Daisy Ridley and The Rebirth of Tomb Raider

Lara Croft for a new generation

Late last week, reports began to come out linking Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley to the role of Lara Croft in the forthcoming Tomb Raider reboot. The project, which has director Roar Uthaug and screenwriter Geneva Robertson-Dworet attached, is said to be almost ready to cast its lead and move forward. It wasn’t until today that Ridley herself confirmed that there have been conversations about the role. “I’m waiting for someone to say ‘I want you, let’s do it,’” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

According to its director, the film would take a lot of influence from Indiana Jones, a franchise that is familiar territory for Ridley’s Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford. The story would go back to the roots of the character, who is a British archaeologist who goes on globe-trotting adventures.

Tomb Raider game publisher Square Enix has spent the last few years rebooting the character with an image that is different than the classic, buxom explorer that inspired two movies starring Angelina Jolie. Not only did the most recent Tomb Raider game pass The Bechdel Test, this new version of Lara Croft is seen more as an athletic, emotionally nuanced character than an object of gamer drool. It’s received high marks from fans of action gaming and feminists alike. This is a good sign for a new generation of Tomb Raider fans. Gone are the short-shorts and in are the more utilitarian cargo pants and genuine human emotions. Lara Croft might actually be a valid role model for young girls.

This is where Daisy Ridley fits in nicely to the plans to build a new brand around Lara Croft. Her performance as Rey has already been a revelation of quality character building and a shining example that a female action hero is not only something that can exist, but something that can carry a movie.

Whereas the 2001 and 2003 Tomb Raider movies starring Angelina Jolie were a mess of muddled action and conflicted sexual politics, this new franchise has the opportunity to be an Indiana Jones-esque adventure starring a female action star who is relatable, tough and capable of imbuing the character with the same nuance that has been found in the recent games. Square Enix has worked hard to successfully reboot this character for today’s world, and the casting of someone like Daisy Ridley might help the new movie advance in a similar fashion.

Originally published at filmschoolrejects.com on March 21, 2016.

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