“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” released in 2008, gave Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones a son named Mutt Williams, played by Shia LaBeouf. The character, a ’50s-style greaser, was Indiana’s only child with Marion Ravenwood (his love interest in 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark”), though Indiana doesn’t find out about him until the events of the film. At the end of “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” (the last film of the franchise to be directed by Steven Spielberg), Marion and Indiana marry.
But “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” didn’t find a home with fans, and many complained about the inclusion of Mutt. Mutt does not appear in the new (and final) film, this June’s “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” — but Indiana does explain what happened to his son and why he’s not around. Ahead, we’re breaking down Mutt’s final fate and why the character and LaBeouf didn’t return to the franchise.
What Happened to Mutt Williams in “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny?”
“Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny” is set in 1969 — 12 years after “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which took place in 1957. Indiana reveals that he and Marion are divorced, and part of the reason why is because they could not handle Mutt’s death. Mutt, it turns out, enlisted in the army to impress his dad and ended up dying in combat. Based on the dates, Mutt would have fought and died at some point during the Vietnam War.
Why Isn’t Shia LaBeouf’s Mutt Williams in “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny?”
The movie’s director James Mangold told Variety earlier in June, “I think the point I had was that when I came on, I wanted to capture that wonderful energy between Indy and an intrepid female character.” He explained, “So that was my first goal, and there’s only so many people you can edge into a picture.” Mutt didn’t make the cut.
LaBeouf himself was also critical of the character and “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” “I feel like I dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2010. “You get to monkey-swinging and things like that and you can blame it on the writer and you can blame it on Steven [Spielberg]. But the actor’s job is to make it come alive and make it work, and I couldn’t do it. So that’s my fault. Simple,” he explained, adding that he and Ford had “major discussions” about why it didn’t work. “He wasn’t happy with it either,” he said. “Look, the movie could have been updated. There was a reason it wasn’t universally accepted.” (Ford said a year later that he told LaBeouf he was a ” f*cking idiot” for bad-mouthing the film, per Today.)
In a 2016 article with Variety, LaBeouf was even more negative about his time working with Spielberg, saying in part, “I don’t like the movies that I made with Spielberg.” He added that it “hurt bad” to feel like he was blamed for “The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” which still grossed close to $800 million despite negative reactions. Though Spielberg did not direct “Dial of Destiny,” he was an executive producer on the project.
Screenwriter David Koepp confirmed for the first time back in 2017 that Mutt and LaBeouf would not be in the new film, telling Entertainment Weekly, “The Shia LaBeouf character is not in the film.”
In 2021, singer FKA Twigs sued LaBeouf for alleged abuse during their relationship. In part, she accused the actor of physically assaulting her and verbally berating her, per the New York Times. In 2022, LaBeouf said during a podcast interview, “I hurt that woman. And in the process of doing that, I hurt many other people, and many other people before that woman,” per Variety. He did not mention Twigs by name. This past February, Insider reported the trial had been delayed until November 2023.