A sequel to the 2018 film Tomb Raider has officially been confirmed, along with Alicia Vikander returning to the role of Lara Croft and Ben Wheatley to direct. The film has yet to be officially titled and is set tentatively for a release on March 19, 2021.
In terms of video game adaptations to film, the 2018 reboot of Tomb Raider was quite well done. It featured solid directing and a reasonably good story, but the financial performance of the film was little more than mediocre. The film had a budget of $106 million, and earned a total of $274.7 million, which was profitable, but nothing special in today’s market of super-heroes shattering all-time earning records. For that reason, it comes as a bit of a surprise to see both a sequel and the same director announced together.
We're thrilled to confirm recent news that a new Tomb Raider film starring Alicia Vikander and directed by Ben Wheatley is on the way!— Tomb Raider (@tombraider) September 9, 2019
Stay tuned for more news in the future.
As far as a potential story goes, there is no lack of source material from the game series that could easily be adapted to an interesting story. Much of the 2018 film can be considered a heavy adaptation from the 2013 Tomb Raider game, with the notable addition of Lara Croft’s father and the search to find him. Such a paternal inclusion as a central theme to the film was, for the most part, disliked by viewers.
With that in mind, Rise of the Tomb Raider, the last game in the series released in 2018, follows Lara Croft through Central and South America to the legendary city of Paititi. This is supposedly a lost Incan city, or a utopian rich land to the East of the Andes mountain range, in the rainforests of southeast Peru, northern Bolivia, or southwest Brazil.
There, Lara fights to stop a paramilitary organization known as Trinity, in an effort to prevent a Mayan apocalypse she has unleashed. With heavy influence from both Inca and Aztec culture, the film would have an opportunity to showcase settings filled with pre-Colombian architectural beauty and has no shortage of interesting directions that could be taken with regards to the culture and beliefs of the Indigenous people prior to colonization.
Hopefully the sequel builds upon the best qualities of the first in an effort to improve on the overall story of the in-game adaptation. With the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and some video game adaptations, such as Detective Pikachu, there is a real opportunity here to make Tomb Raider more streamlined into the public sphere of films. Otherwise, a flop might doom the series from seeing any more films made for years to come. Still, it would be hard to do worse than Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, from 2003.