Universal has decided to go ahead with their sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman with a lot less Snow White (Kristen Stewart) and a lot more Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth). With the departure of screenwriter David Koepp, the studio is now envisioning more of a spin-off with Hemsworth leading the charge. There is also no confirmation one way or the other on whether director Rupert Sanders will return. Though we try to stay out of the gossip end of this business, the well-publicized affair between Stewart and the married Sanders would make it awkward at best for a reunion. The studio declined to comment on that front. Hit the jump for more on this developing story. [Update: The story has prompted a response from Universal on the state of Stewart’s involvement. Hit the jump to see what they had to say.]
[Update: Universal has released the following statement from co-chairman Donna Langley:
“We are extremely proud of SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and we’re currently exploring all options to continue the franchise. Any reports that Kristen Stewart has been dropped are false.”
We’ll keep an eye on this one to see how things shake out over time.]
THR reports that Koepp has been compensated as per his contract, since he was intended to stay on to pen the sequel. Universal seemed gung-ho to move ahead with the sequel as of two months ago, so perhaps the recent bad press surrounding Stewart and Sanders gave the studio pause. Or maybe it was just a good excuse to cut one star and move forward with another. Stewart’s time in The Twilight Saga is coming to a close while Hemsworth will be a draw for years to come if Thor’s hammer has anything to say about it.
Stewart and Hemsworth were optioned for two more films: a planned sequel and a Huntsman spin-off. Cutting Stewart would free up some financial room and centering it on Hemsworth would buy the studio time to find a new writer, as the Asgardian won’t be available until July (when Universal would like to start filming). I’m all for a Huntsman-centric storyline and the first movie actually gave him a compelling backstory that I’d like to see explored in a prequel. Let us know what you think about the potential future of Snow White and the Huntsman in the comments.
On the topic of Sanders’ next project if he doesn’t return for Huntsman, The Playlist is reporting that Universal recently picked up the rights to the upcoming Dean Unkefer book, 90 Church: The True Story of the Narcotic Squad from Hell. The plot follows federal law enforcement officers as they take their own brand of justice to criminals and Mafiosos in the 1960s and 70s. So, basically, Gangster Squad in later years.