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Beware of unmarked spoilers. You Have Been Warned.
Wilhelmina "Willie" Scott
An American singer who worked at Club Obi Wan in Shanghai, she ends up getting caught in Indy's adventures through China and India, and soon falls in love with him.
- Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: Willie during the entire scene where Indy bursts into her room to look for the secret entrance to Kali's temple. "I'm right here!"
- Brainless Beauty: Willie is pretty but she has nothing between her ears. She thinks archaeologists search for 'mommies' (mummies) and doesn't seem able to grasp the idea of cremation ("this Nurhachi's a real small guy").
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Interviews with Spielberg indicate she was meant to be this trope. Unfortunately, she didn't come off this way to most viewers.
- Diamonds in the Buff:Indy: You wear your jewelry to bed, princess?Willie: Yes. And nothing else.
- Distressed Damsel: To the point where most fans consider her a Damsel Scrappy.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Spends the whole second part of the movie barefoot. Even at the end, where she is again dressed in Western clothes, she appears not to wear any shoes.
- '80s Hair: Willie's hairstyle is half a century ahead of its time.
- Hate Sink: Willie Scott is considered one of the most hated film characters ever. Her Gold Digger Jerkass attitude, her constant complaining about not having luxuries, being a Brainless Beauty, blaming Indy for all her troubles throughout the film at the end (though he does share some responsibility for it) and doing little to nothing productive or relevant to the plot has made her extremely unpopular with many Indiana Jones fans. Unlike other characters who act as The Load (such as Brody and Henry Sr.), who at least have a pleasant personality or help contribute to the plot, she does neither of those things.
- Jerkass: Nine times out of ten, she's abrasive to Indy and Short Round. She's not entirely irredeemable, but is mostly unpleasant.
- Large Ham: A lot. She's certainly enjoing herself.
- The Load: Gets herself continually captured and in danger.
- Meaningful Name: Apparently, her name is derived from the "Wilhelm Scream". She's also named after Steven Spielberg's pet dog, much like how George Lucas had named Indy after his pet dog.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: She's originally from Missouri, and the drawl tends to slip back in when she gets really mad.
- Screaming Woman: And how. Kate Capshaw said it was not her specialty, and she even had to learn how to shriek properly.
- Skewed Priorities: A firefight has erupted in a large crowded room with you right in the middle, but sure just focus on chasing down that large diamond instead of getting to safety. And just because you end up in a car that's getting shot at not long after doesn't mean you can't be more concerned that you've just chipped one of your nails. At least she gets better at this by the end.
- Another instance is when Indy and Short Round are about to be crushed by a trap. Willie not only takes her dear sweet time, she becomes more concerned about a broken nail rather than the fact that two people are about to die! (To be fair, she didn't outright know they were in fatal danger when she started complaining.)
- Spoiled Brat: Is always complaining about the luxuries she can't have in the middle of the jungle.
- Took a Level in Badass: It was gradual, but she rescued Indy and Short round from a spike trap. She also punched out a guy clinging to their mine cart and slowly but surely took on a Mama Bear attitude towards Short Round.
- Well, Excuse Me, Princess!: Indy is forced to reply to her in that way.
- You Can Keep Her: Needless to say, Indy's threat didn't exactly work.
Wan Li (AKA Short Round)
An 12-year-old Chinese boy who works as a taxi driver in Shanghai, he ends up following Indy and Willie to British India.
- Asian Speekee Engrish: Short Round regularly leaves out "to be" verbs and ignores noun/verb agreement.
- Badass Adorable: A kid who manages to get past vast amounts of armed mooks.
- Bratty Half-Pint: He has a lot of the traits associated with this trope, although he also makes himself more useful than is usual for this character archetype.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Whatever happened to him? He is never seen or mentioned after Temple of Doom.
- Honor Before Reason: Goes back to save Indy even though he had a good opportunity to escape.
- I Know Karate: Northern-Style Kung Fu, actually. Ask the Thuggee guards whose arses he kicked.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: At times a little insufferable, Short Round's still loyal to Indy and a heroic character.
- Kid Sidekick: He tags along with Indy on his adventures and contributes his skills. He's twelve years old.
- No Indoor Voice: He tends to shout.
- Recruited from the Gutter: Indy relates how he first met him when "Shorty" was a street orphan trying to pick his pocket. Short Round's loyalty saves him from "the black sleep of Kali Ma" later in the film.
A Chinese archaeologist and a friend of Indy, who accompanies him during his confrontation with Lao Che at Club Obi Wan.
Zalim Singh, the Maharajah of Pankot
A 13-year-old king who rules the princely state of Pankot in British India.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Zalim is thirteen years old, yet he is the ruler of Pankot.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Maharajah of Pankot is called 'Zalim' which means evil in Hindi. Fitting, as he is a bad guy. But only because his second-in-command was feeding him mind-control juice.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: He has been put under the Black Sleep by Mola Ram. Luckily, Short Round snaps him out of it.
- Creepy Child: He enjoyed torturing Indy with a voodoo doll when he is under the Black Sleep.
- It's Personal: He became furious when Short Round kicked him to stop him from torturing Indy, and personally whipped him.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Zalim Singh, the underage Maharajá, assists Short Round once his brainwashing has been eradicated.
Captain Phillip James Blumburtt
A British Indian Army officer stationed near Pankot. His troops end up battling the Thuggee cult during the climax.
A Chinese gangster who owns the Club Obi Wan in Shanghai. He meets with Indy to bargain over the ashes of the Qing dynasty emperor Nurhaci, but Lao's treachery soon leads to the two men trying to kill each other.
- Carrying the Antidote: Lao Che is at least chivalrous enough to swindle and poison Indiana in a reversible way.
