The Remains of Nurhaci in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (film still from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom may not be the strongest film in the series, but it opens with a fine song-and-dance number, followed by an equally well choreographed shoot-out in a Chinese nightclub. What’s being fought over are the earthly remains—such as they are—of the Chinese emperor Nurhaci.

Born in 1559, Nurhaci began his career as leader of one of the many Manchu tribes, though he quickly consolidated his power, unifying the tribes and founding the Later Jin dynasty in 1616.

He also led a rebellion against the reigning Ming dynasty. This would turn out to be a long war: it was under his grandson that the dynasty Nurhaci had founded (now renamed the Qing dynasty) would finally rule China. The Qing dynasty would continue to govern into the twentieth century, when it was finally replaced by the Republic of China following the Xinhai Revolution of 1911.

With such an illustrious history, it’s surprising that he accepted such a—ahem—small part in Temple of Doom.

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