|“||Imagine. To peer across the world and know the enemy's secrets. To place our thoughts into the minds of your leaders. Make your teachers teach the true version of history, your soldiers attack on our command. We'll be everywhere at once, more powerful than a whisper, invading your dreams, thinking your thoughts for you while you sleep. We will change you, Dr. Jones, all of you, from the inside. We will turn you into us. And the best part? You won't even know it's happening.||„|
|~ Spalko to Indiana Jones, talking about the power of the Crystal Skull.|
Irina Spalko is the main antagonist of the 2008 action-adventure film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. She is a highly skilled Soviet Agent who as a part of her mandate to acquire artifacts.
A Soviet agent born in a small mountain village in the eastern regions of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, she was believed by those in her village to be a witch as her apparent psychic powers began to manifest themselves through animal control.
An impressed Joseph Stalin inducted her into researching psychic warfare, awarding her with the Order of Lenin three times. She is skilled in fencing and hand-to-hand combat and is Indiana's main antagonist as she brings the crystal skull to Akator to utilize the power there for her country's militant purposes. Ironically, her desire for knowledge proved her undoing when the crystal skull entity grants her desire to know everything, and an alien figure emerges and indicates that Spalko is too dangerous to remain alive. Her mind overloads and she disintegrates and her ashes scatter into the portal along with her felons.
- Despite the huge amount of fan backlash Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull received, Cate Blanchett's performance as Irina Spalko received critical acclaim by both film critics and fans, who regarded her as the best part of the film. Even Steven Spielberg stated that Spalko is his favorite villain in the series.
- Irina Spalko is one of two main antagonists of the film series who is not affiliated to the Nazis, the other being Mola Ram from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. However, Mola Ram is the only one who doesn't belong to a military faction, as Spalko is a Soviet.
- In the novelization of the film, it's revealed that Irina Spalko's "psychic powers" present in the film were apparently real. It's furthermore detailed that Spalko had an unhappy childhood as all people on her village ostracized her and her family due her reputation as a "witch", leading Irina to perform experiments with animals to understand biology and life until her own mother came to fear her.