David Fincher is one of the most meticulously talented filmmakers of the modern era, but he’s hardly the first name that comes to mind when you think of blockbuster franchises. Of course, he made his feature debut on the third installment of the Alien series almost 30 years ago, but the music video wunderkind discovered that he was way out of his depth trying to fight against the wishes of the studio, and he’s basically disowned his involvement in the movie.
Still, the 58 year-old has come surprisingly close on a number of occasions to tackling several big budget properties, having been the original choice to helm Mission: Impossible III before dropping out due to creative differences with Paramount, and he was also circling Brad Pitt’s World War Z sequel until he opted to focus on Netflix’s Mindhunter. Beyond that, he once pitched a subversive take on Spider-Man to Sony in the 1990s and was famously attached to tackle Disney’s mega budget remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea for years.
One of his projects that was clearly designed with further adventures in mind, though, was his remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and the plan was originally to shoot the second and third entries back to back. The dark crime thriller earned over $230 million at the box office against a $90 million budget and received enthusiastic reviews, but the planned sequels never materialized.
Instead, Fincher moved on and The Girl in the Spider’s Web was a full-blown reboot that roped in an entirely new cast and crew, and then proceeded to bomb hard. For those interested in catching a glimpse of what might have been if he had remained in charge, though, Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is coming to Netflix next month on January 5th.