So, its common knowledge that there are some gaping plot holes in the “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” the first Indiana Jones movie. One is, how did Indiana Jones know how to close his eyes when the Nazis opened the Ark? Another is, how did he escape the island when all the Nazis died in the ensuing ghost melting party? The most famous one is concerns how Indiana Jones got to that island in the first place. We swim him swim to the submarine, climb on top of it, then the film wipes to the dock the Nazis land in, and Indiana Jones looks really wet. How in hell did he manage this? Wasn’t the submarine closed? Wouldn’t someone notice if he climbed in? Well, according to the original script, Indiana uses his whip to lash himself onto the periscope and sort of surfs along somehow. Here is an image with a tiny Indiana Jones model mounted on top of the periscope of the submarine.
The sheer lunacy of this stunt was cut from the final movie, and most people never noticed how Indy made it to the secret Nazi island. However, it was during the close examination of this scene last night, where I made a startling discovery. When Indiana Jones swims to the submarine, he no longer has his trade marked fedora. I made sure to rewind and fast forward a bunch of times, but sure enough, by the time Indiana gets to the secret island, he has no hat. Then he jumps a Nazi guard, steals his uniform, and definitely has no hat. Where is the hat? It’s gone! But wait, isn’t Indiana never supposed to lose his hat? They make a point of it in each succeeding movie. As you know, the opening of “The Last Crusade” is dedicated as the origin story of how young Indiana Jones got the hat in the first place. Hold up, you’re saying, isn’t Indiana Jones wearing his hat at the end of Raiders? Surely he must have retrieved it from that boat with all the Jamaican dudes, right? Actually, if you look closely, that is a different hat, his gray fedora; the hat he uses to wear when he travels.
Holy shit. There is very little discussion on this matter on the internet, but luckily I found one that attempts to explain what happened to his goddamned hat; his lucky iconic hat, the hat he is NEVER supposed to lose. According to the “internets,” in the original script, it basically says, ‘when Indy boards the submarine, he “loses his hat once and for all.”‘ In the novelization of the movie, Indy even comments on the fact saying, “Finding the ark cost me my favorite hat.” Then he laughs…! Now obviously, after “Raiders” debuted as a smash success, iconography was created, sequels were lined up, and hat mania swept the world. The conveniently missing hat would never be missing again, and like “Last Crusade” depicts, Indiana would never lose the hat his whole life. According to further novelization, Indiana would have the hat repaired and reblocked countless times, as a simple felt fedora would never be able to survive the destruction and mayhem Indiana exposed it to. So, is it a conspiracy? Does Indiana have a closet full of replacement hats, but acts like he never lost the original to prove his hat keeping badassery? No, there is a much more boring word for the case of Indiana’s missing hat, retcon.