Unearthing Legends: The Arrival of Tomb Raider's Animated Series on Netflix

Very few characters in the entertainment and storytelling universe reach the status of legend – and even those who rise to such a lofty place are few and far between. Lara Croft, the fearless adventurer and relic hunter of the beloved Tomb Raider franchise, is a legend whose influence has been felt by scores of millions around the world. On 5 October, Netflix is bringing the legend of Lara Croft back to life in an all-new form in the eagerly anticipated Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft. Here’s everything fans need to know about the awaited series and why it’s bound to be a landmark addition to the Tomb Raider universe.


Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft – the new animation series featuring our globe-trotting adventurer – will be available on Netflix from 10 October. The announcement was accompanied by a gripping new trailer, showing the series’ animation and tone. Picking up the story after the narrative arc of the Survivor Trilogy, the series focuses on Lara’s intrapersonal conflicts and what really makes her a hero. The story follows Lara’s quest to retrieve ‘a dangerous and powerful’ artefact that has been stolen, promising a mix of suspense, action and the inner turmoil of our heroine coming to terms with her destiny.


Directed by a dream team of creators, The Tomb Raider anime is a Legendary Television and Powerhouse Animation production (the studio behind the Castlevania anime). Series creation comes from the extraordinary Tasha Huo, executive producer and writer of The Witcher: Blood Origin, and the actress Hayley Atwell brings the muscular legend of Lara Croft to life with her voice (she’s appeared in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning, among other films). Lara Croft is a legend that endures because she feels true: a woman equal parts tough and vulnerable who reinvents herself over and over again.


The Legend of Lara Croft, however, was distinct from another Tomb Raider adaptation in development for Prime Video that will adopt a more comedic tone, with Fleabag’s Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Both projects feature the same much-beloved main character, but the Netflix animated series has the potential to create a new narrative continuity for Lara’s already complicated saga because it is set after the events of the Survivor Trilogy, and because the storyline promises to include more fleshed-out character development.


The story and character backstory involved in the Tomb Raider franchise (as well as the iconic empowered treatment of Lara Croft) helped not only gaming, but also mainstream media and pop culture appeal to a broader demographic, while still satisfying the inner adventurer in all of us. The Netflix series demonstrates the continued enthusiasm for Lara Croft and proves that one has to be difficult to defeat.


Directed by Stephan Franck, the creator of Marvel’s Iron Man: Rise of Technovore, The Legend of Lara Croft is set to offer the kind of visuals you’d expect from a Weta-visuals movie, bringing the exotic locations and thrilling action of the Tomb Raider games to animated life. The animated series can allow for an imaginative exploration of fantasy and character expression that we have yet to see in a Tomb Raider narrative.


Lara Croft’s continuing evolution through video game, film and now animation serves as a testament to her staying power, and to the universal story in which she stars. From the blocky chiselled heroine of 1996, captured on the characters and textures of the technology of the era, to a more nuanced personality in her most recent appearances, Lara Croft remains an ambitious character, reflective of the mediums in which she appears and their audiences’ evolving expectations. By exploring Lara’s inner life and the moral shades of her adventures, the new Netflix series promises to push even further into the legend of Lara Croft.


With the arrival in October of Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft, fans of the videogame franchise, older and new, are set to inaugurate a new lifestyle through a fresh avatar of the kind seen in Netflix. It promises to capture the cultural dissemination of Tomb Raider narratives in yet another inexhaustible realm.


At the centre of it, however, is not exploration or treasure-hunting, but a story of resilience, of shaming one’s past and demons, and of finding your way to be a hero in your own right. This is a series that places Lara at its heart – her growth, her choices, and her journey to being her own woman. This is a series that is about why we love Lara Croft in the first place.


And now, just as Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft is set to debut on Netflix, the time has come to reclaim a role model for a new generation; a woman of strength, brains and adventure who heralds the dawn of the Archaeology Club – at last brought back into our orbit. This series is her story. This series is the legend of the once and future Lara Croft. This series is the beginning. This series is EPIC. The Tomb Raider: The Legend of Lara Croft series is produced by Lucinda Flowers Television, in collaboration with the Eidos/Square Enix production team. All characters are copyright of their respective owners. It is based upon the original work by Toby Gard and the original story by Glenn Trotman.

Jun 02, 2024
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