Ke Huy Quan is in the middle of a massive comeback. The former child actor played significant roles in iconic movies like Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies before transitioning into film production at the end of the '90s. That's where he stayed for two decades, until Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan cast him as Waymond Wang, a major role in their gonzo sci-fi family drama Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Quan has returned to the spotlight following the critical acclaim to that turn and this week gave a moving speech at the Golden Globes after winning Best Supporting Actor. In that speech, he thanked Steven Spielberg for giving him his first opportunity in Temple of Doom, and back in September, he had a similarly heartwarming photo opp with Harrison Ford at D23 Expo. EEAAO has reignited Quan's career, and after years of work behind-the-scenes, he now has upcoming roles in Loki, American Born Chinese, and the Russo Brothers' next film, The Electric State.
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Unfortunately, it seems this resurgence came a little too late for Quan to appear in James Mangold's upcoming lega-sequel, Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny. That's fine. Every continuation of an existing property doesn't need to bring every cast member who ever acted in it back. One of the reasons I loved Andor, for example, was how little that show seemed interested in cameos and callbacks and instead focused on its own corner of the Star Wars universe.
It's often exciting to see a performer who has labored in relative obscurity given their flowers in a major production. After spending most of his career primarily as a voice actor, it was exhilarating to see Mark Hamill return to the role that made him famous, after decades honing his craft. Similarly, Karen Allen's return in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull after decades in less notable parts was maybe the best thing about that movie.
Though it's too late for Ke Huy Quan to return for Dial of Destiny, it would be wonderful to see him play a role in MachineGames' upcoming Indiana Jones game. At this point, we know very little about what that game will be. The trailer, revealed in early 2021, seemed to exist exclusively to say "MachineGames and Lucasfilm are making an Indiana Jones game," with the camera panning over Indie's desk to reveal a leatherbound journal, important-looking documents, a passport, a coffee cup, a ticket to Rome, a pocket watch, a typewriter, and a camera with film, before ending on his iconic fedora and bullwhip.
But, that ticket did reveal some information about when the game will likely be set; the date of the flight is marked as Oct. 21, 1937. That's one year after the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark and a year before Last Crusade. Temple of Doom is a prequel, set in 1935, so, at this point, Indie already knows Short Round and, chronologically, it's possible that the story could feature him. That said, Ke Huy Quan is 51 now. He doesn't sound like a 10-year-old kid.
But MachineGames could include Ke Huy Quan in a different voice role. The studio's Wolfenstein games have some of the most thoughtful storytelling I've seen in triple-A gaming. In Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, B.J. Blazkowicz spent his time between missions on Eva's Hammer, a stolen Nazi U-boat, where B.J. could hang out with fellow members of the resistance. This character writing was quite strong and it's easy to imagine MachineGames' Indiana Jones game placing a similar focus on the characters around the titular archaeologist. Ke Huy Quan playing one of these characters could be a wonderful full circle moment.
Regardless of where he ends up next, it's been heartening to see Quan's return to the spotlight. Indiana Jones still seems to mean a lot to him, so it would be exciting to see him return to the franchise, too.