Raiders of the Lost Ark: Karen Allen Talks Marion's Independence

There are numerous female companions Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) came across upon his adventures, but the only one who got a second adventure in the George Lucas' film franchise was Marion Ravenwood, played by Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). The actress spoke to Cinema Blend to promote the upcoming 4K Ultra HD package release of the first four films of the franchise to mark the 40th anniversary of Raiders.

Raiders of the Lost Ark: Karen Allen Talks Marion's Independence
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Upon meeting Marion, she was a bar owner in Nepal, the daughter of a renowned scholar Jones seeks in his quest to seek the Ark of the Covenant. The first scene establishes her as tough as nails out, drinking the locals shot-by-shot. After an encounter with Nazis burned her bar down, she joins him on his journey. Working with screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and director Steven Spielberg, Allen wanted to make sure her damsel stayed strong. "Along the way, there were some places where the script sort of tipped Marion into the old 'damsel in distress' version of a female character," she said. "I was very much fighting for her to have a consistent strength… I don't think you can create a scene like that in The Raven bar and then suddenly make someone go, 'Ooooh, help!' you know? [laughs] It doesn't really work, so I wanted to keep her strong and resourceful and keep her a woman who had something and reached out for a solution in every situation as opposed to going, 'Oh my god, I can't handle this,' or, 'I can't do this.'"

Karen Allen
Karen Allen arrives for the Film Independent Spirit Awards 2020 on February 08, 2020, in Santa Monica, CA. Editorial credit: DFree /

While Marion was captured late in the film, she more than held her own during the chase scene throughout town, taking out her share of henchman using her wit and resourcefulness. Allen ended up returning in the fourth adventure revealing to Indy that he's the father of her son Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf). Marion's role was more diminished physically as the more demanding scenes were given to LaBeouf alongside Ford. Whether Allen has any role in the upcoming fifth film of the franchise directed by James Mangold remains to be seen. The Indiana Jones 4-Movie 4K Ultra HD Collection is now available.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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