- Awesome, Dear Boy: While he would later come to regret it, Shia LaBeouf was so excited to be in a new Indiana Jones movie (to the point of not being able to speak for a solid minute, by his own admission) that he accepted the offer without reading the script or even knowing what character he'd be playing. There's also Cate Blanchett, who accepted the role of Irina Spalko because she wanted to play a villain, and came up with many of Spalko's traits (like the bob haircut) herself.
- Banned In China: Subverted in Russia. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation tried to get it banned, but failed.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: A lot of people as of late seem to remember Indy saying In your dreams, kid to Mutt when hes about to put on Indys hat at the end, but he never says the line. See Justin Whangs video for more info.
- California Doubling: This is the only Indiana Jones film to be shot entirely in the United States. As in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Hawaii doubles for the jungles of South America, although this time they filmed on the Big Island rather than Kauai. Additionally, New Mexico doubles for Nevada.
- The Character Died with Him: Marcus Brody did not appear in the film due to Denholm Elliott's death in 1992. A statue honoring Brody, on the Marshall College's grounds, is shown, and the character's death was written into the movie with the death of the actor. Indy also has a picture of him on his desk, showing Brody during Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (in a moment when he was lost so how the picture was taken is a bit of a mystery).
- Creator Backlash:
- A little while after it came out, Shia LaBeouf opened up about his feelings on the film, expressing disappointment with it, saying he felt like he "dropped the ball on the legacy that people loved and cherished." The statement would later damage his relationship with Spielberg, who told him, "There's a time to be a human being and have an opinion, and there's a time to sell cars."
- Hal Barwood, designer and writer of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, opined that he isn't a particular fan of Crystal Skull because he thinks that the story isn't coherent and that incidents like a sword fight while riding a truck through the jungle seemed way over-the-top.
- Development Gag: Not for the film itself, so much as one Spielberg produced thirty years earlier. The original time machine in Back to the Future was converted from a used refrigerator, which Doc Brown would take to an A-Bomb test, letting the bomb's effects send Marty back to his rightful time. However, Spielberg was uncomfortable with the idea, concerned that kids might climb into abandoned fridges to play-act the scene, and so asked Robert Zemeckis to find a different approach, which he did once it proved too expensive to pull off. However, no good idea goes unpunished, as guess what iconic scene occurs in this movie?note
- Hide Your Pregnancy: Cate Blanchett was actually three months pregnant by the time she finished filming, which make her fencing on moving vehicle stunts even more impressive. Mostly averted as she clearly doesn't look pregnant at any point during the movie.
- Saved from Development Hell: It took 19 years for the film to be released, mainly because it took that long for Lucas, Spielberg and Ford to find a script they liked.
- Sequel Gap: Came out 19 years after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- Technology Marches On: Somewhat inverted; to better match the previous three movies, this movie was filmed rather that shot digitally.
- What Could Have Been:
- During the film's decades-long Development Hell, both Roy Chiao (Lao Che) and Ric Young (Kao Kan) from Temple of Doom expressed interest in returning to the series, with Spielberg even considering making them the main antagonists. Those plans were quashed when Chiao died in 1999.
- Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman, Gemma Arterton, Michelle Yeoh, and Virginia Madsen were considered for the role of Irina Spalko before Cate Blanchett was cast.
- John Rhys-Davies opted out of returning for a quick cameo as Sallah for the wedding scene between Indy and Marion at the end. As he tells the Onion AV Club:Davies: I guess it wouldve been rather sweet to be in that last little thing, and they did offer to bring a camera crew to me in order to film a bit of blue screen where you wouldve seen me clapping for the happy couple. But thats all it wouldve been. I dont know, I suppose I felt as though it wouldve cheated the audience just a little bit. I like to think the audience has some fondness for Sallah, and just to give him an appearance as brief as all that, a quick cutaway well, that's sort of short-selling him, isn't it, really?"
- Henry Jones, Sr. was supposed to have a small role in the film, but Sean Connery declined to return, quipping, "Retirement is too enjoyable." His character died between films as a result.
- John Hurt's character was originally meant to be an aged, slightly off-his-kilter Henry Jones Sr., but Hurt himself didn't like the idea of "stealing" Sean Connery's character, and he was re-written as Oxley. Of note is that virtually nothing was changed, they just name swapped him.
- Early script treatments from The '90s supposedly had Indy communicate frequently with the alien, who would have had a name and a backstory.
- In one of the treatments, Indy has a daughter instead of a son, which lines up with the original version of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles before they were edited to remove all the "present-day Old Indy" scenes.
Trivia / Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull