It’s been nearly six years since The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo graced theaters, re-imagining Stieg Larsson’s best-selling thriller of the same name on screen. The movie was both a critical and commercial standout, going on to receive five nominations at the 2012 Academy Awards. Though it won only Best Film Editing, it seemed like a sure-fire start to a successful franchise, and plans were put in place to adapt the remaining novels in Larsson’s highly popular Millennium series.
Fast forward to 2017, and a follow-up has finally been confirmed, though not for the second book. The Girl In the Spider’s Web, the fourth novel and first by David Lagercrantz (Larsson died unexpectedly in 2004), will instead serve as source material. Don’t Breathe Director Fede Álvarez is attached to direct, and the film’s release is set for Oct. 5, 2018. Alvarez penned the script alongside Steven Knight and Jay Basu.
Casting has yet to be announced, but Variety reports that both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson are among the actors being considered for the lead of Lisbeth Salander, the troubled, tech genius vigilante originally played by Rooney Mara. According to Variety, Johansson had initially campaigned for the role in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but it ultimately went to Mara due in part to Fincher’s involvement. With Álvarez now at the helm, it’s unclear whether or not Mara is also still in the running.
In the past, Mara has made clear she’d be willing to reprise the role, and it would make sense to bring her back on board for continuity’s sake. Plus, her performance was widely acclaimed, landing her an Oscar nomination for Best Actress, though she ultimately lost out to Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. Nonetheless, it appears Mara has since stepped back from pursuing the part. “I’m sad never to do it again, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s in the cards,” she told E! in 2015.
It also seems Álvarez is eager to make the project his own, and Portman and Johansson are both well-regarded and decorated actors in their own right. They co-starred together in 2008’s The Other Boleyn Girl, a project with similarly strong female characters, and each have a proven prowess in approaching the sort of dark, complex performance necessary for Salander — Portman in Black Swan and Johansson in Under the Skin, for example. Either of the women would make compelling choices, so who lands the part will likely depend on Álvarez’s vision.
The Girl in The Spider’s Web is due for release on Oct. 5, 2018.