When The Girl in the Spider’s Web arrives in theaters, it’s going to tell a very different kind of stories than fans of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo may be expecting. Thus far, the films in the franchise–four in total–have cast Lisbeth Salander in a secondary role to journalist Mikael Blomkvist.
This new installment from director Fede Álvarez puts the spotlight directly on Lisbeth, played by Claire Foy, with Dragon Tattoo protagonist Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) settling into the role of sidekick. When asked about that choice by GameSpot, Álvarez explained, “It was the reason to make the movie, really. For me, it was the reason to make the film. For a character that is such a feminine icon, suddenly I realized most of those movies she’s just the sidekick, almost. She’s the coolest character in those movies and those stories but she’s usually there to serve the man’s story.”
Knowing the focus would shift to Lisbeth is what made Foy sign on in the first place. “I hadn’t seen that before in the previous movies, and I was really interested,” she said. “I think if he [Álvarez] had tried to make it exactly how it was before, it would have been kind of a useless exercise, really. But he had a new take on it and an idea of how he’d like to approach it.”
And that new take was the perfect fit for The Girl in the Spider’s Web. The book it’s based on, which is written by David Lagercrantz, delves into the childhood of Lisbeth and introduces her sister as the primary antagonist. It’s a story that wouldn’t make sense told any other way. “This is the perfect opportunity because this is a story you can tell 100% from her point of view,” Álvarez said.
In doing so, there’s a potential for even more films of the franchise that follow the exploits of Lisbeth. As we previously discussed with both Álvarez and Foy, this new film turns the titular Girl in the Spider’s Web into something of a Batman-like figure, a vigilante that works in the shadows to right wrongs as she sees fit.
What remains to be seen is what any further films would be based on. Spider’s Web is the first of Lagercrantz’s two novels in the Millennium series. The author took over the book franchise following the death of Stieg Larson, who wrote the first three entries–The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest–each of which was adapted into a movie in Sweden. In 2011, David Fincher rebooted The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for American audiences, with Rooney Mara (Lisbeth) and Daniel Craig (Mikael) starring. In theory, any of those three books or Lagercrantz’s The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye could be adapted into the next chapter of the current series, but with a stronger focus on Lisbeth.
Whether any of that happens, though, depends on how audiences react to this new Lisbeth Salander. Find out for yourself when The Girl in the Spider’s Web hits theaters on November 9.