Just as filming is set to begin on The Huntsman sequel with plans to keep the film on schedule for its April 22, 2016 release date, crew and casting changes have put a further wrinkle in that plan. Coming Soon reports that director Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist) is no longer involved with The Huntsman, and although the parting between Darabont and Universal was amicable, this news does leave The Huntsman without a director.
This isn't the first bit of trouble to befall the The Huntsman so early in its development. The original concept was a sequel that was to see returning star Kristen Stewart as the heroine, but that idea was altered to place Chris Hemsworth in the hero's role and minimize Stewart's role, before cutting her from The Huntsman altogether. Following the confusion regarding The Huntsman's actual plot, the only confirmed news has been that both Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth would definitely be returning.
All of the news isn't bad however. According to Screen Crush, Emily Blunt is currently in talks to star as The Huntsman's evil Snow Queen, the sister of Charlize Theron's character, Ravenna, from the first Huntsman film. As the title suggests, The Huntsman will follow Chris Hemsworth's character on a quest to retrieve the stolen magical mirror. His journey will force him to face ghosts from his past in addition to pitting him against the evil Snow Queen. The Snow Queen, who it seems will be played to perfection by Emily Blunt, is seeking revenge for the death of her sister, Ravenna (Theron). Universal has not yet confirmed the addition of Emily Blunt to the cast of The Huntsman, but official announcements are expected next week.
The first film, Snow White and the Huntsman, was a huge success, bringing in a worldwide total gross of $400 million, so a sequel has always been inevitable with only the details of the plot in question. The latest Huntsman script was Darabont's brainchild, so it remains to be seen whether that story will survive these latest changes, or if a new director will bring in a new story to The Huntsman as well. Many fans have commented that they would like to see The Huntsman take a darker turn, while critics would have liked to see much more of the villain (i.e. Charlize Theron's Ravenna) throughout the film. Fans and critics may all get their wishes with the addition of a new director for The Huntsman and with Universal bringing Emily Blunt to the mix.
Ms. Blunt is best known for her roles in the sci-fi action films Edge of Tomorrow and Looper. More recently, Emily can be seen in Sicario, a crime drama directed by Denis Villeneuve (Enemy, Prisoners).
Fans hoping for a darker fairy tale will definitely get their heart's desire, if Ms. Blunt has anything to say about it. It wasn't long ago that Emily professed her love for dark fairy tales.