Temple of Doom was the second Indiana Jones movie, but it was set before Raiders of the Lost Ark. Why was the decision made to set the second movie before the first? I didn't notice any story points that wouldn't have worked just as well set after Raiders.
Lucas made the film a prequel as he did not want the Nazis to be the villains once more.
From Lucas himself:
Lucas: We made Temple Of Doom a prequel because we didn't want to use the same bad guys. We had ideas about the Monkey King. We had ideas for a haunted-castle movie but then Steve had just done Poltergeist and said, "I don't wanna do that again." We were struggling to come up with another MacGuffin. We couldn't find anything as good as the Lost Ark. We ended up with the Sankara Stones, which was a little obscure.
You can find the quote in its original context here.
1I don't think that a screenshot is a great way to present the full quote, since it is difficult to read on mobile devices and impossible for screen readers. Perhaps you could put the entire paragraph in a quote block and just bold the relevant part (while keeping the link to the full source, of course)? Feb 1, 2017 at 2:07
1I suppose that's as good an answer as there can be! But why would having it be a sequel require the Nazis to be the villains? I mean, not terribly many Nazis in India... Feb 1, 2017 at 19:18
1@StephenCollings - They only chose India after rejecting Nazis as the bad guys.– TimFeb 1, 2017 at 20:44
Ah, so they made it a prequel to avoid Nazis, changed the setting to something that also avoided Nazis, and never changed it back to a sequel. Rather an accident, then. Feb 1, 2017 at 21:14
1@StephenCollings - This is George Lucas we're talking about. Each decision he makes is perfectly logical. It's just that the sum total of those decisions.... isn't. You have only to look at the Star Wars prequels to see how his mind works.– TimFeb 1, 2017 at 21:23