Its working title may have been Tomb Raider: Obsidian but it might as well have been called The Curse of the Tomb Raider. Just when we thought the planned sequel to the 2018 Tomb Raider film was finally emerging from the depths of production hell, entertainment news site TheWrap revealed that MGM had lost the film rights to Tomb Raider and that the project had officially been shelved.
The sequel to the 2018 Tomb Raider film has suffered numerous setbacks and delays over the past few years. Director Ben Wheatley and screenwriter Amy Jump had originally signed up for the project in 2019 but left after production was delayed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Things looked more hopeful when Lovecraft County‘s Misha Green signed up to write and direct the sequel. Green and Vikander were visibly excited about their upcoming project and were hoping to start filming Tomb Raider: Obsidian this year, but production couldn’t begin until they got the go-ahead from MGM.
Unfortunately, the go-ahead never came. MGM reportedly had until May 2022 to greenlight the sequel but had failed do so, so the company ended up losing the film rights to one of gaming’s most beloved and commercially successful franchises.
Reports from outlets like The Hollywood Reporter suggest that a number of studios and streaming platforms are now vying for the film rights to Lara’s next big-screen adventure. One of the community managers at Crystal Dynamics has confirmed that the film rights have reverted back to Crystal Dynamics for the time being but had no further comment regarding the film series’ future.
As someone who enjoyed the 2018 film and Alicia Vikander’s portrayal of Lara Croft, this latest development has been a disappointing, but sadly not unexpected one. Vikander had previously mentioned that she and the film’s writer and director Misha Green were ready to begin working on the Tomb Raider sequel but the MGM/Amazon buyout meant that this decision was “kind of in somebody else’s hands”.
Unfortunately, no matter whose hands the decision now lies in, it’s unlikely that Alicia Vikander will be reprising her role for any future films. The Swedish actress is no longer attached to the project and the role is expected to be recast for what is likely to be yet another reboot.
But not everything is doom and gloom. Although the future of live-action Tomb Raider looks uncertain at the moment, fans can at least look forward to a new Tomb Raider anime series starring Hayley Atwell, which should be hitting Netflix sometime in 2023. And you can find some storyboards for the cancelled Tomb Raider film right here.