David Fincher’s American remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo released over the 2011 holidays to earn strong critical praise, including an Oscar win and four additional nominations. At the box office however, it only earned back its production budget in American theaters, faring well enough internationally for the studio to push forward with a sequel to the Rated R mystery thriller. But they won’t be pushing too fast.

The Girl Who Played With Fire was intended to release next fall but a few hurdles – the lack of a director and needed script rewrites being two – may prevent this from happening.

Entertainment Weekly has the scoop that screenwriter Steven Zaillian is still working away on the sequel’s script and that Sony/Columbia Pictures won’t move on the project until it’s up to snuff. What this means for The Girl Who Played With Fire is that it’s now less likely it’ll release with a 2013 date and instead could be pushed back into 2014.

Fincher isn’t signed to direct the sequel but he is the obvious first choice for the gig and has the option on his contract to do so. Like the studio, he could be waiting on the script revisions before deciding but he has made it clear that he’s interested. For the Swedish adaptation of the trilogy, a similar situation presented itself in that Niels Arden Oplev directed Dragon Tattoo, with Daniel Alfredson taking over to helm the two sequels. Different screenwriters penned each installment and they all managed to release much closer together than the big-budget American counterparts will.

The Girl Who Played With Fire picks up a year after the events of Dragon Tattoo where Daniel Craig’s Mikael Blomkvist and Rooney Mara’s Lisbeth Salander haven’t had any contact since the events of the first film. Most of the story of the sequel has the protagonists on their own separate journeys, although interconnected as they help each though a more complicated case within a more complicated story.

With the news of the script rewrites, we now wonder how plausible it is that both sequels shoot back-to-back if Fincher returns. He previously suggested that as his production strategy if he helms the sequels and perhaps that’s part of the delay in getting both screenplays ready. If it is, the studio and audience will benefit from the releases of the sequels not being as spaced apart.

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Source: EW