WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for The Girl in the Spider's Web, in theaters now.
As much as we thought The Girl in the Spider's Web would provide clarity regarding Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy), it actually raises more questions than answers, especially with family-related ghosts of old popping up in the hacker's life. In fact, some of the questions even trail back to the first film, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
While a few of these mysteries are inevitably answered by the time the movie ends with Lisbeth recovering and destroying a nuclear hacking program, there are quite a few lingering plot lines we're left wondering about.
What Happened To Lisbeth's Father?
In Dragon Tattoo, she said she tried to burn him alive when she was 12. However, Spider's Web shows her abandoning him and her sister Camilla when she was younger than that, so there's no way the original story still holds up. Maybe she was just feeding her journalist lover Mikael misinformation back then, as she didn't want him knowing the truth.
That said, what makes the dad's background intriguing is, after Lisbeth reunites with Camilla, the latter indicates he died a decade thereafter, which would put them in their 20s. Camilla also hints she may have killed him, not just because he abused her sexually, but because she wanted to take over his criminal organization, the Spiders. With two conflicting stories over the terrorist dad, we'd love to know what really happened to him.
How Did Lisbeth Survive As A Runaway?
After the first movie saw Lisbeth solve the disappearance of young Harriet Vanger, Mikael (now played by Sverrir Gudnason) grew fascinated with her, but he lacked key details about her past. Anytime she's pressed for bits and pieces of her history this time around by Mikael, she teases things but doesn't dive too deep.
Just like him, we're left wondering how did she learn to hack and fight, as she was merely a kid roaming the streets of Sweden. She must have been trained if she were to remain a ghost from the Spiders, so she surely had a mentor. We saw her with her weapons expert/tech guy, Plague, carrying out vigilante work, so there's a hidden backstory as to how she became this crimefighter, especially due to the fact she kept her real name and was still never tracked down.
What Else Did Frans Build With Needham?
In Spider's Web, Lisbeth is hired by Frans Balder (Stephen Merchant) to steal the program he created from the NSA, Project: Firefall, to avoid it being used as a weapon by the American government. When the Spiders steal it from Lisbeth, leaving her for dead, Frans thinks she betrays him and tries to curry the NSA's favor.
While he would end up dying, we learn that he and NSA operative Edwin Needham (Lakeith Stanfield) were responsible for creating these types of highly-advanced software to shift the balance of world-power to America. Lisbeth would recruit Needham to her side later on, but she constantly expresses concern over what else they built besides Firefall. Needham constantly downplays the matter, but Frans' son, August, admits the duo was up to coding even more sinister than that of Firefall.
Are Mikael and Lisbeth Now Together?
In Dragon Tattoo's final scene, Lisbeth came to confess her love to Mikael, only to find out he lied and was continuing an affair with his editor. She left, breaking off contact with him for three years until the Firefall predicament surfaces. As their story continues here, though, we can see the star-crossed lovers clearly pining for each other.
She's still jealous he chose to be an "outside man," while he doesn't believe she could love someone old enough to be her father. However, director Fede Álvarez doesn't include any sexual tension or hooking up like the previous film. They don't even share a kiss. The film ends with Mikael deciding not to write about her anymore, and Lisbeth going back into the shadows, but we can tell there's still a quaint, unspoken love there, especially because Mikael has seemingly broken off his affair and Lisbeth has kept him on as part of her vigilante group.
In theaters now, The Girl in the Spider's Web, directed by Fede Álvarez, stars Claire Foy, Sverrir Gudnason, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks, Stephen Merchant, Claes Bang, Christopher Convery, Synnøve Macody Lund and Vicky Krieps.