James Mangold Replacing The Beard

Variety reports that Steven Spielberg has announced that he’s dropping out of directing Indiana Jones 5, with James Mangold (Ford Vs. Ferrari) in talks to replace him.

This news came as a huge surprise on Wednesday considering The Beard has directed every film in the Indiana Jones saga from Raiders Of The Lost Ark through Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. It was previously announced that he’d return as director.

Variety goes on to explain that Spielberg will reportedly remain attached to Indiana Jones 5 as a producer, but he wanted –

“to pass along Indy’s whip to a new generation to bring their perspective to the story.”

Mangold is a very good filmmaker. But I can’t think of anyone who would be down for the idea of handing Indiana Jones to anyone but Spielberg . Especially since this will probably be the last time Harrison Ford plays the character. This current trend of torch-passing is wrong, it feels forced and unnatural.

Where does George Lucas fit into all this? Jonathan Kasdan is writing the Indy 5 script along with Dan Fogleman (Tangled). Lucas is apparently on production duties, as before, but is not involved with the story in any way.

This differs from what Spielberg said to Empire in 2011 –

“George is in charge of breaking the stories,”

“He’s done it on all four movies. Whether I like the stories or not, George has broken all the stories… I’ll leave it to George to come up with a good story.”

How can this be made to sound even more absurd? Well, Dr. Jones himself, Ford, who has just turned 77, said about Lucas in a recent interview with IGN that –

“I am loyal to my best friend”

“When he writes a story he believes in – even if I don’t believe in it – I’m going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it… I will always defer to George as the storyteller of the Indy series.”

While Indy 5 might be Ford’s last go at the character, it now seems all but certain that the franchise will live on in the hands of new filmmakers, and with a new star. Kathleen Kennedy has already confirmed that Indiana Jones 5 won’t be a reboot. But who can believe her?

Jeezo, what do you guys make of this? Why have Ford’s final Indy outing handled by someone other than Spielberg? I’m out.