No More David Fincher for The Millenium Trilogy
So it was recently announced that Sony has finally shown serious interest in continuing with the Millenium trilogy after it was also revealed that a fourth book in the series, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, will be released later this fall. Which means we may not have seen the end of Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist on the big screen. It all sounds very exciting for fans, but the excitement gets a little buzzkilled by the fact that there are reports of Sony wanting to combine the second and third book (The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) into one movie and then conclude the film trilogy with Spider’s Web. But that’s not everything.
While stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara are expected to reprise their roles from the first film as well as producers Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal, the man who gave us The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, David Fincher, will not be sitting in the director’s chair this time. This is really sad for fans to hear because Fincher’s direction is part of what made the first film as good as it was.
This isn’t the first time other directors have taken over different films in a franchise. Just look at the Harry Potter and Star Wars films. Harry Potter had seven films and four different directors, and Star Wars has seven as well (yes I’m including The Force Awakens even though it hasn’t come out yet) and five directors. Similarly, the Batman franchise has had seven films as well and three directors. You get the idea. The point is, these movies had multiple directors to keep the series fresh by bringing in other artists’ visions and always keeping things interesting, which is acceptable, but this is a trilogy. Imagine the Lord of the Rings trilogy with different directors, it most likely wouldn’t have felt the same because what made those films work was Peter Jackson’s incredible enthusiasm for Middle Earth that kept the trilogy consistent and it just felt special–that is when it’s not tainted by the memory of the recent Hobbit trilogy at least, yikes (I still wish Guillermo del Toro had been passed the torch but life is unfair like that). The same applies to Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather trilogy (the third’s pretty flawed but it needed the Coppola touch), Park Chan-Wook’s “Vengeance” trilogy, and Sergio Leone’s “Dollars” trilogy. The director’s vision was crucial to what made those work.
Incidentally there’s a double-sided coin to this concept that can’t really be ignored for argument’s sake. On one side of the coin, where keeping the same director didn’t work (or directors in this case) was the Wachowski’s Matrix trilogy, but that’s a slightly different case because The Matrix was made to be a stand-alone film first, and then when it became hugely successful, the studio wanted more films and things got rotten from there. The other side of the coin where other directors getting involved in a trilogy isn’t so bad is the Bourne trilogy, which you know, unlike The Matrix, already based on a series by Robert Ludlum. After Doug Liman signed off as director after The Bourne Identity, Paul Greengrass took over, and took the series in a much grittier, and critically applauded direction than the first one. But that’s an unusual exception.
Considering that the Millenium trilogy is an action-packed and intelligently-written storyline not unlike the Bourne trilogy, maybe it could follow suit and be handled well by other directors. But Fincher started off The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo so strongly as our intro to the series that having another director trying to follow up what Fincher created just feels like a pretty challenging feat. It’d be one thing to just try out a different style for the last two films, but why bother fixing what isn’t broken? I’ll be positive about this though, because now it means Fincher won’t be tied down to these two films and can pursue whatever projects he wants.