Short Round Was More Important To Indy Than Willie In Temple Of Doom

Although Willie Scott is Indiana Jones' love interest in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Short Round is far more important to the plot, and to Indy himself. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) is the second Indiana Jones film, but it's actually a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). It introduces the character of Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw), a nightclub singer who accidentally gets caught up in an adventure with world-renowned archeologist Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford). Temple of Doom also introduces Short Round, an orphan played by Ke Huy Quan in his first film role.


As Indy explains to Willie later in the movie, Short Round's family was killed in the bombing of Shanghai in 1931. Short Round (whose birth name is Wan Li, according to the novelization) was living on the street and attempted to pickpocket Dr. Jones, who caught him. By Temple of Doom, Short Round is eleven years old and adventuring with Indy.

Related: Indiana Jones 5 Owes Short Round Justice After Crystal Skull's Mistake

Considering Indiana Jones essentially adopts Short Round upon their first meeting, it's no surprise that they have a strong relationship, one that resembles father and son. Indiana's relationship with Willie Scott, on the other hand, is mostly non-existent. In one scene, she runs, partially naked, screaming through the jungle at various creatures. Meanwhile, Indy and Short Round argue over which one of them is cheating at cards. Indy ignores Willie the entire time, proving she just isn't that interesting to him. If Raiders of the Lost Ark is about the love story between Indiana and Marion Ravenwood, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is about the love story between Indiana and his father, the central love story of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is that of Indy and Short Round.

How Indy & Short Round's Friendship Impacted Temple Of Doom

short round and indiana jones in the temple of doom

Short Round is integral to Temple of Doom's plot, while Willie is more or less there by accident. Throughout the film, Short Round and Indy are focused on saving each other. While Indy is in a trance, Short Round is put to work by a cult. Indy is unable to save himself or Willie, who is put up for sacrifice, but Short Round escapes. Short Round manages to save Indy from the trance by burning him with a torch. He even says, "Indy, I love you," before hurting his friend. The scene is punctuated by Indy returning Short Round's New York Giants hat and Short Round returning Indiana Jones' iconic hat before they hug.

In an earlier scene, Short Round accidentally triggers a trap, locking him and Indy in a room with a slowly descending spiked ceiling. Indy actually has the opportunity to escape before one of the doors closes, but he realizes he wouldn't be able to get Short Round out too, so he stays behind. Meanwhile, Willie is barely able to pull a lever that saves them from the trap. In the climax of the Temple of Doom, Indy cuts the rope bridge they're standing on, but not before giving Short Round a heads-up. Shorty secures his grip and indicates to Willie to do the same. She does, but she is yelling the whole way through.

Despite the Indiana Jones franchise already showing Indy had met his match with Marion and didn't care much for Willie, Temple of Doom has him kiss the latter at the end. Ultimately, the writing of Willie is a sexist disservice to Capshaw and the character, making her just a pretty face, especially when compared to Karen Allen's well-rounded Marion. Short Round, though not lacking in Chinese stereotypes, is written much better than Willie, and Ke Huy Quan's performance seals the deal that Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom would not be the same without him.

Key Release Date

  • indiana jones 5 poster
    Indiana Jones 5
    Release Date: 2023-06-30