Tomb Raider: Excavating the secrets of the reboot's first trailer

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Sep 20, 2017

The first trailer for the new Tomb Raider film starring Alicia Vikander has arrived. The return of Lara Croft to the big screen, for the first time since Angelina Jolie played the character in two films, is much anticipated by fans of the franchise. With a new, younger, and more brutal take on the character introduced in the 2013 reboot of the video game series, it's the perfect time to get a new film franchise going, too.

SYFY WIRE explored every nook and cranny of this first trailer, which sits at just about two minutes long, and packs in quite a bit. Have a look at the trailer first, then see below for a closer excavation of all the fun moments, video game shoutouts, and secrets we could find. Check out what we found, and let us know your favorite moments in the comments below.

Tomb Raider, from director Roar Uthaug, is in theaters March 16, 2018.


Lean, tough, Bow-wielding Lara

The faster, tougher, leaner Lara with a Bow-and-arrow as her signature gear is a direct product of the character's 2013 video game reinvention. There, we found a Lara that was as much a survivalist as an explorer. From setting up her campsites to crafting and upgrading her weapons, Lara in the new Tomb Raider games, and now in the movie, is a drastically different character. Get ready for crazier action (more on that in a moment) and an extremely self-sufficient woman here.


Daddy issues

Lara's long wondered about her father and her family history in general, and while that wasn't in the forefront of the series until 2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider, it looks to be a significant plot point in this first film. The 2013 game's sequel saw Lara seeking revenge for what she deemed her father's murder, so that may be a subplot here. Regardless, her family ties are very important to the character, and look to be on full display.



The Order of Trinity, as seen on the map for a brief moment in the trailer, is an ancient organization that wants to take over the world using mythical relics, like ya do. They're the bad guys of the game, or one group of them at least, going up against Lara and her team, as well as the Solarii Brotherhood (more on that in a moment). They all explore Yamatai and the legend of the Sun Queen. They also have a direct connection to Richard Croft, Lara's father, but we won't spoil it here.


The Devil’s Sea

Similar to the "Bermuda Triangle" but in the Pacific ocean, The Devil's Sea, aka The Dragon's Triangle, is home to the island Yamatai. That's the site of the entire 2013 game, and it looks like they'll pull directly from that in the film.



In a series of shots taken directly out of the game and brought to life, Lara's trip to Yamatai is cut short thanks to a terrible storm that tears the ship in half. She emerges from the door and leaps from the broken edge of the ship -- something we see shot-for-shot remade here in the movie. This shows how the film isn't just influenced by the game, but is at least partly adapting it directly.


Mathias and a warning

Walton Goggins' character Mathias, who warns Lara that she never should've come to the island (but he's glad that she did), is a crucial character and another antagonist in the 2013 game. He leads a cult called the Solarii Brotherhood, who hope to reincarnate their goddess, the Sun Queen. We won't tell you how it goes for them, but their presence on Yamatai is not good news for Lara. The trailer presents it as if Mathias may simply be a member of Trinity for the film, combining the two groups.


Actual tomb raiding

You know what a Tomb Raider does? Raids tombs! We get to see a brief moment of this, as Lara, despite being shipwrecked, stranded, and desperate to survive, is also still an explorer. She descends into a large, open cave, and can be seen running along what looks like a fairly modern metal floor, all while dodging ancient traps -- the exact combination she runs into in the games.


The Pick Axe!

Lara's Pick Axe is one of the first things she acquires in the 2013 Tomb Raider, and it becomes a weapon, a climbing tool, a key, a crank, and just about anything else she can think of using it for throughout the games. This is as much her signature item as her Bow in the reboot, and to see it so faithfully translated into live action is sure to excite fans of the franchise. For movie fans, just know, she's going to use that Pick Axe a lot. Hence its presence in both the first poster and trailer.


Outrageous stunts (and a slight spoiler?)

Along with that Axe and the leap mentioned above, we certainly see plenty of outrageous stunts that seem to have Lara racing against the clock. In the final example of this in the trailer, we see her running along the wing of a collapsing plane, ready to make her last leap. Interestingly, her hands are tied (literally) in the sequence, which indicates she was captured and is on the run. Sounds like either Trinity or the Solarii get a hold of Lara at some point.


What's missing?

We meet Lu Ren, played by Daniel Wu, in the trailer, and he's a character original to the film. He appears, the way they present it, to be the only other person on Lara's expedition with her. That may mean he's an amalgam of Conrad Roth, Lara's mentor, Samantha Nishimura (who plays a couple of very crucial parts in the game's plot), and three other crew members, though that's just speculation, not anything confirmed.

If Sam is indeed missing, that would seem to indicate a vast shift in the plot, as the game's third act revolves entirely around the character. There is another character on the IMDB listing for the film named Sophie, played by Hannah John-Kamen, that we didn't see in the trailer. She may also have some portion of other game characters linked to her.

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