New Line Cinema has been pushing for a sequel to their surprisingly fun (and surprisingly lucrative) Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D for awhile now. Unfortunately their star hasn’t been interested. It was back in April that we first heard Brendan Fraser might bail on Journey 2 if they went forward with it, and now it’s happened.

Deadline says Journey to the Center of the Earth 2 is happening with Brad Peyton in the director’s chair and Brendan Fraser anywhere but on the set. Fraser won’t be involved at all, sort of baffling when you consider his recent career path. It’s not like he has standards or anything and Journey was pretty much the only halfway decent thing he’s done in more than half a decade. It seems Fraser was loyal to the film’s previous director Eric Brevig, and Brevig was too busy with Yogi Bear to do the sequel.

Apparently there’s still some slim but unlikely chance that Brendan could still put on his 3D glasses and join in the fun, but for now it’s safe to assume Journey is moving on. If he’s out, Josh Hutcherson will become the movie’s lead. In the last film he was the annoying little kid who got into all sorts of 3D trouble. Recently he’s grown up and New Line will hope a young adult Hutcherson can carry a movie.

They’re also betting on mostly unproven director Brad Peyton who has 3D experienced, having recently directed the post-converted Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore. I know, who’d have thought that would be a plus on anyone’s resume? Apparently it is.

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