Before the Indiana Jones franchise was known around the world, it was simply an idea—thought up by a guy who was on top of the world. It was shortly after the premiere of George Lucas’ first Star Wars movie in 1977, and he was brainstorming new project ideas. He met up with a longtime friend of his, who just happened to be Steven Spielberg. Spielberg revealed that he really wanted to direct a James Bond film, and had even gone to the owners of the James Bond series to ask about directing, but they turned him down.
Lucas had other plans. He told Spielberg that he had a story in mind that was like James Bond, but better. It was the story of an archeologist, named Indiana Smith, after Lucas’ dog, Indiana. Steven Spielberg hated the name and wanted to change it to something else that didn’t sound quite so corny. George Lucas’ response? “Name him Indiana Jones, or whatever you want! It’s your movie now.” Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first Indiana Jones Film, went on to win four Oscars and accrue over a dozen award nominations.