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Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Well this is a first. Through its highs and lows, the Indiana Jones franchise has always had Steven Spielberg at the helm, and for years it’s been expected that he would reprise directing duties for the long-awaited Indiana Jones 5. However, word’s come in that Spielberg is bowing out of directing the next installment, but there’s already a replacement being lined up.

According to Variety, talks are in motion for Logan and Ford v Ferrari director James Mangold to succeed Steven Spielberg on Indiana Jones 5. The outlet also reports that Spielberg will remain attached as an executive producer, and that the decision not to direct was entirely his, as he wanted to “pass along Indy’s whip to a new generation to bring their perspective to the story.”

While Indiana Jones isn’t the only major franchise that Steven Spielberg has worked on (see Jaws and Jurassic Park, both of which he kicked off), until now, this was the only one where he’d been in the director’s chair for every entry. Whether James Mangold is handed the creative reins to Indiana Jones 5 or someone else, even with Spielberg still being somewhat involve, we’re entering uncharted cinematic territory.

Assuming James Mangold does indeed get the job, this won’t be his first time taking over on a film series. Following the critically underwhelming X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Mangold was tapped to direct the clawed mutant’s next movie, The Wolverine, which earned much better critical reception. Mangold and Hugh Jackman reunited again for Logan, and not is that the most critically and commercially successful Wolverine movie, it was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards.

Of course, lately James Mangold is best known for Ford v Ferrari, the Christian Bale and Matt Damon-led picture that won two Academy Awards and earned various other accolades following its release last November. While it was reported last month that Mangold and Damon are re-teaming for the film adaptation of the Don Winslow-penned novel The Force, if Mangold ends up directing Indiana Jones 5, it’s possible The Force will need to be delayed.

On the other hand, it’s certainly possible that Indiana Jones 5 will be pushed back instead. This wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened, as when the project was officially announced back in 2016, the plan was for it to be released on July 19, 2019. A year later, it was delayed to July 10, 2020, and as of right now, Indiana Jones 5 is currently slated for release on July 9, 2021. It’s not unreasonable to think that the changing of directors might mean we won’t see this movie until 2022.

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Even if Indiana Jones 5 does manage to keep its current release date, one would imagine that a new director coming on board would at least push the start of filming back. Harrison Ford said earlier this month that production would start in April, but you’d think that getting James Mangold or whoever replaces Steven Spielberg up to speed in just two months would surely be cutting things way too close.

This isn’t the only upcoming Disney-related movie to lose its director recently, as Scott Derrickson bowed out of helming next year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (though like Steven Spielberg, he’ll still be an executive producer), and Sam Raimi has been lined up to take over on the Master of the Mystic Arts’ sequel. It’s also worth remembering that Indiana Jones 5 will also be the first Indy movie to not have franchise creator George Lucas involved.

We’re still in the dark on plot details concerning Indiana Jones 5, though according to Harrison Ford, audiences will see part of the whip-wielding, fedora-wearing archaeologist’s history “resolved.” It’s also not expected to be the conclusion of the entire Indiana Jones franchise, although it remains to be seen how the narrative will continue given that this will likely be Ford’s last time playing the character. Will it reboot? Will a younger actor be tapped to play Indy in his younger years? Time will tell.

Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on how Indiana Jones 5 is coming along. In the meantime, browse through our 2020 release schedule to plan your trips to the theater this year accordingly.

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