If you’re going to reboot ‘Tomb Raider,’ you’re going to need the series best writer

11.18.15 2 years ago

Everything old is new again. If a franchise was popular a decade (or more) ago, you can bet a Hollywood executive is working to resurrect it. Many of these reboots and requels and alternate timelines may seem superfluous to fans. But when it comes to the “Tomb Raider” series, taking another pass at Lara Croft”s story isn”t inherently a bad idea.

Since the inception of the series in 1996, Lara Croft has become a cultural icon. Her legacy has spanned nearly a dozen games and two films. Not all of that legacy has been positive. As gaming graphics advanced, so too did Lara”s sexualization and while she began life as a action-adventure female scientist, debate raged over whether the Tomb Raider could be considered a positive feminist role model. Yet her popularity reached its zenith in 2001 when Angelina Jolie donned Lara”s iconic booty shorts for “Lara Croft Tomb Raider” and the 2003 sequel “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.” Neither film was well received.

Shortly after “Cradle of Life” bombed, Core Design – the company that created “Tomb Raider” – closed their doors. By the time Crystal Dynamics took over development of the series with “Tomb Raider: Legend,” Lara”s glory days were behind her. That is, until the record-breaking success of the rebooted “Tomb Raider” released by Crystal Dynamics in 2013. Redesigning the franchise from the ground-up, the game followed a young Lara Croft on her journey from an average twenty-something trying to become her own person in the long shadow set by her father to a hardened survivor capable of taking on paramilitary cultists. The game sold an astonishing 8.5 million copies, making it the best-selling game in the franchise”s history, and spawned the recently released sequel “Rise of the Tomb Raider.”

All this is to say it”s no wonder interest has been renewed in the long-percolating “Tomb Raider” movie reboot. After five years in development, Hollywood Reporter writes EK Films has finally tapped a director. Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”) is officially on board to bring Lara back to the big screen in his English-language debut. We could debate all day the merits of hiring YET ANOTHER white man with minimal experience to helm a high-visibility action franchise – one starring a woman no less – but that”s its own article entirely. So for right now, let”s chalk that misstep up to Hollywood gonna Hollywood. I”m far more interested in who EK Films plan to hire to write the script.

Reports say Geneva Robertson-Dworet is in negotiations to pen the script. Robertson-Dworet”s writing credits include a prestigious spot on The Blacklist for “Hibernation,” and a co-writing credit on the upcoming “Transformers 5.” This is a good start but it”s not unusual for giant franchises to go through dozens of writers between inception and opening night. Plot details for the film reboot remain shrouded in mystery but at least four writers have already taken a crack at the script – Evan Daugherty, Marti Noxon and Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby. If EK Films is still trying to perfect their version of Lara Croft, why not hire the one woman who”s been living inside the character”s head for three years? Rhianna Pratchett took a icon that had been beaten down into caricature and pulled out a nuanced, flawed, and vulnerable narrative about a young woman surviving her ordeal through sheer willpower and determination to come out the other side forged into a badass. Article after article praised Pratchett”s breathing new life and humanity into Lara Croft.

HitFix Harpy reached out to Rhianna Pratchett to see if perhaps EK Films had reached out to her and she”d turned them down due to her work schedule on “Warrior Daughter” and “Wee Free Men”. That has not been the case. Pratchett confirmed to us that she has not been approached.

“Nope no one has talked to me […]but they know where to find me! If they have a director it probably means they have a solid script that was used to attract that director.”

Since a writer and/or writing team hasn”t officially been nailed down, having a “solid script” seems unlikely. If executives hope to revitalize “Tomb Raider,” they”d do well to take a page from Crystal Dynamics and start over from scratch. Fans don”t need a busty, beautiful Lara Croft but they do need a well-developed, relatable character that can carry the weight of the franchise. Like Rhianna Pratchett said, y”all know where to find her.

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