Alicia Vikander, fresh off her Oscar win for “The Danish Girl,” has now been cast to play Lara Croft, one of the most famous and intensely debated icons in video game history.
Lara Croft was introduced to the world with the release of Eidos’ 1996 video game, “Tomb Raider.”
The franchise quickly became known for its strong blend of action-adventure and platformer gameplay, as Croft navigated puzzles and obstacles to find supernatural treasures.
Lara Croft soon gained praise among video game critics for being a tough, resourceful female protagonist in a male-dominated medium, achieving icon status alongside the likes of Mario and Link.
However, some critics claimed that Croft was a blank slate for gamers to project their ideals onto and lacked defining characteristics of their own. Her design has also been attacked as one of the defining examples of female oversexualization in video games.
The criticism has been shared by those involved with the franchise. Toby Gard, the developer who created Lara Croft, did not like how the character’s sex appeal was being used as a marketing strategy. Gard left the franchise after making the first game and would not return for nine years.
Angelina Jolie was also not pleased with the revealing outfits she was asked to wear when playing Croft in the 2001 “Tomb Raider” movie. Jolie claimed that Croft’s image was a bad example for young girls and asked for a redesign.
By the time Jolie returned to do a second “Tomb Raider” film, she was given outfits that, while form-fitting, were appropriate for the cave exploration that Croft was known for.
In 2006, Toby Gard returned to the franchise to create a rebooted “Tomb Raider” trilogy with Eidos Studios. Gard co-wrote the story for the games, giving Croft a deeper backstory and a more defined personality.
In 2013, Square-Enix took over the “Tomb Raider” series and rebooted it again, taking Croft back to her first adventure just after college to show how she became an explorer and treasure hunter.
The new Croft replaced sexuality with hardship, as she found herself shipwrecked and forced to survive without food or supplies while being hunted by a murderous cult. The 2013 game also shows Croft coming to terms with killing others to stay alive.
Now Alicia Vikander, who gained praise among critics and feminists alike for her thought-provoking performance in “Ex Machina,” is set to put her spin on Lara Croft.
Vikander’s Croft will reportedly be based on the recent Square-Enix games and will aim to make Croft feel “like a real human being.”
Twitter went into a state of reverie Monday when photos of Alicia Vikander as Lara Craft leaked on social media.