Snow White and the Huntsman 2, which has begun making forward progress again, has attracted some impressive filmmaker names; a reported director shortlist revealed that Oscar-nominated writer/director Frank Darabont (creator of The Walking Dead TV show) and Gavin O’Connor (Miracle, Warrior) are among the directors to have recently been considered to helm the project. Today, multiple outlets are reporting that Darabont has begun negotiations with Universal, in order to reach a deal for him to call the shots on the followup to the studios’ 2012 fairy tale re-imagining/blockbuster.

Deadline, which broke the Snow White and the Huntsman 2 director shortlist, is reporting that Darabont has now entered proper negotiations with Universa for him to oversee the project. That site also claims that studio heads consider the project to be a spinoff more than a sequel – as the focus will be shifting from Snow White (Kristen Stewart) to the eponymous Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth). Darabont’s pitch for how to achieve that, is reportedly what convinced Universal that he’s the right man for the job.

Stewart previously indicated that she will reprise as Snow White in the sequel, but that was back in late 2012 – and according to the latest Deadline report, it’s not a given that she’ll appear in the film at all. A separate report by The Wrap emphasizes that no script has been locked down yet, but that if Stewart does return for the Snow White and the Huntsman spinoff, she will likely “be limited to a cameo or a handful of brief scenes.”

Frank Darabont is in talks to direct ‘Snow White and the Huntsman 2′

Now, the claim that Snow White and the Huntsman 2 is likely to be centered around the Huntsman isn’t new; even before the first movie hit theaters, it was being reported that the spotlight will shift to Hemsworth’s character in the followup. David Koepp (Spider-Man) was the first writer recruited to handle the task, but it sounds as though his story/script work has been essentially abandoned.

Hemsworth, best known for playing Thor in Marvel’s Shared Universe, isn’t a guaranteed huge draw at the box office when he portrays someone other than the God of Thunder (not yet, anyway), but then again, neither is Stewart as a character other than Snow White or Bella Swan. That said, a franchise built around Hemsworth and set in the Snow White and the Huntsman world, doesn’t sound like a bad idea from a business perspective.

Darabont’s possible involvement, however, is what should make another Snow White and the Huntsman movie sound interesting to your average film buff. He not only created the runaway hit Walking Dead TV show (based on the comic books) and gave us what many consider to be the zombie series’ better/best seasons, but Darabont also has three well-received Stephen King novel-to-movie adaptations under his belt: the universally-beloved The Shawshank Redemption, the generally acclaimed The Green Mile, and the overall well-received The Mist.

Kristen Stewart as Snow White

A movie set in the Snow White and the Huntsman universe would benefit from a director who is not only adept at bringing depth to familiar character archetypes, but also one who could bring out both the inherent horror and fantasy genre aspects of that world – in other words, someone like Darabont. The first Snow White installment earned an overall lukewarm-to-cool critical reception, but Hemsworth’s character was widely considered to be one of the film’s best elements; so, again, bringing him back sounds like a smart decision.

One idea I threw out before was for the Snow White and the Huntsman sequel to explore what Snow White is like serving as Queen and thus, enter into some Game of Thrones political intrigue/fantasy territory. However, it sounds as though the followup is moving in a very different direction – and, in all fairness, that might be for the better anyway.

Snow White and the Huntsman 2 (not the official title) is currently expected to reach theaters in 2016.

Source: Deadline, The Wrap