For the first time in the Indiana Jones franchise history, Steven Spielberg is surrendering the director’s chair. Variety reported today that Steven Spielberg has left the Indiana Jones 5 project. Reportedly, James Mangold, the director of Logan, might be taking the reins, with Spielberg still a part of the project as a producer. 77-year old Harrison Ford is still attached to star as our favorite archaeologist-adventurer, although the more time passes, the more the adventures shown may be waiting for his Social Security check down by the old mailbox.
The production has been plagued with scheduling issues and has been pushed back two times; first, it was set to premiere July 19, 2019, then July 10, 2020, and finally July 9, 2021. Whether or not it will be delayed yet again with the director handover and reported scheduling delays and issues is unknown. Harrison Ford said in an interview with Hey U Guys that “We want it to be the best. We’ve got some scheduling issues and a few script things still to do, but we are determined to get it right before we get it made.”
All this suggests that Ford is very involved in the project–even though franchise creator George Lucas is not. Additionally, it would seem Spielberg is starting a tradition of handing over the famed franchises he’s directed (such as Jurassic Park) to younger directors. James Mangold has certainly been around longer than Colin Trevorrow, however. Indeed, Mangold has been a staple at Fox, directing recent Oscar nominee Ford v. Ferrari, the previously mentioned Logan, The Wolverine, and Walk the Line.
Kathleen Kennedy sees Indiana Jones 5 as not a reboot, but a “continuum” and outgoing Disney CEO Bob Iger expressed interest in seeing the franchise continue well beyond this, the fifth film in the series. Will Mangold bring the grit and darker tone of Logan to this new Indy installment? We’ll have to wait until July 2021 to find out. A storied franchise is heading in a new direction, which is always exciting if daunting to see.