- Ernst Vogel: "What is in the book, that miserable little diary of yours? We have the map, the book is useless; yet you come all the way back to Berlin to get it. Why? What are you hiding? What does the diary tell you that it doesn't tell us?"
- Henry Jones: "It tells me that goosestepping morons like yourself should try reading books instead of burning them!"
- ―Vogel interrogates Henry Jones in 1938[src]
Standartenführer Ernst Vogel was an imposing and ruthless officer in the SS-Leibstandarte, the Führer's personal bodyguard detachment. In 1938, his main task was to serve as Hitler's liaison in the Nazis' search for the Holy Grail and ensure that Walter Donovan and Elsa Schneider remained on track.
The Last CrusadeEdit
Colonel Ernst Vogel was assigned to help recover the Holy Grail in 1938. He and Doctor Elsa Schneider tricked American archaeologist Indiana Jones into releasing his father's Grail diary, rumored to contain a map of the Grail's resting place. When Jones and his father escaped from captivity, it became Vogel's mission to hunt them down and kill them under order of Hitler himself, a task which he undertook with great zeal.
Vogel and a Gestapo agent halted the takeoff of a zeppelin, believing that the fugitives might be trying to escape on it. Both Joneses were aboard and Vogel discovered the elder one reading a newspaper and greeted him in German only to be asked for a ticket by a steward. Turning to face the insolent steward, Vogel was stunned to find himself face to face with a disguised Indiana Jones. Before the startled officer could react, Indy punched him across the face and threw him out the window into a large pile of suitcases below. Upon noticing the shocked passengers, Indy excused his actions by saying that the Colonel didn't have a ticket, prompting them to immediately start brandishing their own to avoid the same fate. As the zeppelin took off, Vogel shouted several curses after it.
- Donovan: "Colonel! Jones is getting away!"
- Vogel: "I think not, Herr Donovan."
- ―Vogel and Donovan, before the tank battle[src]
Leading the Nazi expedition to the Grail Temple, Vogel recaptured Jones senior in the desert and grappled with Indy on a moving tank, including an attempt to strangle Indy with a chain and crushing him to the rocks Jones senior and Marcus Brody managed to flee the tank as it was about to drive off a chasm edge. Indy pinned Vogel's left arm behind his back and hammered his face into the tank's turret repeatedly before the tank drove over the precipice. Vogel clutched onto the back of the tank turret, screaming as the tank fell, and was killed when the tank landed and rolled over him several times on the sharp rocks below.
Personality and traitsEdit
A high-ranking Schutzstaffel (SS) officer, Vogel was a ruthless and brutal person, sometimes with violent tendencies. His appearance was also striking, wearing a uniform with medals, leather gloves and boots, and an officer's cap. Vogel was also known to have showed Nazi and Aryan ideology, being a shrewd and merciless officer. He nursed a special hatred for Indiana Jones and sought to kill him on numerous occasions. He carried a swagger stick to note his authority and used a Luger P08 pistol when in combat.
Behind the scenesEdit
Ernst Vogel was played by Michael Byrne in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Interestingly, Vogel's name (which means "bird" in German) is never mentioned in the dialog of the film. The forename "Ernst" was first given in the Marvel Comics adaptation.
Before Byrne was cast, renowned British actor Julian Glover, who ended up portraying Walter Donovan in the same film, originally auditioned for the role of Vogel, unsucessfully. However, Last Crusade producer Robert Watts convinced him to audition for Donovan's part and he get that role while Byrne was cast as Vogel.
In earlier versions of the film's script, written by Jeffrey Boam, Vogel actually makes it to the Temple of the Sun, where he is crushed by a rock while trying to steal the Holy Grail. His death was later changed to that of being beheaded by the Grail's Temple's traps (a fate which would later go to a Hatayan soldier) before ultimately finding his fate with the tank on-screen.
Although the character was created by The Last Crusade writer Jeffrey Boam, Vogel seems to be developed from Sergeant Gutterbuhg of Chris Columbus' unmade Indiana Jones and the Monkey King script. Like Vogel, Gutterbuhg was a ruthless and brutal Nazi member who also fought against Indiana Jones at a Mark VII Tank. However, unlike Vogel, Gutterbuhg has a mechanical limb which would help him finish off Jones. At the end, Gutterbuhg, along the character of Lieutenant Werner Von Mephisto, served as the inspiration for the character of Helmut von Mephisto of the novel Indiana Jones and the Mystery of Mount Sinai.
At one point during the film, Elsa Schneider addresses Vogel as "Herr Oberst". Oberst is actually a rank in the Wehrmacht, and Vogel was a member of the SS, which had its own system of ranks. Vogel would have been properly addressed as "Herr Standartenführer". This is possibly confusion on the screenwriters' part, perhaps because both the Army rank of Oberst and the SS rank of Standartenführer represent the rank of Colonel. It could also be seen as an error on the part of Elsa herself. Another answer to this might be the possibility that Colonel Vogel was both an SS and an Orpo man thus allowing him to have both the title of Standartenführer and Oberst.
Insignia on Vogel's uniform would indicate that he served with distinction in the Imperial German Army during the Great War and received the Iron Cross, first and second class. In the postwar period, he joined the Nazi Party. By 1932 or after, he had achieved a high rank in the SS-Leibstandarte, Hitler's own bodyguard formation and the foremost unit of the SS-Verfügungstruppe, the first SS paramilitary formations that predated the establishment of the Waffen-SS in 1940. Also, as an interesft fact, Vogel's hat had a skull and crossbones (a totenkopf in german) that should be considered incorrect, the Skull would mean that he was a member of a German Tank division not formed at the time.
During the early development of the fourth Indiana Jones film, Frank Darabont's first draft of his Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods script featured the Nazis seeking revenge against the deaths of Vogel and the other Nazis who Indy fought before and during the World War II. However, Steven Spielberg disliked this and Darabont wrote another draft.
In the movie and LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures, Vogel's desert uniform is khaki, but in LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues he wears the same black uniform during the convoy level as he did in Austria. Also, Vogel fires an RPG at characters, but in the movie the only weapon Vogel carries is a Luger. It is also interesting to note that Vogel is the only Nazi character in the films to have an actual Luger prop instead of a Walther P38 like the others. However slight, it's possible that Vogel could have survived in LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues as he falls after the tank instead of falling with it.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (First appearance)
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade novel
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade comic
- Indiana Jones' Greatest Adventures
- Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny (Flashback)
- LEGO Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures (Non-canonical appearance)
- LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues (Non-canonical appearance)
- The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine 10
- Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide
- Indiana Jones Action Figures
- The Complete Making of Indiana Jones
- Top Trumps: Indiana Jones