Whatever Happened To The Angelina Jolie-Starring Tomb Raider 3? | TheReviewGeek Investigates

To date, there are 3 adaptations of the popular Tomb Raider video game. Two of them star Angelina Jolie as Sony’s flagship heroine and in a sequel made several years after these releases, Alicia Vikander took on the role of the cave-plundering adventurer.

After the release of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, which was the second of the two Tomb Raider movies Jolie starred in, there was talk of a third movie starring the Maleficent actress.

But as we all know by now, a third movie never happened, despite the continuing popularity of the Tomb Raider video games.

So, what happened to Tomb Raider 3? Let’s take a closer look at the Lara Croft movie we never got to see. 

The Tomb Raider video games

Publisher Eidos and game developers Core Design, the creators of Lara Croft, released the first game in the long-running series in 1996 for PC, Sony PlayStation, and Sega Saturn consoles. The game, which centred around Lara’s quest to find a mysterious artefact called the Scion of Atlantis, was a big hit with gamers and reviewers who had never played a game quite like this one before. 

The game looks quite dated now, with its angular character model for Lara Croft, but back in the 90s, it was something of a revelation due to its fully 3D environments and exciting gameplay elements. One of the game’s best scenes took place within an underground cave system where a T-Rex burst onto the screen, surprising everybody who played that original title.

Core Design’s final Tomb Raider game was The Angel of Darkness in 2003 but it was far from their best effort. Poor controls, a wonky camera, and numerous other technical issues blighted the game that was the first Tomb Raider game on the PlayStation 2. 

Crystal Dynamics took over the development of future games in the series, with the first being released in 2013. This was a reboot for the female adventurer and an origin story for a younger Lara Croft. The 2018 movie with Alicia Vikander was inspired by this title, unlike the Angelina Jolie movies which were loosely based on the games without being beholden to one particular title. 

Angelia Jolie’s Tomb Raider movies

2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was the first movie starring Jolie as the adventurous Ms Croft.

Con Air director Simon West was at the helm of the movie which was a big hit at the box office but which underwhelmed video gamers and film critics. 

The biggest problems with the movie were a shortage of action and little in the way of actual tomb raiding, which were the mainstays of the game franchise. Jolie acquitted herself well in the role, however, and she certainly looked the part. Before filming began, she trained hard for the part, with lessons in kickboxing, bungee ballet, and swordplay. Her training paid off as she fully convinced as Lara so it’s a shame that the story, which involved the quest for a mysterious key that is wanted by the Illuminati, wasn’t quite as compelling as her entertaining performance.

A sequel followed in 2003 with Speed director Jan de Bont at the helm but despite the success of the previous movie, this one didn’t match it in terms of box office receipts. The movie grossed $156 million compared to its predecessor’s $275 million, which might have had something to do with the negative reviews the movie received and the aforementioned Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness game that was rushed to shelves a month before the movie’s release. 

But while the movie was panned by critics, there were still plans by Paramount Studios to make another Tomb Raider movie with Jolie in the lead role. These plans were later abandoned for reasons that we discuss below. 

What happened to Tomb Raider 3?

Jolie’s second Lara Croft movie may have underperformed at the box office but for a time, she was still interested in reprising her famous role in a third movie. 

As reported in this article at Movie Hole, Jolie was back at the gym getting in shape to ‘regain those Crofty curves and monstrous muscles.’  An unnamed source is 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, who played Lara’s fussy butler Hilary in the two Tomb Raider movies, also discussed his possible return to his role and his tongue-in-cheek ideas for the potential sequel when he spoke to the fan-website Tomb Raider Chronicles. He said:

“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.”

In that same article, it was reported that Lloyd Levin, producer of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life, was interested in a third movie because “International returns were more than respectable enough to ensure a final chapter in the Tomb Raider motion picture trilogy.”

The final chapter of the trilogy never materialized, of course. The reason for this? Angelina Jolie. While promoting the 2004 thriller Taking Lives, she dampened speculation for the third movie at a press conference. She said: 

“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. In the first one, I was kind of frustrated, but I was trying something new, and then with the second one, I felt like that’s how we wanted to do it.” (source)

While fans of Jolie and the character of Lara may have been disappointed by her decision not to return to the part, we can’t really blame the actress for moving on. Neither movie received good reviews and while Jolie excelled in the role, she may have been worried that a third movie would harm her career.

Earlier this year, Jolie even expressed her regret at taking the role. She said: 

“I wasn’t satisfied with it. Through the making of that film, we were all still trying to figure out how things worked, and we were trying to make the video game into a person, but still, it was the video game.” (source)

Jolie also revealed that she declined the role of Lara at one stage. But despite her hesitation to take the part, she still garnered a lot of fans as a consequence of the role and it helped to make her a household name.

Her eventual decision to play Lara Croft also paved the way for her humanitarian work as her experiences when filming in War-torn Cambodia on the first movie encouraged her to take on a different kind of calling away from acting. 

Will there be another Tomb Raider movie?

Alicia Vikander took on the role of Lara Croft in 2018 and following the release of that movie, plans were afoot for a sequel. Unfortunately, MGM, who had the rights to the PlayStation heroine at that time, lost the rights in 2022. 

There is some good news, however. A TV series is in the works at Amazon Studios, with a script written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is no stranger to the world of adventuring after her recent appearance in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny. A movie is reportedly in development at Amazon too, although we have no details about either project at the moment.

No star, director, or premiere date has been confirmed yet but if you’re a fan of Lara Croft, you’ll be glad to know that her days as a live-action adventurer aren’t over just yet. 


Read More: Whatever happened to Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider 2?

Did you enjoy Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movies? Were you disappointed that Tomb Raider 3 was cancelled? Let us know in the comments below.


2 thoughts on “Whatever Happened To The Angelina Jolie-Starring Tomb Raider 3? | TheReviewGeek Investigates”

  1. Angelina Jolie is the Real Action orientation that make the movies pop. Lets Look forward to more of Tomb Raider.

  2. Yes , I enjoy It, Angelina Jolie is the best Lara , and very disappointed Tomb Raider 3 was cancelled, wish her can play Lara Croft again.

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