'No one is replacing Indy': Director shoots down rumors that Phoebe Waller-Bridge will take over for Harrison Ford

Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford in “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.” (Disney)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. (Disney)

James Mangold is setting the record straight on the future of Indiana Jones — specifically who, if anyone, will inherit that moniker after Harrison Ford’s fifth and final swashbuckling ride with the character in next June’s Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

The Walk the Line and Logan director, who most recently helmed Indy 5, took to Twitter to squash rumors that Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the fast-risen Fleabag breakout who costars in Dial of Destiny, will be the next Indiana Jones after 80-year-old Ford’s last hurrah.

“No one is 'taking over' or replacing Indy or donning his hat nor is he being 'erased' thru some contrivance. And he never was, not in any cut or script — but trolls will troll — that's how they get their clicks,” Mangold tweeted on Friday.

“Please don't exhaust me pointing out how once in a while a troll is 'right,'” Mangold continued. “Even a blind squirrel finds a nut now [and] then. All one has to do is look at set photos and interviews [and] you get enough info to make wild guesses about a movie plot.

“The [difference] between trolling a-holes [and] everyone else is they are trying to make [money] off your feelings about other films & culture war politics.”

The reliably frank Mangold is surely referencing a recent wave of gender-swapped projects in Hollywood (2016’s Ghostbusters, 2018’s Ocean’s Eight, the upcoming Margot Robbing Pirates of the Caribbean spin-off) and emergence of more female superhero leads in comic book properties (Thor: Love and Thunder, She-Hulk, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever) that have drawn the ire of toxic fans online.

In a September tweet featuring photos of the two actors at Disney’s D23 Expo, longtime Indy producer Frank Marshall revealed that Waller-Bridge would be playing Jones’s goddaughter, Helena.

Yahoo Entertainment got confirmation of that — as well as a look at both characters in action — in the first trailer for Dial of Destiny, released on Thursday. "I'm her godfather," Indy tells a crook, to which Helena responds, unenthusiastically, “He’s partly related.”

Rumors that Waller-Bridge, who also wrote and executive produced Killing Eve, appeared as a droid in Solo: A Star Wars Story and contributed to the Bond screenplay No Time to Die (all in the past decade), could be taking over as Indy have been swirling since at least spring, though sprang up again after Thursday’s trailer premiere.

Of course, the speculation isn’t entirely surprising.

The same was once said about Shia LaBeouf, who played Indy’s son Mutt Williams in 2008’s long-awaited but ultimately much maligned follow-up to the original trilogy (1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1984’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and 1989’s Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).

That, of course, did not pan out.