On January 27, 2021, Netflix announced that it would be teaming up with Legendary Entertainment to produce a new Tomb Raider anime series for the streaming service. This won’t be Lara’s first foray into the world of animation; that would be the 2007 anthology series Re\Visioned. But unlike its predecessor, the upcoming anime series won’t be a collection of unrelated animated shorts but will instead rely on serialised storytelling and will pick up after the events of the reboot (“Survivor”) trilogy.
We’ve yet to see a trailer for the series or any key art, but here’s what we know about the Tomb Raider anime series so far:
A Legendary Production Team
A great television series needs a great creative team behind it and Netflix has spared no effort in securing some of the greatest talent the industry has to offer. Leading the team are executive producers Dmitri M. Johnson, Stephan Bugaj, and Howard Bliss of dj2 Entertainment – the production company that co-produced the commercially successful and highly enjoyable Sonic the Hedgehog feature films – and Jacob Robinson of the animation-centric production company Tractor Pants.
Up-and-coming screenwriter Tasha Huo was hired as the series’ showrunner and as one of its executive producers and anyone who follows her on social media will know that she is a massive fan of the Tomb Raider franchise. In her #TombRaider 25 greeting video, she described the series as “a true labour of love that started when [she] first played the game 25 years ago”. Huo previously worked on The Witcher: Blood Origin and is currently working on the script for a new film adaptation of the fantasy comic series Red Sonja.
Other members of the series’ writing team include Shakira Pressley, whose credits include the animated series Battle Kitty and Craig of the Creek, and Troy Dangerfield, who worked on the ABC Studio series Castle and the upcoming third season of The Witcher.
Team #TombRaider Writers Assemble! @ShakiraPressley @TroyDangerfield and I take our Lara Croft action scenes very seriously. pic.twitter.com/x58u7v4rtM— Tasha Huo, Dragonrider (@Tasha3point0) March 10, 2021
The animation will be handled by the Texas-based animation studio Powerhouse Animation, the same studio that produced Blood of Zeus, Masters of the Universe: Revelation, and the critically acclaimed Castlevania. We’ve yet to see any promotional screenshots or footage for the Tomb Raider series but one can assume that it will have a similar anime-influenced aesthetic and animation style to the three aforementioned series.
The Story Continues…
Little is known about the series’ storyline at present but the original announcement specified that the series would pick up after the events of the Survivor trilogy; that is, after the events of the 2018 game Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Presumably Lara’s family problems will be far behind her and she’ll be an older and more experienced raider of tombs.
Tasha Huo confirmed that the series will provide “some of the first steps towards unifying the Tomb Raider timelines as we transition beyond the Survivor trilogy and start to follow Lara’s journey leading up to the first steps of that first Tomb Raider game.” She’s also mentioned that the series would explore Lara’s life in ways that they never got to do in the games.
It’s not entirely clear what this much-discussed “unification” of the Tomb Raider timelines entails on a practical level but we can assume that the anime series (and future games) will draw inspiration from the “Survivor” trilogy, the classic Core Design games, and perhaps even Crystal Dynamics’ own “Legend” trilogy. The best of all worlds, perhaps?
Hayley Atwell, Tomb Raider
Camilla Luddington and Alicia Vikander have done a stellar job of portraying Ms Croft in their respective media over the past few years but the anime series will be bestowing that honour on a new actress: Hayley Atwell, who Marvel fans will no doubt recognise as the capable and charismatic Agent Peggy Carter.
So very excited, both as a Showrunner and #TombRaider super fan, to finally announce our Lara Croft, and to be working with this extremely talented human. Guys... this show is going to be awesome.https://t.co/xNkYMD0bML— Tasha Huo, Dragonrider (@Tasha3point0) September 13, 2021
Atwell’s name was high on many fans’ lists when a new Tomb Raider film was first announced back in 2015, so fan reactions to this casting announcement have been overwhelmingly positive. Back in September 2021, Atwell shared the news on her Instagram account, adding that “it has been a real pleasure recording this for Netflix and Legendary”.
Lara’s Circle of Friends
She may be one of the gaming world’s most beloved and adept adventurers but even Lara needs a little help from her friends from time to time. Lara’s trusted friend and oft voice of reason, Jonah Maiava, will be joining Ms. Croft on her latest adventure and will be voiced by none other than Earl Baylon; Baylon previously provided the voice and motion capture performance for Jonah in all three “Survivor” trilogy games.
I will tell you right now, @earlybgoode and @AMiseverywhere are going to make you all so happy. SO dang cool to see Jonah and Zip again. Lara's world is all coming together! #TombRaider25 @NetflixGeeked @tombraider https://t.co/qsG5MhpCsW— Tasha Huo, Dragonrider (@Tasha3point0) October 29, 2021
Joining Atwell and Baylon is actor and filmmaker Allen Maldonado, whose acting credits include the sitcom Black-ish and the animated fantasy mini-series Maya and the Three. Maldonado may be a newcomer to the Tomb Raider franchise but he will be voicing a familiar face: the wise-cracking tech expert Zip. Zip was first introduced in the 2000 game Tomb Raider Chronicles, where he helped Lara break into the Von Croy Industries building, but he’s probably better known for his supporting role in 2006’s Legend and 2008’s Underworld.
Long-time fans of the franchise will no doubt be curious to see how this pre-reboot character will fit into the new “Survivor” timeline. According to his interview with Bleeding Cool, Maldonado had met with the games’ developers to talk about “very secret and special projects” and “fan out for a little bit”. Could Zip be making his return to the iconic video game series?
In any case, the original game holds a special place in Maldonado’s heart and he told Bleeding Cool that he sees his role in the upcoming anime series as a way of adding to the franchise’s legacy. “I remember playing the first video game on, like, the first PlayStation. I remember staying up all night, beating the game. It was full circle for me, kind of just being a part of it and adding to the legacy that I enjoyed as a kid.”
So far there has been no word on the whereabouts of Lara’s estranged friend, Sam Nishimura. The two of them parted ways prior to the events of Shadow of the Tomb Raider but one line of dialogue from the game suggested that Lara was planning to reconnect with her old friend. Time will tell if Sam will make her long-awaited return in the anime series.
Mark Your Calendars!
There’s no concrete release date as yet but we do know the first season of this proposed two-season series is currently slated for a 2023 release; showrunner Tasha Huo confirmed this during a September 2021 interview with Act Two Podcast host Joshua Hallman.
This section will be updated when a release date has been announced. So stay tuned and feel free to check back here in a few months!
So that’s what we know about the Tomb Raider Netflix series so far! What are you most excited to see in the upcoming series? Are you as excited as I am to see (and hear) Hayley Atwell bring Lara Croft to life?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Last updated on 28 August, 2022.
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