Steven Spielberg is apparently stepping back as director for the next Indiana Jones film, according to Variety. He’s set to be replaced by Ford vs. Ferrari and Logan director James Mangold, although the deal has yet to close. If accurate, it’ll mark the first entry in the franchise without Spielberg at the helm.
Variety reports that Spielberg will remain involved in the project as producer, and is stepping back “in a desire to pass along Indy’s whip to a new generation to bring their perspective to the story.”
Indiana Jones 5 has languished in production hell for a number of years now. The last film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, premiered in 2008 to largely negative reviews. In 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm, and while its Star Wars franchise got most of the attention, there was the expectation that Disney would do something with the franchise, even if it wouldn’t be for a couple of years.
Those expectations came to fruition in 2016 when Disney Lucasfilm chief Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that they were working on a sequel. Disney later announced that the fifth movie would happen, and that it would hit theaters in 2019. That obviously didn’t happen: the film was delayed amidst script issues. More recently, Harrison Ford noted that the production was coming, but that they were dealing with some “scheduling issues” and some additional work on the script.
It seems that Spielberg could be one of those scheduling issues. The man has a lot on his plate: he’s executive director on a number of major projects, ranging from Apple TV+’s WWII project (and companion to Band of Brothers) Masters of the Air, Showtime’s Halo series, and is currently working on West Side Story (set to debut in December) and about to begin shooting The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.
Mangold is coming off of his latest film, Ford v. Ferrari, which was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture. Mangold isn’t a stranger to action: he directed 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma, as well as X-Men films The Wolverine and Logan. Hopefully, he’ll be able to pick up where Spielberg left off, and pull together another adventure for the adventurer that we won’t regret watching.