Indiana Jones is coming back for a fifth adventure—this we’ve known for ages, as the film’s been in a long development process. But now as it begins to slowly come out of that process, it’s going to be doing so without the man that has been behind the camera since the very first movie in the franchise.
Variety reports that Spielberg has taken the decision step down from directing Indiana Jones 5, but will remain attached to the project as a producer. Harrison Ford will still return as the titular adventuring archaeology professor/whip enthusiast, as was first confirmed when Lucasfilm announced a new Indy film back in 2016, but the hunt is on for a new director to bring a new perspective to the franchise.
That new director could be, according to the trade, Logan’s James Mangold, who is allegedly in talks to take over, but has not officially signed on. In recent weeks Harrison Ford has discussed forward progress on Indy 5, telling The Playlist “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.” Those issues, as well as Spielberg stepping down as director, likely suggest that the movie won’t be making its current planned July 2021 release date.
Rumours have long swirled for that “scheduling issues” and “script things”, as Ford mentioned, are the two main reasons for a potential further delay—the latter of great import to get right on Indy 5, considering the horror that is Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Given Spielberg’s incredibly busy schedule on myriad other projects right now, him stepping down wouldn’t be too surprising, even if it might mean yet another setback for Indy.
io9 has reached out to Disney for a comment on Spielberg’s potential exit from Indiana Jones 5's directors chair, and will update this piece if we receive a response.
Additional reporting by Germain Lussier.