Wan Li (better known as Short Round or Shorty) is a young street urchin whose family was killed in a Japanese bombing raid. Indiana Jones recruited him as a personal assistant, and Short Round accompanied his new friend on the quest to find the Sankara Stones.
Short Round first appears driving a car and stops below Indiana Jones and Willie Scott as they hung from an awning, and they dropped in. Indy told Shorty to "step on it", and using blocks of wood tied to his shoes, he drove them through the streets of Shanghai to escape Lao Che and his men after breaking out of Club Obi-Wan. Upon reaching the airport and boarding a plane, they are bound to fly to India.
However, it turned out that the plane was sabotaged by two pilots employed by Lao Che, who flew to the mountains of India, cut the fuel lines, and jumped out of the plane while Indy, Shorty, and Willie were asleep, leaving their cargo behind. Willie tried to explain to Indy that no one is flying the plane, and while Indy tried to fly, Shorty found out they were out of parachutes, so Indy takes both Shorty and Willie and they jump out of the plane on a raft as the plane crashed into a mountainside and exploded. They survive the fall from the plane and from a cliff and eventually reach Mayapore, a village in India.
As they meet the shaman of the village, he shows the three around, where the water has dried up, and the crops have died, as a sacred magic stone has been stolen by a cult that Indy identifies as the Thuggee.
- Like Indiana Jones and Willie Scott, Shorty is named after a pet dog: Short Round was the dog of the film's writers, Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck.