The new Lara Croft movie Tomb Raider has a long, tangled pedigree. It's based on the latest video game in an extended franchise, and it follows in the footsteps of a two-film worldwide phenomenon. But though the individual Tomb Raider games and movies have had their ups and downs, the franchise itself has been sturdy enough to keep on going all these years. As such, asking will Tomb Raider have a sequel is like asking if it'll rain soon — maybe not immediately, but at some point in the future it's pretty likely to happen.
2018's film version of digital action heroine Lara Croft is based on the 2013 video game of the same name. Both are complete reboots of their series, retooling Croft's origin story and starting fresh with new actors in the roles. Alicia Vikander had some big shoes to fill in taking on the role that Angelina Jolie originally portrayed; Jolie's turn as the action hero was considered the high point of the previous films, and her intense, relishing performance cast a long shadow over whoever followed.
Where Jolie's Tomb Raider was campy, over-the-top fun, this Tomb Raider wants to get a little more serious and realistic. Producer Graham King noted in an MSN interview that in the new film, "there's a line early on in the movie where [Lara] says "I'm not a freaking superhero." Well that's perfect for her character and transformation!" Director Roar Ulthag concurred, saying in a Den Of Geek interview that he went with practical effects and actual sets to really immerse the audience in something that felt real. That extended to the story and character as well, with Ulthag pointing out that, "In movies like this, if you don't care about the people running from the explosions and hit by all this spectacle, then it gets numbing."
If the movie's a success, you can bet that there'll be a sequel before long. After all, with something that's already a successful franchise, there's a built-in audience willing to give any new entries a chance. Combine that with Hollywood's increasing trend to transform mere series into entire "universes" (Marvel and DC setting the scene with their multi-film tie-ins), it's no wonder that Tomb Raider was created with multiple sequels in mind.
Producer King knew this would be the case before he even began casting Tomb Raider. In an interview with Collider, he acknowledged the current film landscape, saying "we’re going to reboot a franchise, and hopefully it turns into its own franchise. So, we need [Vikander] to commit to more than just one film. She saw that immediately and that’s what she wanted out of this. I don’t think anyone wants to reboot a franchise and just have one movie, right?"
On Vikander's part, she seems enthusiastic about the idea of reprising the role of Lara. DigitalSpy reports that the actor answered a GameSpot Q&A question about doing another film with, "Yes, I adored taking on the role of Lara. So yeah, we'll see. If there's an audience out there for it, then I would love to."
And director Roar Uthaug seems to be into the idea of a follow-up film as well. Asked by Collider whether he was aware of the video game "curse", where movies based on games usually tank critically and commercially, nixing any chance of a sequel, he responded, "yes, we were aware of the curse, and we're taking it head on."
With the latest game in the Lara Croft franchise, Shadow of The Tomb Raider, officially confirmed and announcing a release date, it's pretty likely we'll see another Tomb Raider hit the big screen in the near future.