'Tomb Raider' Sequel Set For 2021, 'Free Fire' Filmmaker Ben Wheatley To Direct

Alicia Vikander's Tomb Raider series has found another director to lead its expedition. Ben Wheatley, who has proven to be a filmmaker to watch with critically acclaimed blackly comic thrillers like High-Rise and Free Fire, has been tapped by MGM as the Tomb Raider sequel director. The follow-up to the Roar Uthaug-directed 2018 Tomb Raider is set to come to theaters in March 2021.Deadline broke the news that Ben Wheatley is set to direct MGM's Tomb Raider sequel, with Vikander set to reprise her role as the iconic video game character and treasure hunter Lara Croft. Amy Jump is writing the script while Graham King is producing through his GK Films banner. MGM has set the release date for the sequel for March 19, 2021.

Wheatley is an inspired choice to direct a Tomb Raider film — films like Free Fire show he has a deft hand for constructing tight, suspenseful action sequences, with a bit of comedy woven in throughout. A Hollywood break was just waiting in the wings for Wheatley, who has been earning acclaim in his home country of the U.K. since 2009, and Tomb Raider might just be it.

The 2018 Tomb Raider was Hollywood's second attempt to adapt the beloved video game franchise after the Angelina Jolie films from 2001 and 2003. Vikander starred as a young Lara Croft before she became the confident treasure hunter, attempting to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance. Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, and Kristin Scott Thomas appear in supporting roles, while the also fairly unknown Norwegian director Roar Uthaug helmed it.

I do find it a surprise that MGM greenlit a sequel at all. The 2018 film was a modest commercial hit, grossing $275 million worldwide, and earning mixed reviews from critics. I'd consider it on the higher tier of video game adaptations (just edged out by Detective Pikachu, sorry), so I don't mind a sequel, especially if it becomes a launchpad for Wheatley in the States. Wheatley is currently in post-production for a Netflix feature film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's gothic novel Rebecca starring Lily James and Armie Hammer, so it feels like that Hollywood breakout is soon coming.

Production on the sequel will begin early next year.