Will Daniel Craig be written out of the ‘Dragon Tattoo’ sequel?

If this “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” sequel ever ends up happening, Daniel Craig may find himself being left out in the cold.

Sony is said to be haggling with the actor over his salary on proposed follow-up “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” a state of affairs that’s reported to be holding up the project’s forward momentum. Though the studio has an option on the star for two sequels (both of which would be adaptations of the final two books in Stieg Larsson’s “Millenium” trilogy), The Hollywood Reporter is claiming that “Skyfall”‘s $1 billion gross has become a major sticking point in the negotiations.

In short, while Sony is looking to cut costs on the follow-up in light of the first film’s underperformance relative to its budget (it made $233 million worldwide based on a $90 million production cost), Craig and/or his representatives want more money for his services, not less – the latter possibility of which has presumably been suggested by studio brass.

So what next? Sources have indicated to THR that if an agreement can’t be reached, Craig’s character, investigative journalist Mikael Blomkvist, may be written out of the script altogether – not an impossibility given that the main thrust of “Fire”‘s narrative revolves around genius punk hacker Lisbeth Salander (Oscar nominee Rooney Mara, already on board for the sequel). Of course, doing so would require shelling out more money for the script, which has already been written by the very expensive Steven Zaillian (“Moneyball,” “American Gangster”), who also penned the screenplay for the first movie.

On top of all of that, director David Fincher’s involvement in the sequel remains an open question, as the director has several other projects in play at the current moment, including Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” and Fox’s adaptation of the Gillian Flynn thriller novel “Gone Girl” being produced by Reese Witherspoon. Meanwhile, all 13 episodes of his Netflix series “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey are slated to debut on Netflix this Friday, Feb. 1 (check out Alan Sepinwall’s interview with the director about the show here).

Any “Millenium” series fans care to comment on the possibility of Craig’s character being completely written out of the second film? Let us know in the comments.