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Elsa Schneider is the secondary antagonist of the 1989 adventure film Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. However, in Jeffrey Boam's earlier drafts of the film, Elsa was more ruthless and villainous than in the final project, taking over the role as main antagonist following Kemal's death at the film's climax.

She was portrayed by Alison Doody in the final project.

Original Script

In Jeffrey Boam's third revision of the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade script, Elsa Schneider's role remained mostly the same like in the finished version of the film: contacting Indiana Jones following his father Henry's disappearance, seducing him to not raise suspicions, getting the Grail Diary for Colonel Vogel to find the Holy Grail along with Kemal and Walter Chandler (Walter Donovan's original name), etc. However, unlike the final project, Elsa displayed a more villainous and ruthless personality, not even feeling any kind of remorse on leaving the Joneses on Castle Brunwald to be disposed off by the Nazis.

Given this version of Elsa's lack of care for the Joneses, in the Berlin bookburning rally scene, Indiana Jones was going to subdue her and lock her up into the trunk of Adolf Hitler's car so she would not raise the alarm, as in the finished version she just shuts up her mouth due her friendship of some sorts towards the Joneses.

Elsa's actions during Boam's version of the film's climax, however, differed more than they are in final version of the film. Here, rather than Walter Chandler, who had already died after the Hatayan tank fell off into the Canyon of the Crescent Moon before reaching the Temple of the Sun, Elsa coldly shoots Henry Walter Jones, Senior after Kemal's death at the hands of Indy to force Indy into retrieving the Holy Grail for her so he can save his father after he refuses to retrieve the Holy Grail so she can live forever to see the future. Much like in the film, Indy makes it to the Grail chamber and Elsa follows him, but accompanied by Vogel.

Unlike the final project, where Elsa deliberately picks up the False Grail to Walter Donovan to get rid of him, Elsa picks up the False Grail for herself, naively believing that the greatest cup must be the Cup of the King of Kings. Toasting for eternal life, Elsa drinks but instead ages to death as a reward, to which the Grail Knight remarks that "She chose...poorly" as Indy picks up the right Grail and rushes up to save his father.

This was the original version of Elsa Schneider in Jeffrey Boam's drafts for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. However, when George Lucas brought playwriter Tom Stoppard to rewrite Boam's script, Stoppard made several changes, including making Elsa more sympathetic and giving Donovan her original actions, resulting in the less evil Elsa Schneider we all know.

Trivia

  • While more evil than in the finished project, Jeffrey Boam's version of Elsa Schneider is less intelligent than her final counterpart, as Elsa easily realizes in the actual film that the Grail she chose for Donovan couldn't be Jesus Christ's cup because it was made of gold and Jesus was a carpenter.

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