For the first time in the history of the Indiana Jones movie franchise, Steven Spielberg will not be in the director’s chair when cameras roll on the next installment of the series.
Spielberg himself reportedly made the decision to step down as director of Indiana Jones 5, which has yet to receive an official title or begin filming after a lengthy development period. The move was made to freshen up the franchise with a new filmmaker’s perspective on the whip-cracking archaeologist’s adventures, according to Variety.
The report indicates that the studio already has a new director in mind, with a deal in the works to bring on James Mangold, the director of Ford v Ferrari and Logan. Mangold earned an Oscar nomination for the screenplay he penned for Logan, an installment of the Wolverine franchise that chronicled a late-life adventure for the popular X-Men character.
Spielberg co-created the Indiana Jones franchise with Star Wars creator George Lucas, and has directed every film in the series up to this point, dating back to 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark.
There’s been no indication that the change in director will affect the return of 77-year-old franchise star Harrison Ford, who will be donning Indiana Jones’ signature fedora once again for the film. However, the movie’s current release date of July 9, 2021, could be in jeopardy if the production doesn’t get underway soon.
The fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise was initially scheduled to hit theaters in July 2019, only to have the release date pushed back one year, then another year, as the script was revised by various writers. Jonathan Kasdan, the son of Raiders of the Lost Ark screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, was the most recent writer brought on to work on the script.
The report of Spielberg’s departure indicates that Mangold’s attachment to the film isn’t finalized yet, so anything could still happen with the project and its vacant director’s chair.
Spielberg’s exit is surprising, given his long-standing attachment to the Indiana Jones franchise, but his upcoming schedule has always made the project a difficult one to squeeze in. He’s currently in the midst of post-production on his adaptation of the musical West Side Story, which hits theaters December 18.
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