Universal’s Snow White and the Huntsman failed to make the impressive splash that some were anticipating; not to mention, the actual film has now become overshadowed by the PR mess resulting from the much-ballyhooed affair between star Kristen Stewart and director Rupert Sanders. When combined, the two issues gave rise to initial reports that a gestating sequel (centered around the widowed Huntsman, played once again by Chris Hemsworth) will not feature Stewart in any capacity.

However, that idea was quickly shot down by studio executives who claimed they were still “exploring all options” for a sequel and were not so disappointed as to go ahead and drop Stewart altogether. To be fair, there was probably some truth to that statement, seeing how Snow White did more than doubled its $170 million budget in theaters worldwide (as for the Stewart-Sanders scandal, well… negative press is still press, after all).

Nonetheless, with Stewart seemingly set to return for the Snow White followup, that’s left Sanders seeking future employment elsewhere (for obvious reasons). The former video game commercial helmer-turned-filmmaker has been linked to projects like the crime drama 90 Church and Tom Cruise’s Van Helsing reboot over the past few months. Furthermore, a new report from Radar Online claims that he’s not interested in a sequel to his blockbuster fairy tale re-imagining, especially since his marriage is still on the rocks.

Hemsworth, Stewart and Sanders on the ‘Snow White’ set

Radar Online also reports that Stewart is signed on return for another Snow White movie, which would begin production in late 2013 – presumably, based on a script drawn up by powerhouse scribe David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Spider-Man). It would indeed make sense for Stewart to have gone ahead and committed to the project at this point, now that her schedule is much more relaxed (what with The Twilight Saga being finished); moreover, as the site points out, better offers aren’t exactly pouring in for the actress right now.

There is one issue that could obstruct such a production time for the Snow White sequel- namely, Hemsworth’s availability. He’s going to be finished soon working on Thor: The Dark World, then turn to Steven Spielberg’s Robopocalypse – and he’s looking to find time for Stephen Gaghan’s Candy Store before he reprises his role as Thor for The Avengers 2. That’s to say: while there is room for Snow White in there, it’s going to be a very tight fit.

More on the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel (spinoff?) as the story develops.

Source: Radar Online [via Bleeding Cool]