There aren’t many franchises left that have only one director attached to them, but that was the case with Indiana Jones. Through its first four installments, the series had only ever been directed by Steven Spielberg. For the fifth installment, that’s all about to change.
According to a report by Variety, Spielberg is set to hand the franchise off to Ford V. Ferrari director James Mangold. No final deal has been reached, but the report suggests that Mangold is in talks to take on the film. A source close to the project told the magazine that the decision to step back from directing the film was Spielberg’s, in part because he wanted to hand the franchise off to a younger director with a different perspective.
Spielberg will reportedly remain a hands-on producer on the new film, and Harrison Ford is set to remain in the lead role. Earlier this month, in an interview with CBS This Morning, Ford said that he was “going to start doing Indiana Jones in about two months.”
Days later, the actor told HeyUGuys that the project was facing “scheduling issues and a few script things.” Ford also said, “we’re determined to get it right before we get it made.”
Planning and scheduling for the fifth installment of the saga has faced setbacks for years. The film, which will likely come four decades after the first was released, was originally announced in 2016 and slated for a July 2019 release. Since then, the project has been delayed twice, first to July 2020, and then again to July 2021. The move to 2021 was coupled with the announcement that Jonathan Kasdan, the son of Lawrence Kasdan, the man who wrote the Raiders of the Lost Ark screenplay, would come on to take a pass at the script for the new installment.
Disney has not commented on whether the film’s current release date, July 9, 2021, still holds given the director shakeup. Variety reports, however, that the news will likely delay the release of the film yet again.
Spielberg already has a busy year ahead of him. In addition to any producing work he will do on Indiana Jones, the director is also wrapping up post-production on his West Side Story remake, which is set to hit theaters on December 18 of this year. Indiana Jones was the last franchise Spielberg still held the reins on. In the past, he’s handed off franchises that he started like Jurassic Park and Jaws to other directors. Now, he’s handed Indy off as well.