A third Tomb Raider movie with Angelina Jolie was very much a reality for a time.
Back in the early 2000s, video game movies weren’t as big a thing as they are today. Sure, the 90s had given us Super Mario Bros, Street Fighter, and two Mortal Kombat movies, but let’s face it, they were more than a little rubbish! These films were also based on games that weren’t natural contenders for a tie-in movie. This was not the case for Tomb Raider, the 1996 video game hit that changed the face of gaming. Sony’s flagship title for their first Playstation console was a massive hit, and with its fully 3D worlds, it gave players a brand new way to experience a game. With a story that adhered closely to the globe-trotting concepts brought to life by the Indiana Jones movies, the game was also a perfect fit for a tie-in movie.
The film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, began development in the late 90s and was eventually released in 2001. Angelina Jolie took on the role of the buxom adventurer and quickly made the part her own. Not only did she have the look of Lara Croft, but she had the athletic prowess of the character too. She trained hard for the part, and according to Pop Workouts, this training included kickboxing, scuba diving, bungee ballet, and swordplay.
It was Jolie’s dedication to the role that made the film a success with audiences, despite the negative reviews it garnered from critics. Paramount Studios decided Lara Croft had franchise potential, so a sequel, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – the Cradle of Life was quickly put into production. This was released in 2003, and while it didn’t reach the previous installment’s $275 million at the box office, there was still potential for a third film in the franchise. Sadly, it never came to pass and the project was buried.
Whatever Happened To Tomb Raider 3?
A third Tomb Raider movie with Angelina Jolie was very much a reality for a time, and website Movie Hole gave readers an update on the upcoming film. They quoted Ian Livingstone, the creator of the Tomb Raider video games in their article. He reportedly said:
“Paramount has optioned [Tomb Raider III] and Angelina has agreed to star in the third.”
In the same article, an unnamed source was reported as saying:
“Angelina is already in training to make sure she gets rid of her post-pregnancy bulge. She wants to be in tip-top shape and look better in Lara’s outfit than ever.”
Chris Barrie, the actor who played Hillary, Lara’s butler in both films, also hinted at a third go-round for the video game character. He even suggested a possible direction for his character to go in, although we’re sure he was speaking in jest. In an article at Tomb Raider Chronicles, he was quoted as saying:
“It’s been good to be part of such a successful franchise. There is a third Tomb Raider film on the slate and I’m hoping Hillary will be back. The perfect storyline would be that Hillary turns out to be both the arch-baddie and Lara’s love interest! Although I’m not sure how Angelina would feel about that.”
Sadly, we never did get to see Chris Barrie return to the role of Hillary, and despite reports that Jolie was in training for the part, we never got to see the actress as Lara Croft again, either. Why? Well, it seems that Jolie herself was responsible for the third film’s no-show.
While on the press tour for the 2004 movie thriller Taking Lives, Jolie stated:
“I just don’t feel like I need to do another one, because I felt very happy with the last one. It was the one that we really wanted to do.”
This confirmed Jolie was done with the franchise, and despite her positivity about the second film, she may have been burned by the poor reviews that the movie received. As an actress, moving onto other film projects probably seemed like the logical choice for her career In the years that followed, she made a number of successful films, including Mr. and Mrs. Smith with then-husband Brad Pitt, The Good Shephard, and the hit graphic novel adaptation, Wanted.
Jolie also threw herself into her humanitarian work, and this was partly inspired by her experiences in war-torn Cambodia while filming the first Tomb Raider movie. Clearly very busy, it is likely that there wasn’t room in the actresses’ schedule to return as Lara Croft anyway.
Despite a long hiatus, Lara Croft did return to the big screen with Alicia Vikander in the role, and a sequel to that film is coming soon. While it would have been good to see Jolie take on the role one last time, it’s clear that the adventures of Lara Croft are far from over.