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Back in 2012, the fairy tale epic Snow White and the Huntsman turned out to be a pretty mixed bag. Made for a high $170 million, the film was able to make nearly $400 million at the global box office, but it also suffered the wrath of sequel or spin-off for years, but nothing has ever materialized. Now something is finally coming together, but it's probably nothing like what you thought it was going to be.
The Wrap has not only gotten word that The Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont is now lining up to direct Snow White and the Huntsman 2, but also that the film will be shifting gears to focus the Huntsman - played by Chris Hemsworth - and is cutting Kristen Stewart out of the story completely. The script is still being put together so nothing is permanent at this stage (sadly no writer is mentioned), but the trade says that "if Stewart does return, her appearance [will] likely be limited to a cameo or a handful of brief scenes." If this does pan out, we can probably expect that the title of the project will drop the "Snow White" part. Perhaps just The Huntsman?
While Stewart's return looks iffy at best, what's interesting is that the film's other female lead is expected to come back for Snow White and the Huntsman 2. Charlize Theron, who played the evil Queen Ravenna in the first movie, is apparently attached to reprise her role. At the end of the last film the character is seen trapped inside her own magic mirror. How she returns is anyone's guess at this point.
From Universal Pictures' stand-point, this idea does make a good amount of sense. Kristen Stewart's brand has certainly weakened to a certain degree thanks to the end of the Twilight franchise, and Chris Hemsworth's star power is just growing and growing. What's more, the performances by both Hemsworth and Theron were singled out by many critics as being the best part of Snow White and the Huntsman, so it's hard to blame the studio for focusing on the best elements for the sequel.
Darabont hasn't gotten an official offer for the job yet, but The Wrap says that he beat out both Warrior's Gavin O'Connor and Mama's Andy Muschietti for the gig. The director has had a good deal of success on the big screen in the past, having helmed movies like The Green Mile and The Mist, but most recently his focus has been on television. He was the showrunner on the first season of AMC's show The Walking Dead and both wrote and directed multiple episodes of the series Mob City. Talks with him for the Snow White and the Huntsman 2 gig are expected to begin soon and because Universal is looking to have the movie in theaters in 2016, we can probably expect that production on the sequel won't start until sometime next year.