The 2018 Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander, wasn’t exactly what one would call a sizable hit…but clearing around 275 million worldwide on a 94 million dollar budget is probably enough for Warner Bros. (who really haven’t had the best summer overall) looking for a way to get this rebooted franchise right. And with that, the sequel is getting some new life from an unlikely source, with new director Ben Wheatley.
Wheatley, whose past work spans multiple genres and is really quite stunning (I highly recommend his second feature Kill List and its follow-up A Field In England), and just one look at his filmography in wikipedia you’ll see descriptors like Historical psychological horror and dystopian drama horror. He’s rather one of the most fascinating filmmakers cranking it out and with 2016’s Free Fire, his action chops were well on display. Frankly, that latter effort was in some ways a proof of concept for what he could do in bigger budget tentpoles, and with WB he’s going to be his first real stab at franchise work.
I shouldn’t say that actually, as he has directed a few episodes of the Peter Capaldi iteration of Doctor Who, which might be an even stranger pairing…but Who fandom runs deep over there in the UK, so perhaps that turn shouldn’t have been too surprising either.
Also worth noting, this sequel will be written by Wheatley’s on-going collaborator (creatively and in life) Amy Jump, who has written or co-written his most notable films, including the ones listed above. No plot details have been revealed as of yet, but Vikander is set to return and production is expected to begin soon, though Wheatley is currently in post-production on his upcoming effort Rebecca, an adaptation of the gothic novel by Daphne du Maurier.
Shades of David Fincher when he was set to direct a World War Z sequel? We’ll see!
The untitled Tomb Raider sequel is expected to hit theaters on March 19, 2021 (the day before my birthday!).