While attending the recent BAFTA Cymru Awards, John Rhys-Davies told Yahoo Movies UK that he would like to return as Sallah in the upcoming Indiana Jones 5. He had this to say about where he believes has happened to Sallah:
What would have happened to Sallah? I like to think that he would have been somebody like Khaled al-Asaad – that marvelous 80-year-old man who was defending his museum in Palmyra and who hid its major treasures and refused to give them over to ISIS and was beheaded in the town square. I think that’s probably how I would have seen Sallah.”
Rhys-Davies does have his reservations about audience perception of the portrayal of an Arab in a post-911 world:
“Sallah is the last Arab in popular, contemporary culture, that we regard as a hero. The world has changed, and that’s a tragedy for the West and for the Arab world. Perhaps there is no place for a Sallah anymore. Although I trust that my mention of Khaled al-Asaad just reminds people that they are not all iconoclasts and that there are heroes there – real heroes, too.”
Rhys-Davies turned down a role in the wedding scene of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, believing Sallah deserved a better outing than a shoe-horned cameo (rightfully so). We would love to see Rhys-Davies return to the role that helped put him on the map.