Real-life ‘Indiana Jones’ sues Lucasfilm over alleged ‘Crystal Skull’ theft

Dr Jaime Awe files lawsuit against production company on behalf of the people of Belize

A real-life Indiana Jones is suing Lucasfilm for using a Crystal Skull artefact in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Dr Jaime Awe has filed a lawsuit against the production company behind the 2009 movie at an Illinois federal court on behalf of the people of Belize, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The archaeologist is demanding the return of the Crystal Skull from a treasure-hunting family that allegedly stole the prized artefact from Belize 88 years ago. The lawsuit targets Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Co and Paramount Pictures for using a replica “likeness” of the skull and profiting from it with the film.

There are currently four known Crystal Skulls in the world, and three of them are on display in museums. The fourth skull was allegedly stolen from Belize by adventurer F.A. Mitchell-Hedge, and is said to remain in the family today.

While the fourth Indiana Jones movie makes reference to the F.A Mitchell-Hedge skull, it also states that the skull is found in Peru and is of “unspecified Native American heritage”.

“Lucasfilm never sought, nor was given permission to utilize the Mitchell-Hedges Skull or its likeness in the film,” claims Dr Awe. “To date, Belize has not participated in any of the profits derived from the sale of the Film or the rights thereto.” Dr Awe has also filed a lawsuit against the Mitchell-Hedge family.

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull paired lead actor Harrison Ford with Shia LaBeouf. The film was a hit at the box office, grossing over $786 million (£482 million) worldwide.