s dream was to one day remake this scene in live-action, and decades later, Indiana Jones allowed him to do so.

Unfortunately, that was not the case. Speaking to Mangold on the occasion of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny streaming on Disney+ and being available on 4K Blu-ray, we were able to ask him about this and, well…

“[Oliver and Company] wasn’t an inspiration for this, but I’m kind of perpetually obsessed with New York because I grew up there,” the director told io9 over video chat. “But the idea of having our characters on in the subway tunnels of New York, which is such a unique and iconic part of New York, I don’t know if it was mine or not. It was just obvious that we needed to do it because we had never seen it before.”

Actually, Mangold never even made the connection between the movies until we brought it up. He had another inspiration in mind for the horse scenes in Dial of Destiny. “When I was first telling Steven [Spielberg] about this idea in the first act where Indy rides a horse down the subway tunnels of New York out distancing trains, what I told Steven I was thinking of was this great ‘70s series, which he well-remembered, called McCloud with Dennis Weaver who was in Duel,” Mangold said. “And Dennis Weaver was like a Texas sheriff, if I remember right, who comes to New York on some kind of work exchange or something and ends up commandeering horses and galloping around. That show was incredibly formative for me. I was probably 14 or 13 when it was on TV and it affected this movie. I certainly think it’s why I wrote the sequence [in Kate and Leopold] of Hugh Jackman riding horses through Central Park catching muggers. I was always fascinated by that contrast of the hero of the Old West in the middle of a concrete jungle.”

And so: no. My theory was not accurate. Disney’s Oliver and Company did not actually play a part in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. But, Mangold admitted, he couldn’t 100% say for sure. “You’re right that filmmakers have a bag of tricks that we may not even be conscious of and we may be reaching into,” he said. “I could be reaching into the same bag more than once. That’s certainly a fair observation.”

We’ll have even more from Mangold later this week as we discuss the reception to Dial of Destiny, his future with Star Wars and more. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is now streaming on Disney+.

Want more entertainment news? Check out when to expect the latest MarvelStar Wars, and DC releaseswhat’s coming to cinemas in Australia this year, and everything streaming this month across all platforms. Check out our dedicated Entertainment tab for more.