The Tomb Raider game series has launched numerous titles and a pair of feature films. Now, Alicia Vikander is ready to take over the role from Angelina Jolie, with one major change. We've now confirmed that the new Tomb Raider film will take place within the same timeline as the current video game reboot.
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking with Rich Briggs, the Brand Director for Crystal Dynamics, the development studio behind the Tomb Raider game series. They've also been working very closely with the producers of the new Tomb Raider movie. I asked Briggs about the new film, and he was able to confirm something many had suspected...
This is the modern survival-action origin story time line as opposed to the classic [Lara Croft].
In 2013, Crystal Dynamics made the decision to reboot the game series and develop a more realistic, modern version of Lara Croft. Gone were the signature dual pistols and the really short shorts. What replaced them was a younger version of the character, just starting out in her career. While many of the game mechanics and set pieces survived between versions of Tomb Raider, the major change that was made turned the game franchise into a more survival focused action game. Lara Croft is cut off from her support and has to make due with whatever she can scrounge up from her environment. It's a far cry from the cocky, self-assured, and always prepared version of Lara that we saw in numerous games and in two movies starring Angelina Jolie.
For as drastic as the differences are between the two different version of Lara Croft, gamers appear to have embraced the new version quite well. Both 2013s Tomb Raider and last year's follow-up Rise of the Tomb Raider have sold very well. The latter game is about to receive a brand new release celebrating the 20th anniversary of the franchise.
The original pair of Tomb Raider films may have found the perfect lead actress in Angelina Jolie, and done fairly well at the box office, but neither was really a smash hit. It appears that Alicia Vikander will be looking to bring the franchise back in the same way that the games have done, by making Lara Croft a bit more realistic, and relatable, of a character. According to Rich Briggs, the one thing that we can be sure of with the new film is that it will be something very different.
I think when you think about [director] Roar [Uthuag] when you think about Alicia Vikander and the approach that they're taking it is always with that eye of delivering a new type of Tomb Raider movie, one that does take place within the modern timeline.
The idea that the new film will take place within the "modern timeline" may indicate that the idea is for the new film to also be canon within the game series. We can likely expect that the movie will not be based on either of the existing games directly, but might possibly take place in between them. The same approach is being taken with the Assassin's Creed franchise. Ubisoft has also said that the new Michael Fassbender film will be considered part of the same universe as the games, and may have an influence upon them as well.
As a personal fan of the new Tomb Raider games, I'm very much looking forward to seeing that translated onto the big screen. The new Lara Croft is no less an action hero than the original version, but the new games have told much deeper stories about a much more nuanced character. The new Tomb Raider movie is expected to hit screens in March of 2018.