The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Sony Pictures' The Girl in the Spider's Web might see Natalie Portman or Scarlett Johansson take on the role of iconic protagonist Lisbeth Salander Columbia Pictures

Don't Breathe director Fede Alvarez is set to helm an eagerly-anticipated sequel to Sony Pictures' The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. And in current movie news, it has emerged that Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson are both potential candidates for the lead role in The Girl in the Spider's Web.

The studio plans to skip adaptations of Stieg Larsson's second and third novels and jump straight to the events in the fourth book – written by David Lagercrantz and published in 2015 (11 years after original author Larsson's death).

In David Fincher's 2011 film instalment – an English-language remake of the 2009 Swedish adaptation – Rooney Mara played the lead female role Lisbeth Salander. An expert hacker, she reluctantly agrees to help disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) investigate what happened to the teenager of a wealthy family who vanished 40 years prior, in order to redeem his reputation.

The Girl In The Spider's Web takes place over a year after the first, with Salander and Blomkvist not having spoken for a long time. But the duo soon become involved once again as they embark on uncovering a tangled web of spies, cybercriminals, and governments around the world.

The second literary instalment The Girl Who Played with Fire (which was never adapted by Sony) continued the pair's interwoven tales from the first, with Blomkvist's working on a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation running between Eastern Europe and Sweden. However, on the eve of publication, the two investigating reporters are killed and Salander's fingerprints are mysteriously found on the murder weapon.

Thanks to his unwavering belief that his former acquaintance is innocent, Blomkvist gets swept up in the ensuing criminal investigation while the Swedish police attempt to hunt Salander down. While on the run, the latter is forced to revisit her dark past in an effort to move past it once and for all.

The third, entitled The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, starts moments after the second. However, Salander is now literally fighting for her life and seeks revenge against the corrupt individuals who have allowed vulnerable citizens, such as herself, to suffer abuse and violence.

Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson
Rooney Mara and Noomi Rapace have previously played the character Ian Gavan / Frazer Harrison / Getty

"I'm hugely excited and grateful for this opportunity," Alvarez, 39, said of the new movie. "Sony has become family to me and I can't think of a more thrilling project to celebrate our relationship. Lisbeth Salander is the kind of character any director dreams of bringing to life. We've got a great script and now comes the most fun part – finding our Lisbeth."

With Alvarez and Fast Girl's Jay Basu already having worked on a drafted script by Steven Knight (Locke), the instalment is scheduled to start filming in September 2017. It is expected to reach US cinemas on 5 October 2018.