Universal is determined to turn its 2012 dark fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman into a franchise with upcoming spinoff The Huntsman, and to help bolster the pic’s teen appeal, the studio is calling on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire breakout Sam Claflin to reprise the role of William, a childhood friend to Kristen Stewart’s Snow White.
Oddly, Stewart is not returning for the follow-up, ostensibly owing to the fact that The Huntsman takes place years before the events of the first film (Universal may have also distanced itself from Stewart after the actress purportedly had a fling with married Snow White director Rupert Sanders). But if the reason that the character of Snow White isn’t involved is that she hasn’t been born yet, or is locked in a tower somewhere, how on Earth does William factor into the mix? Word is that Claflin has a small, supporting role in the story, but exactly how he gets involved is unclear. Suffice to say, his shirt will probably come off.
The Huntsman follows Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) and Eric the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) long before Snow White entered either of their lives. Eric’s quest for a magic mirror places him squarely in the crosshairs of the immensely powerful Snow Queen (Emily Blunt), who is also Ravenna’s sister. Good thing Eric and Ravenna are so chummy, right?
Jessica Chastain has an unspecified role in the pic, while Nick Frost, Rob Brydon, Alexandra Roach and Sheridan Smith play dwarves (seriously, why isn’t Snow White in this thing?).
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, who earned an Oscar nomination for his visual effects work on Snow White and the Huntsman, will make his directorial debut on the spinoff. The latest script is from The Green Mile director Frank Darabont, who split and gave the good ol’ “creative differences” excuse. Previous drafts were by Craig Mazin (Identity Thief) and Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules).
The Huntsman opens on April 22, 2016.