Late author Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a worldwide phenomenon at this point, having sold millions of books and spawning to sequel books which were then adapted into a trilogy of Swedish films that have earned considerable profits at the worldwide box office. So, given that impressive history it’s hard to imagine that there are people out there who don’t know what the dark world of Larsson’s books are all about.

As director David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club, The Social Network) prepares to launch his own adaptation (not remake) of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, it has become apparent that there is indeed a considerable section of the American moviegoing population that needs to be informed about this film’s story – more so than they probably were by the ever-popular Dragon Tattoo teaser trailer.

Today marks the fourth preview released for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – and that’s not even counting the multiple TV spots and images. To be fair, the 8-minute extended trailer you’re about to view was previously screened for select audiences – but now it’s being released to the general public, in anticipation of the film’s release later this month.

Usually, we would offer a brief synopsis of what the film is about – but if 8 minutes of footage can’t spell it out for you…well, what can, really? Check out the extended preview for David Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, below:

(For now the trailer is streaming exclusive on iTunes – we’ll update this with an embedded version when it becomes available):

So there you have it: murder, mystery, religion, dark family secrets, and two unlikely sleuths in the form of a disgraced journalist (Daniel Craig) and an anti-social hacker (Rooney Mara). The supporting cast consists of talented actors like Christopher Plummer as the elderly business mogul searching for his niece; Stellan Skarsgård as the mogul’s nephew; Robin Wright as the journalist’s part-time lover; with ER alum Goran Visnjic popping up as the hacker’s boss (and quasi-friend). And, while you may think that extended trailer revealed a bit too much of the movie, trust us when we tell you: you ain’t seen nothing yet. This story gets dark.

The look of Fincher’s film (with its signature shadowy atmosphere and muted, saturated colors) is a perfect fit for the dark noir tale Larsson crafted. Fans of the books and the Swedish films should also be able to pick the way in which Fincher and Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian are being more faithful to the source material than the foreign version was. That’s all to say: this project (despite what some opposers might argue) is looking to be a worthwhile endeavor, indeed.

But will Rooney Mara be able to make the part of hacker Lisbeth Salander her own, as Swedish actress Noomi Rapace did? We shall see…

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be in theaters on December 21, 2011.

Source: Sony &  iTunes store