Temple Of Doom scriptwriters Bill Huyck, Gloria Katz, and director Steven Spielberg deliberated over several iterations for the sequence where Indy, Willie and Short Round escape a poisonous night out in Shanghai’s Club Obi-Wan onboard a small cargo plane.
Two ideas that didn’t make the final cut were an elaborate Mousetrap – like gag, and an attack on their flight by a biplane sent by thwarted villain Lao Che. Willie and Short Round struggle to wake Indy, but the effects of the poison he just managed to avert have nevertheless left him very drowsy. In the plane attack version, there are other passengers, who bail out, along with the co-pilot: the pilot is killed. As Shorty and Willie bicker over the last parachute, Indy finally wakes up, thanks to a stray bullet setting off a fire extinguisher in his kisser. Shorty sets up a heavy machine gun, with Willie feeding him ammo. The kid manages to shoot down one plane, but accidentally destroys one of their own flight’s engines (Indy’s dad Henry Jones (Sean Connery) manages to do something similar in The last Crusade – ideas constantly get recycled in this series). Indy grabs the life raft as in the finished film, Willie screaming, “Are you crazy? We’re not sinking, we’re crashing!”
In the next idea, the pilots are now flying a Lao Che plane, and have been instructed to kill Indy themselves (presumably outside of Lao Che’s area of operation, then crash the plane to destroy any trace back to him). The nervous co-pilot hefts a heavy wrench, but feels this isn’t enough to do the job. He puts it down and pulls out a knife, before the pilot angrily thrusts a pistol into his hand.
Indy is asleep, as are the others. In one of the top most baskets stacked in the rear along with other assorted cargo, a chicken lays an egg. The egg rolls and totters along a precarious course of implements, pipes, scythe blades, and spinning bicycle spokes, before dropping above Indy. Without batting an eyelid or raising his seemingly snoozing head, he reaches out and catches it.
Scared off by his lightning reflexes, the pilots empty the plane’s fuel tanks and bail out, leaving their passengers with no parachutes. Now, where’s that life raft again…?