Indiana Jones 5 loses Spielberg – but his potential replacement is a perfect fit

(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Steven Spielberg won't direct the long-touted fifth Indiana Jones movie currently scheduled for July 9, 2021. Instead, James Mangold (Logan, Ford V Ferrari) is in early talks to make the movie – an excellent choice, as anyone who's seen the action in both of his latest movies will attest. 

Variety broke the story yesterday. Backing up the details in the piece is the fact that screenwriter Jon Kasdan (Solo's co-screenwriter) tweeted out a link to it:

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Mangold reportedly hasn't closed a deal to direct the movie yet. Spielberg's apparent reasoning for leaving the project was to pass the mantle on to a new generation of filmmaker, for a fresher perspective on the series. This has happened before with Spielberg's past movies, of course, with Jurassic Park 3 being directed by Joe Johnston and later installments only involving him as a producer. 

Harrison Ford is returning for Indiana Jones 5, and has been discussing the project in the last few weeks while promoting CG dog movie Call of the Wild. 

"I don't really want to give them what they want to see, I want to give them something they didn’t anticipate seeing," the actor told Hey U Guys. "They are used to a degree of disappointment when you revisit." 

Ford cited the recent Marvel movies as as the kinds of cinematic success he wanted the next Indiana Jones movie to emulate: "We're not going to make another Indiana Jones unless we are in a position to kill it."

In that interview, Ford mentioned that script work was still to be done on the next Indy movie. "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."

Variety also notes the release date could move back as a result of the director shift, but Lucasfilm hasn't said anything official on the matter yet. 

Do we really need Indy 5?

James Mangold is a great shout for Indiana Jones. The Indy movies are dad movies in a lot of ways – and Ford V Ferrari is the ultimate dad movie. More importantly, though, that movie had genuinely exciting action, partly thanks to Oscar-winning editing by Mangold's frequent collaborators Michael McCusker and Andrew Buckland. 

Bringing that sensibility to Indiana Jones 5 will do a lot of good. By contrast, Spielberg's last action-heavy movie, Ready Player One, lacked any real excitement in its set pieces, despite seemingly having all the money in the universe to play with. 

Mangold's other movies include the western 3:10 to Yuma and The Wolverine. The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull remains a big disappointment for a lot of Indiana Jones fans – and there's no guarantee another return to the character will be a success. If Ford feels good about the material, though, can it really hurt to roll the dice again?

Samuel Roberts

Samuel is a PR Manager at game developer Frontier. Formerly TechRadar's Senior Entertainment Editor, he's an expert in Marvel, Star Wars, Netflix shows and general streaming stuff. Before his stint at TechRadar, he spent six years at PC Gamer. Samuel is also the co-host of the popular Back Page podcast, in which he details the trials and tribulations of being a games magazine editor – and attempts to justify his impulsive eBay games buying binges.