Monday, April 15, 2024

Surprising Move: Steven Spielberg Abdicates from “Indiana Jones 5,” Turns Beloved Franchise Over to New Director


This is a surprising move: Steven Spielberg is turning over the direction of “Indiana Jones 5” to James Mangold, most recently the man behind “Ford v Ferrari.”

Spielberg has directed all four Indiana Jones movies starting with “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The Indiana Jones serial was always the special project of Spielberg and George Lucas.

But Lucas is retired now, and Spielberg has obviously been persuaded to hand over “Indy 5” to a younger director. Of course, Spielberg– who was once known for making two or three movies at a time — is spending the year putting together his “West Side Story.” In the past, that wouldn’t have been enough to keep him busy.

Indeed, times have changed. “Indiana Jones” is now with Disney, having once been the jewel in the crown of Paramount. But Disney got the rights to those movies when it bought George Lucas’s LucasFilms and “Star Wars.” Who knows what they were telling Spielberg about “Indy 5”? Make it part of the Marvel Universe? Nothing would be a shock at this point.

Variety first reported the story, and added that “Harrison Ford is still a part of the project.” But again, who knows? Maybe in the new “Indiana Jones,” Indy’s bastard son comes and kills him, a la “The Force Awakens.” No wonder Shia LaBeouf isn’t part of it.

Disney also has a new head of the company, as Bob Iger is now officially gone. Another Bob, Bob Chapek, has taken over, from Disney Parks.

In any case, this is a strange turn of events. Spielberg doesn’t really have anything to follow “West Side Story” except for a long in development “The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara.” I can’t believe he wouldn’t want to finish the series he and Lucas started almost 40 years ago. Something’s up. I guess in time we’ll find out what it is.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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