LEGO releases official statement on Indiana Jones 77014 The Temple of Doom

The LEGO Group has published an official statement on 77014 The Temple of Doom, the leaked – and rumoured to be cancelled – fourth Indiana Jones set.

While the LEGO Group has today unveiled three Indiana Jones sets based on Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade, we also know that a product anchored around The Temple of Doom was also on the cards at one stage. A leaked image of the model has been circulating on social media for the past few weeks, revealing it as a successor to 2009’s 7199 The Temple of Doom, complete with Indy, Willie, Short Round and Mola Ram minifigures.

Given the other three sets – 77012 Fighter Plane Chase, 77013 Escape from the Lost Tomb and 77015 Temple of the Golden Idol – have already started appearing in stores, rumours have been swirling that 77014 The Temple of Doom has been canned altogether. The LEGO Group has now shared a statement that doesn’t directly mention the planned set, but does imply that it has indeed been cancelled.

DO NOT USE THIS IMAGE LEGO Indiana Jones 77014 The Temple of Doom LEAKED IMAGE

“Throughout 2022, the LEGO Group worked closely with Lucasfilm to optimise our planned product line up for the upcoming LEGO Indiana Jones product launches in April 2023,” the LEGO Group shared on the LEGO Ambassador Network. “As an outcome of this, we consolidated the launch to focus on three products (77012, 77013, 77015) that feature some of the most iconic scenes from the Indiana Jones franchise. We hope our fans love the new range and can’t wait to get their hands on them.”

From all the information available to us at the time of writing, the only real conclusion to draw is that 77014 The Temple of Doom is never going to be available to purchase – despite clearly making it far enough into development for box art to be produced, as per the leaked image.

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This isn’t the first time a LEGO set has been cancelled at the last minute. In 2020, the LEGO Group halted the release of 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey just before it hit shelves, citing its policy not to manufacture military vehicles. The explanation for 77014 The Temple of Doom’s cancellation is much vaguer by contrast, leaving the door open to debate and speculation around exactly why the 801-piece set has faced the chop.

We’ll likely never know for sure – and you can see why the LEGO Group has not necessarily been keen to begin discussing particular reasons – but there are a few possibilities that jump out, from the film’s controversial themes to the specific imagery depicted in the set.

Writing for Little White Lies in 2020, for example, Saffron Maeve singled out the second Indiana Jones film’s ‘overarching theme of white saviourism’ and ‘flagrant racism’ in how it handles its Indian characters – particularly in the scenes depicted in 77014 The Temple of Doom, wherein Thuggee cult leader Mola Ram tears out a man’s heart with his bare hands (and then burns him alive).

“This entire sequence speaks to the film’s insularity towards Indian culture; cherry-picking the myths that cultivate the most dangerous and savage image possible for the sake of furthering its messy narrative,” Maeve writes. It’s also worth noting that this controversy plagued the film even during production, as the Indian government deemed the script ‘offensive’ and refused permission to shoot in its country.

77014 The Temple of Doom also includes a detailed depiction of Kali, the Hindu goddess of time, change and death worshipped by the Thuggee cult. The LEGO Group avoids religious representation – its Ideas guidelines explicitly state ‘religious references including symbols, buildings, or people’ do not fit its ‘brand values’ – so it’s not hard to imagine that the brick-built figure may have crossed some sort of line.

These potential reasons are pure speculation, offered in the absence of any concrete explanation from the LEGO Group, and may not necessarily reflect the real motivations behind 77014 The Temple of Doom’s cancellation. The only thing that’s certain is that the set won’t be launching alongside 77012 Fighter Plane Chase, 77013 Escape from the Lost Tomb and 77015 Temple of the Golden Idol on April 1.

That said, a few copies of 42113 Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey did manage to escape factories and end up at retail in 2020, and are now highly prized among collectors. If any samples of 77014 The Temple of Doom find their way into the wild, they’ll likely be even more valuable given the licence attached to them – and what would be their incredibly exclusive minifigures.

For now, click here to take a closer look at the three new LEGO Indiana Jones sets confirmed to release on April 1, 2023.

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Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

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