The following contains spoilers for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, in theaters now.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is an event movie, with fans of the franchise thrilled to see the titular adventurer's return to the big screen after 2008's Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. While Dial of Destiny has received some harsh words from critics, it's faired much better than its predecessor with audiences. A large part of that success stems from Harrison Ford's performance. With Ford planning to say goodbye to Indy for good, it's no surprise the movie also delivered send-offs for other fan-favorite characters. However, Karen Allen's reprisal as Marion deserved better.

Marion Ravenwood is, of course, Indy's most famed loved interest. After facing down Nazis alongside Indy in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Marion became a quick favorite among fans. She broke a lot of tropes by subverting what was expected of many on-screen love interests of big action heroes. She isn't perfect. In fact, she is a bit messy, a bit crude and a bit of a disaster. She doesn't fall into the classification of damsel in distress or femme fatale. Instead, she stumbles into her own category as an everyday woman who remains capable against all odds. This is why it was so disappointing her cameo at the end of Dial of Destiny fell victim to an issue that frequently plagues older women in Hollywood.

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Indiana Jones 5 Reduced Marion's Role

Karen Allen as Marion in Indiana Jones 5

When Steven Spielberg was originally brought on to direct the fifth Indiana Jones movie in 2016, he reportedly envisioned another Indy and Marion adventure. However, that all changed when James Mangold took over. As Allen stated to Variety, Marion's role in the original script was much larger than what it became. While Allen was "profoundly happy" Marion and Indy got back together, her reduced role remains disappointing. It's always difficult to see a favorite character get sidelined, and Hollywood's poor treatment of older women suggests age may have been a factor.

While Jessica Lange reigned supreme in American Horror Story and Jessica Walter stole scenes in Arrested Development, Hollywood still struggles with the representation of older women. As reported by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, just one in four characters over the age of 50 are women. Men make up the majority of starring roles for older adults across TV and film, with middle-aged women and above frequently regulated to supporting characters. More specifically, older women often play mothers and grandmothers with little to no meaningful character development outside of their maternal roles. Romance and sex are another area of concern. Women under 50 are two times as likely to have a romantic storyline than older actors.

Dial of Destiny does make good on the romance front. The movie ends with Marion and Indy kissing and, presumably, engaging in other more intimate activities when the camera pans away. However, the majority of Marion's brief cameo centers around Indy. She returns to her estranged lover to bring him groceries. The jump into caretaker mode takes precedence over her own feelings. Apparently, Indy's injuries were enough to ignore their marriage separation and complicated feelings stemming from the loss of their son. Of course, tragedy can bring people together; however, Dial of Destiny doesn't allow enough time to properly explore their emotions. Thus, Marion essentially arrives out of nowhere to bring her ex-husband food and kiss him better.

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Marion Is a Victim of Hollywood Ageism

Helena stands in front of Indy in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

At 79 years old during filming, Ford's age was worked into the story. His introduction has him embracing many of the grumpy old man stereotypes, but he later returns to form with the expected action fare, albeit a bit toned down. The movie handles it surprisingly well and adds in the occasional joke about aching joints for good measure. With Allen almost ten years Ford's junior, there is no reason the script couldn't have afforded her the same treatment, especially with Allen seemingly eager to take on a bigger role. Instead, Dial of Destiny becomes guilty of another misdoing by replacing Marion with a younger woman in Phoebe Waller-Bridge's Helena Shaw. Although Helena isn't the love interest but Indy's goddaughter, the lack of older women on the screen remains the same.

Fellow event movie Top Gun: Maverick was just recently guilty of this. A younger Jennifer Lynn Connelly replaced Kelly McGillis' Charlie as Maverick's love interest. According to McGillis, she was never even asked to return to the role, believing her age and weight were likely factors in the decision. While Allen at least got the invitation to return, Marion received nowhere near the same screen time as her male co-stars or even other notable legacy character cameos like John Rhys-Davies' Sallah. Of course, Ford's age remains a criticism for some. He even starts the movie de-aged. However, where Ford garners praise and attention for his grand return, Allen was neglected almost entirely.

To judge Marion's cameo for yourself, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is now playing in theaters.