Lucas won't stop defending Indy's infamous nuke-the-fridge moment

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Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 PM EST

We can all pretty much agree that the high-water mark of the Indiana Jones franchise was right before Indy climbed into that lead-lined fridge to escape an atomic blast. "Nuke the fridge" has since entered the pop culture lexicon as a term synonymous with creative overreaching, but Indy writer George Lucas doesn't care if you liked the stunt or not.

He still thinks it's possible, and he even went and got documentation.

A few months ago, Steven Spielberg took the blame for Indy's infamous nuclear survival tactic, and even said he was proud that "nuke the fridge" had become a staple phrase for fanboys. But now Lucas is falling on the sword. According to him, it wasn't just his idea. He also had to convince Spielberg that it wasn't stupid.

In a lengthy new profile by the New York Times, Lucas says he put together a six-inch-thick "dossier" of nuke-the-fridge material to prove to Spielberg that it was possible for Indy to survive. According to his research, if the fridge really was lead-lined, if Indy didn't snap his neck when the fridge landed after the blast, and if he could manage to get the fridge door open afterward, he could make it.

"The odds of surviving that refrigerator—from a lot of scientists—are about 50-50," Lucas said.

In the same profile, Lucas made what might be an even loftier claim: He's retiring from the Hollywood machine. He said Red Tails—the World War II pilot drama releasing this month that he produced and helped direct—will be his last big-budget film, and that from now on (except, perhaps, for Indy 5) he's going to take his cues from his pal Francis Ford Coppola and make smaller, more personal films.

Why? Well, because he's sick of the fanboy rage, of course.

"Why would I make any more when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?" he asked.

Well, we admit to being more than a little unhappy with Mr. Lucas more than a few times in the last decade and a half, but could he really be gone for good? The Star Wars brand won't be dying out anytime soon, and it's hard to think that the most infamous cinematic revisionist in history would be able to keep his hands off his oldest (and most profitable) baby. But even if he does walk away from Hollywood, it seems like he'll keep defending putting Indy in that fridge until his dying day.

(New York Times via Vulture)