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SYFY WIRE Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider 2 nabs director Ben Wheatley and 2021 release date

By Jacob Oller
Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider

Alicia Vikander’s debut as Lara Croft in 2018’s Tomb Raider heralded one of the better-received video game adaptations as of late, and now it looks like she’ll be following in Angelina Jolie’s treasure-hunting footsteps toward a sequel. While a script was commissioned by MGM after the first film landed enough box-office cash ($275M against a $94M budget) to justify a second look, a newly announced director and release date mean that this is no booby trap: Vikander is going to return as the archaeological ass-kicker.

According to Deadline, the untitled sequel (written by Free Fire’s Amy Jump) has landed director Ben Wheatley (taking over for the original’s Roar Uthaug) and will be aiming for a release date of March 19, 2021. This wasn’t unexpected. Wheatley has worked with Jump for a long time, as she’s co-written and edited most of his filmography (including Free Fire), so the Tomb Raider follow-up will have the professional benefits of that deep creative relationship. With Vikander slinging far fewer guns and performing far more feats of athleticism in her darker version of the character that Jolie first brought to the big screen, perhaps Lara Croft will vibe well with the filmmaking pair.

No word yet on the plot elements of the sequel, though the first film served to mirror the newly rebooted video game origin for the ‘90s video game hero. This might mean that the story could progress along with that of the other Crystal Dynamics games, which have released Rise of the Tomb Raider and Shadow of the Tomb Raider in recent years.

The only reason that Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life ended the Jolie run of films was that its star simply didn’t want to continue, so if Tomb Raider 2 takes off in as lucrative a way as Jolie’s follow-up, a third movie isn’t out of the question — especially if the film can maintain and heighten the first film’s gritty action and Indiana Jones vibes.

There may still be time for the film to fall through, but for now, fans may want to explore Wheatley's gory filmography (like High-Rise, which left Tom Hiddleston covered in blood) in case Tomb Raider heads that way when it returns to theaters March 19, 2021.