Whenever you have a chance to make a sequel to a mediocre videogame adaptation, you have to do it, right? That would appear to be the rationale behind today’s reveal (via Deadline) that 2018’s Tomb Raider, starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander as iconic adventurer Lara Croft, is getting a follow-up set for release in 2021, courtesy of Free Fire filmmaker Ben Wheatley and MGM.
Vikander will reprise her leading role in the sequel to last year’s Roar Uthaug-directed reboot of the long-running videogame franchise’s film iteration. No word yet as to whether any of Vikander’s costars—including Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Kristin Scott Thomas—will return for the sequel, though we’ll just say it would be a surprise if Goggins’ antagonist Mathias Vogel made a comeback. Wheatley’s Free Fire and Kill List collaborator Amy Jump will handle the sequel’s script, while Graham King and Elizabeth Cantillon will produce.
As we alluded to up top, Uthaug’s Tomb Raider didn’t exactly blow the doors off Hollywood: Though it made about $275 million worldwide, the film grossed only $58 million in the States against a reported $94 million production budget, per Box Office Mojo. Critically speaking, Tomb Raider’s bag was equally mixed: The film scored just 52% on Rotten Tomatoes, and Tim Grierson deemed the film a “muscular, uneven, ultimately disappointing reboot of the videogame action franchise once guided by Angelina Jolie” in his review for Paste, praising Vikander’s Croft as “an indomitable force” while lamenting that “the movie is more meager.” The key is, “meager” makes Tomb Raider positively stellar by videogame adaptation standards: That lousy Rotten Tomatoes score is still good enough for the film to rank among the best-reviewed videogame adaptations ever made. Despite clearing that low bar, Tomb Raider hardly left a mark on the pop-cultural consciousness—perhaps Wheatley’s contribution to the franchise will measure up to Vikander’s committed turn as the titular tomb raider.
Tomb Raider 2 (Two-mb Raider is sitting right there! 2 Tomb 2 Raider, maybe? They’ve got options) is penciled in for a March 19, 2021, release, with production planned to start in early 2020. Stay tuned for further updates.