I’m sure that most of you are at least aware of the scandal that surrounds Snow White and the Huntsman. For those that aren’t, here’s the gist: director Rupert Sanders had an affair with actress Kristen Stewart. Naturally the tabloids have had a field day with this, both due to the fact that Sanders is married and has children and because of Stewart’s relationship with Twilight co-star (and potential Cronenberg regular) Robert Pattinson. Needless to say, this has complicated Universal’s plans for a follow-up.
Before SWATH hit theaters, Universal was already talking up another entry and officially confirmed development on one shortly after its release. David Koepp was hired to pen the sequel and everyone was expected to return. Once the scandal hit the gossip rags, things began to change. Rumors leaked out that Universal was already (or at least planning on) talking to other directors and that Sanders would not be called on to helm Part Deux, despite supposedly being contracted for it.
It appears the tide has changed. Kristen Stewart, at this stage, will not be reprising the role of Snow White in the sequel. The real question here is “why”. Why is Stewart not coming back? The current scuttlebutt is that she has been dumped by the studio, but I’m not so sure I believe that. For one, it would be far easier to replace the director than Stewart. Two, word already came through almost two months before release that Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman would be the focal point of any sequel if the film did well. Perhaps, she didn’t feel the need to stick around for the next entry, especially if her screentime would be greatly diminished?
Thirdly, Kristen Stewart just walked from Nick Cassavetes’ thriller Cali shortly before production with no official reason given at this time. While she will be contractually obligated to wheel herself out and promote Twilight 5: The Vengeance of Twilight Tweenlighter in a few months time, it seems to me that she is attempting to retreat from as many appearances…both public and professional…as possible for the foreseeable future. As far as I can tell, she has nothing else lined up at the moment and I wouldn’t be surprised if she keeps it that way for a year or two. Staying out of the limelight and living off of her Twilight fortune is probably a smart move on her part, honestly. While it’s sad (and sexist) that her career will likely be hurt the most by the entire situation, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
So has Universal truly fired her from the franchise in favor of keeping director Rupert Sanders around? I doubt it. Given the direction they were going, it’s not surprising that Hemsworth and Sanders will be front and center. While I missed Snow White and the Huntsman in theaters*, it seems obvious from those that saw it that Hemsworth’s performance and Sanders’ visuals, along with Charlize Theron, were among the highlights.
I’m told that things are left open at the end for Snow White to return. Perhaps, given that Universal wants a trilogy, Lady Who Breaketh & Entereth (and Prince Creeper) might be saved for the third film? Or appear in a small role and just be recast? Who knows. Given that this is Hemsworth’s franchise now, the shooting of the sequel will definitely have to work around his Marvel schedule and whoever potentially plays Snow White in a sequel will probably just be determined by who is available at the time. Chris starts work on Thor: The Dark World this month and while Avengers 2 is on the horizon, it won’t go into production for almost another two years. Hemsworth is attached to two other projects currently (Shadow Runner and In the Heart of the Sea), but I’m guessing Hunstman 2 will take priority out of his non-Odinson work. Don’t be surprised if this sucker is filming this time next year.
What say you, Chewers? Has Universal chosen wisely in keeping Sanders around and losing KStew, whatever the true reason may be? Do you even care either way? Shout it out either way below and in the forums.
One thing you should care about though: Bob Hoskins will not be returning for the sequel either due to recently being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and retiring from acting because of this. Double bummer. Best wishes to Hoskins and his family. You’ll be missed, Eddie!
* – I actually wanted to catch it, but higher priorities took precedence. I’ll definitely say that of all the potentially compelling elements in the film (Hemsworth, Theron, the dwarf cast, the visuals, etc.), Stewart’s presence was not one of them for me.