Sony have announced that the long awaited sequel to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, will hit theatres on October 5 2018.

However Rooney Mara, who won an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in the 2011 film, will not be returning to the role and instead the search for the new female lead is on.

Rooney MaraRooney Mara will not return for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo sequel

Variety reports that both Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson are among the names in consideration, as director Fede Alvarez begins casting meetings. Johansson had vied for the role that eventually went to Mara in the 2011 film.

Speaking about the character of Salander, Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures said: “In all of contemporary literature, Lisbeth Salander is completely sui generis – probably one of the greatest female literary characters of all time in my view.

“Modern punk defiance personified, she is unforgettable in every incarnation, truly one of the most compelling characters we’ve seen in recent years,” Panitch added.

More: Rooney Mara Recruits Black Lips For Her On-Screen Band Director

Alvarez said: “I’m hugely excited and grateful for this opportunity. 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.”

The Girl In The Spider’s Web will be the first of the best-selling books in the series to debut as an English-language film adaptation, with the previous books all being first adapted into Swedish-language films.