- The Don: The Chinese version of this.
- Karma Houdini: He tries to murder Indy and cheats him yet he got off scot-free. After murdering one of his friends.
- Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Conducts his business out of his own Club Obi Wan.
- No Honor Among Thieves: He'd rather have Indy near-fatally poisoned instead of honoring their deal.
- Outliving One's Offspring: The two men accompanying him at the table are his sons Kao Kan and Chen. Chen is killed when Indy throws a skewer into his abdomen.
- Starter Villain: He's the biggest threat to Indy in the first act, and disappears afterward.
- The Triads and the Tongs: He's a powerful Shanghai mob boss.
- What Could Have Been: His character was enough of a fan favorite for Spielberg to consider bringing him back for a sequel, even possibly making him the antagonist of what would become Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Sadly, any plans for the character's return were quashed when Roy Chiao died in 1999.
Chattar Lal, the Prime Minister of Pankot
Maharajah Singh's top royal advisor in Pankot, who is secretly working for the Thuggee cult (after presumably being brainwashed by them).
- Brainwashed: It is most likely that he was one of the victims of the Black Sleep of Kali.
- Evil All Along: Chattar appears friendly to the heroes when they first step into Pankot Palace, but he is later seen supporting the Thuggee cult.
- Evil Chancellor: The Prime Minister of Pankot is in cahoots with the Thuggee.
- Majored in Western Hypocrisy: Chattar Lal, prime minister to the Maharaja of Pankot, attended Oxford.
- Uncertain Doom: The last we see of Chattar Lal, he gets stuck under the wheel in the sacrificial chamber and then crawled away but his fate is unclear. Originally he was planned to suffer a Disney Villain Death.
The leader of the Thuggees, an evil cult that commits human sacrifices for the Hindu goddess Kali. He has kidnapped an entire village's worth of children to use them as slave miners in his search for the legendary Sankara Stones.
- Badass Boast: "The British in India will be slaughtered. Then we will overrun the Muslims. Then the Hebrew God will fall. And then the Christian God will be cast down and forgotten. Soon, Kali-ma will RULE THE WORLD!!"
- Bad Boss: Expends his men with the angst of spending ammunition, as shown by him casually dropping a mook down to his death to knock Indy into the mouths of the crocodiles.
- Bald of Evil: He wears an animal skull for his rituals, but has not a hair on his head save for his eyebrows.
- Beat Still, My Heart: See the page picture. Possibly the most famous example of this trope.
- Big Bad: Of the second film, since the cult is responsible for the children disappearing.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The shooting script and novelization had Mola Ram have the same confused and bewildered, snapping-out-of-brainwashing reaction as everyone else that was mind-controlled after handling the glowing stone. In those versions he looks confused and terrified for a second, then falls to the crocodiles. The final film is more ambiguous, as he merely looks puzzled and confused.
- Disney Villain Death: Tries to catch one of the red-hot Sankara Stones with one hand while hanging onto the cut bridge with the other, and ends up falling to the crocodiles.
- Evil Laugh: Has a somewhat dark and deep laugh.
- Evil Sorcerer: He's using supernatural abilities on a few occasions, like when holding the sacrificial victim alive after ripping his heart out.
- Faux Affably Evil: When Indy is captured by the cultists, Mola Ram is quite lighthearted, with big, creepy smiles and a mellow voice... his laugh is quite off-putting, as well.
- The Fundamentalist: He is a devout follower of Kali (who is basically the God of Evil in this movie's theology) and everything he does is supposedly to make her more powerful so she can Take Over the World.
- Horns of Villainy: His ritual headdress includes a pair of large, curled horns to ramp up the evil factor.
- Knight of Cerebus: Mola Ram might just be the most evil character throughout the whole franchise.
- Large Ham: "Drop them, DOCTOR JONES! They will be found... YOU WON'T!"
- His introductory scene has him holding up a man's flaming heart while laughing maniacally as said man plummets into a pit of lava, establishing that Ram is a man who loves his job.
- Orcus on His Throne: Mostly content to wait and lead the operation from the temple.
- Religion Is Magic: Either his religion grants him the power to rip someone's heart out without them dying, or it allows him to create the illusion that this is happening for anyone who sees the act.
- Religion of Evil: How Kali-Ma is presented in the film, and he's at the head of it.
- Slasher Smile: He does several of these, one notable example would be when he sees◊ the brainwashed Maharajah.
- We Have Reserves: Pushing his own men to their deaths, hoping their falling bodies will knock Indy from the rope bridge.
- Would Hurt a Child: Child slaves are ideal for mining mountains for magic rocks. Small hands, y'see.
Thuggee Chief Guard
An unnamed Thuggee henchman who gets in a fistfight with Indy, though it doesn't end well for the former.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Prior to his death, he hysterically begs for help from the same man he was brutally trying to murder for the last three minutes.
- Brownface: Caucasian English actor Pat Roach is coated in makeup to appear Indian for this role.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: He gets his sash caught in a rock crusher and then gets dragged, feet-first, into it slowly all while begging for Indy to save him. Indy even tries to save the guy, but to no avail. Then the film cuts to above the crusher and we see a smear of blood on it. At this point, no one could blame Willie for looking away.
- Giant Mook: Similarly to the German Mechanic from the previous film, he's a big guy. They're even both played by the exact same actor.
- The Brute: The commander of Mola Ram's Thuggee guards. In addition to being big and strong, he is a violent and merciless man who enjoys beating children.
- The Dragon: The commander of the Thuggee guards appears to be this to Mola Ram.
- Would Hurt a Child: The first time we see him, he is using a whip on a child who collapsed in the mines.