Hard to believe now, but there was a time when The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was poised to be Hollywood’s next big franchise. David Fincher’s relentlessly bleak 2011 adaptation was a sizable hit for Sony and MGM, scored a handful of Oscar nominations (including a win for Best Film Editing and a Best Actress nod for Rooney Mara’s chilling turn as hacker Lisbeth Salander) and got copies of the novels flying off shelves faster than ever. But then Fincher moved to greener airport-novel pastures with Gone Girl, Mara ran off for an intimate but forbidden sapphic affair with Cate Blanchett (who can blame her!) in Carol, and the world continued spinning apace.

Today however, Variety reports that the would-be blockbuster series may still have a pulse. A sequel titled The Girl in the Spider’s Web is officially in the works, and Sony executives have set their sights on Don’t Breathe director Fede Alvarez to take the reins of control. Fast-tracked for production next year, the film (apparently skipping to the fourth novel in the series, scooting right past The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest and The Girl Who Played with Fire, which have already been adapted in their native Sweden) will shoot from a script by Steven Knight.

Alvarez has yet to make a firm commitment to the project, but even if Sony does manage to land the director, they’ve still got an even more crucial search ahead of them. At this point, Mara’s said she's up for returning to the role of Salander (which was rumored to be recast with Alicia Vikander last year), but doesn't have much hope. So casting sessions for a new actress who can bring that same homicidally insane je ne sais quoi to the role will surely get going soon. Let the wild fan speculation begin!

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