Over the past few years I’ve read and have heard people saying that Indiana Jones being in Raiders of The Lost Ark has no bearing on the outcome of the movie. They basically say the outcome of the movie would be the same if he wasn’t in it. Or that he only effects the story in somewhat minor ways. For example one change of him not being there is Marion would likely be killed either in Nepal at her bar or when the Ark is opened at the end of the movie. Going back and looking at certain scenes it seems like his presence does not change the course of the movie all that much. However there is one thing I’ve found that changes everything and makes his involvement important. This can be looked at from various angles.
When Indiana Jones is tasked with getting to the Ark before the Nazis do he leaves for Nepal to get the headpiece from the Staff of Ra. He boards a plane and Toth is revealed to be reading/hiding behind a Life magazine. This to me shows Toth and his men were following Indiana Jones. It also shows they don’t already know where the headpiece is. Right here Indiana’s involvement becomes important. If he is not critical to the story like many people say why did Toth feel the need to follow him? If he isn’t important Toth would have gone to Nepal on his own.
Also at the end of the movie if Indiana Jones wasn’t present then there would be nobody to bring the Ark back to the United States. Like I mentioned earlier Marion would have likely been killed in Nepal and if not there she would have been killed when the Ark is opened. Without Indy all of the Nazis would have been killed like they were but after that the Ark would just be left to sit on the island.
On the plus side if Indiana Jones wasn’t present we wouldn’t have gotten Shia LaBeouf in Kingdom of The Crystal Skull. 😉