In a wholly unexpected (but most excellent) turn of events, Ben Wheatley, of all people, will direct the Tomb Raider sequel. Deadline reports that Wheatley, the acclaimed British filmmaker behind High-Rise, A Field In England, and Free Fire, has set his sights on his biggest project yet: A sequel to 2018's Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander as iconic video game hero Lara Croft. Directed by Roar Uthaug (The Wave), the previous Tomb Raider wasn’t exactly beloved by critics, but Vikander made for an excellent Croft and the film went on to gross $275 million worldwide—enough to justify a sequel, though that seemed fairly unlikely given the tepid response. But Wheatley is a name that’s sure to generate a bit more enthusiasm—particularly from cinephiles—with a filmography that includes genre favorites like Kill List and A Field In England.
Wheatley’s longtime collaborator and spouse Amy Jump will write the screenplay for the Tomb Raider sequel, which makes this news all the more awesome. It’ll be a while before we see the results of this pleasantly surprising deal, as MGM has set a March 19, 2021 release for Tomb Raider 2. In the meantime, Wheatley is in post-production on his adaptation of classic Daphne du Maurier novel Rebecca (which also served as the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s film of the same name). Rebecca stars Lily James, Armie Hammer, and Kristin Scott Thomas, and is set to premiere on Netflix sometime in the near future.