The Girl in the Spider's Web explained

Peter Thompson
Photo credit: Sony Pictures

From Digital Spy

Ever since David Fincher's US adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo came out back in 2011 fans have been demanding a sequel – but remain bewildered that a second instalment never materialised.

The film received strong reviews and was nominated for five Oscars but it was somewhat of a disappointment financially, so the follow-up, The Girl Who Played with Fire never got the greenlight. (Outside of the original Swedish-language trilogy, of course.)

As the years flew by public interest in a second film began to wane and talk of the project all but dried up. Yet despite all the odds, here we are seven years later and we finally have a sequel – kinda.

The Girl in the Spider's Web: sequel or reboot?

Photo credit: Sony Pictures

The Girl in the Spider's Web is the latest Dragon Tattoo film in the American series. It is an adaptation of the book of the same name and serves as somewhat of a reboot to the franchise.

But how does it connect to the 2011 film? Is it a sequel? Is it a reboot? Potentially it's both. Confusingly, it's being marketed as both a 'soft reboot' and a sequel to Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Why? Ultimately, the studio decided to adapt the fourth novel instead of making the second film in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire.

The fourth novel was also a bit of a reboot itself, as David Lagercrantz took over writing duties and continued the series after the death of its original author and creator, Stieg Larsson.

Photo credit: Sony Pictures

The reasons for jumping ahead and making the fourth book in the series are unclear. Given how much time has passed and the lack of original stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara, the studio likely wanted to market this new version as its own thing, abandoning any ties to the first film.

This new one recasts the series protagonists Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist, so it can be viewed as its own stand-alone adventure – yet it still draws from the world established in David Fincher's film.

Does it connect to David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?

It's not clear yet what this film shares with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The characters are the same, although recast. The story itself isn't connected to Dragon Tattoo (ie it's not part of Larsson's 'Millennium' trilogy) it's an entirely new story which doesn't require you to have seen the previous film.

Photo credit: Sony Pictures

But The Girl in the Spider's Web is still intended to take place in the same world and timeline as Dragon Tattoo. From what the trailer suggests, the film borrows liberally from the tone and style established in David Fincher's film so there is a continuity present across both versions. It may have undergone a lick of paint, but the house remains the same.

In terms of plot points we will have to wait and see. Although it'd be surprising if there weren't a few Easter eggs to find in tribute to Fincher's film.

The book concerns Blomkvist and Salander's investigation into a shady league of cyber-criminals led by someone calling himself "Thanos". No, seriously.

Girl in the Spider's Web cast: who is the new Lisbeth Salander?

Claire Foy is swapping tiaras for motorcycles to play the expert hacker and vigilante this time around. Foy is best known for playing Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown and is currently starring in Damien Chazelle's First Man alongside Ryan Gosling.

Photo credit: Sony Pictures

Icelandic-Swedish actor Sverrir Gudnason will take over as Mikael Blomkvist.

The director is Fede Alvarez, best known for the Evil Dead 2013 remake and horror flick Don't Breathe. Perhaps his chops as a horror filmmaker will lend themselves nicely to the darker, grizzlier material present in The Girl in the Spider's Web.

The film is written by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Eastern Promises, Locke and Allied).

Girl in the Spider's Web release date: when is it out?

It opens November 9 in the US and November 21 in the UK.

Is this the start of a new franchise?

No word yet – It's safe to assume the studio will be hoping this film is successful enough to reignite the Dragon Tattoo series as a potential franchise. It's a shame we never got to see the sequels to Fincher's version, and it is unlikely this new incarnation will go back and adapt those books. If a sequel to this film emerges, it'll likely be in the shape of the fifth book, The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye.


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