Universal Pictures' fairy tale action/adventure Snow White and the Huntsman was a commercial success when it opened in theaters in 2012 (grossing $396 million worldwide), but the combination of a high price tag ($170 million production budget), the movie's overall tepid critical reception, and behind the scenes scandal drama eventually inspired Universal to skip a traditional sequel that features Kristen Stewart back as Snow White - and instead, move forward with a spinoff titled The Huntsman.
That project, now officially titled The Huntsman Winter's War, will once again star Chris Hemsworth as Eric the Huntsman and Charlize Theron as Ravenna, revealing the shared history between the pair before the events of Snow White and the Huntsman. However, Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow) will be playing the central antagonist of The Huntsman: Freya, The Ice Queen. Meanwhile, Jessica Chastain's (Crimson Peak) role will also of the leading variety, as confirmed by the film's newly-released synopsis.
Here is the official synopsis for The Huntsman Winter's War:
Long before the evil Queen Ravenna (Theron) was thought vanquished by Snow White’s blade, she watched silently as her sister, Freya (Blunt), suffered a heartbreaking betrayal and fled their kingdom. With Freya’s ability to freeze any enemy, the young ice queen has spent decades in a remote wintry palace raising a legion of deadly huntsmen—including Eric (Hemsworth) and warrior Sara (Chastain)—only to find that her prized two defied her one demand: Forever harden your hearts to love.
When Freya learns of her sister’s demise, she summons her remaining soldiers to bring the Magic Mirror home to the only sorceress left who can harness its power. But once she discovers Ravenna can be resurrected from its golden depths, the wicked sisters threaten this enchanted land with twice the darkest force it’s ever seen. Now, their amassing army shall prove undefeatable…unless the banished huntsmen who broke their queen’s cardinal rule can fight their way back to one another.
Character posters have also been released for The Huntsman Winter's War's four leads; have a look at them, below:
The Huntsman posters brings to mind those for Snow White and the Hunstman, in terms of both their general aesthetic and the costume designs by Colleen Atwood. That much should also hold true for the actual movie, seeing as the sequel was directed by Snow White and the Huntsman's own visual effects supervisor, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan (making his feature-length helming debut).
Nonetheless, it sounds as though The Huntsman will serve as a soft reboot of the Snow White and the Huntsman universe, with regard to how it revises the history of the fairy tale-inspired setting while at the same time moving the story forward without Snow White (by means that remain to be explained). Hemsworth as Eric the Huntsman was, by and large, one of the better-received elements of the first Snow White installment - but will this new approach to focusing the franchise around him prove to be effective... or demonstrate that Snow White really should have remained the focus of this story?
Shawshank Redemption director and The Walking Dead season 1 show-runner, Frank Darabont was the mind behind this Snow White sequel/spinoff in the first place, which is certainly encouraging. However, Universal makes no mention of him in its most recent press release; nor, for that matter, it is clear how much Darabont's original Huntsman script was revised, once Nicolas-Troyan was recruited to serve as the director (or who did the revision work on the screenplay).
The film's impending trailer should shed more light on these matters - and possibly, give moviegoers more reason to actually be excited about the Snow White and the Huntsman franchise being continued in this fashion. That said: feel free and let us know what you think of the project so far (based on the new information and posters released), in the comment section, ahead of the first trailer dropping later this week (as confirmed by Theron)!
The Huntsman Winter's War opens in U.S. theaters on April 22nd, 2016.
Source: Universal Pictures