By John H. Foote

In a shocking move that will send shockwaves through the film industry, two-time Academy Award winning Best Director Steven Spielberg has withdrawn from directing the upcoming fifth installment of the Indiana Jones franchise. The move caught everyone associated with the series off guard, most specifically star Harrison Ford, who had announced last week filming was to begin this summer.

George Lucas had already retired from movies and was to have little or no involvement, but until yesterday Spielberg was set to direct.

Mired in editing his musical remake West Side Story and with two other projects he has been circling for years, he might have decided he wanted to move one or that perhaps it was time someone else had a go at the series. James Mangold (Ford vs. Ferrari) is rumoured to be the director most likely to take over for Spielberg.

Spielberg directed the previous four films earning an Oscar nomination for Best Director for the first, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). As he ages, and time becomes his enemy, it could be that he just wants to do things he has not done before. With all due respect to both he and Harrison Ford, the fourth film was dreadful, and it might be time to hang up the whip for both or recast another actor and explore Indiana Jones as a younger man. I say Chris Pratt…action.

No word from Harrison Ford if Spielberg withdrawing impacts his part in the series, though I cannot see anyone matching what Spielberg brought to the series, or Ford going on alone.

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