Universal Pictures' The Huntsman: Winter's War begins long before the events of Snow White and the Huntsman, back when Eric (Chris Hemsworth) served Freya, a.k.a. The Ice Queen (Emily Blunt). However, when Eric and his fellow huntsman Sara (Jessica Chastain) fall in love against the wishes of Freya - who has ordered all of her warriors to harden their hearts - the pair are torn apart and go their separate ways... until years later, when they pair must reunite and save their enchanted kingdom from Freya, who seeks to rule everything by resurrecting her sister, Ravenna (Charlize Theron) - whom you may recall Eric had a hand in killing.
No doubt, you've noticed that Snow White (Kristen Stewart) herself wasn't mentioned anywhere in that synopsis for The Huntsman. In fact, Stewart won't appear in The Huntsman at all, seeing as the film is truly more of a Snow White and the Huntsman spinoff than sequel; at least, that's the impression given by the movie's first official trailer (which you can watch above).
The Huntsman: Winter's War has already been jokingly referred to as a gritty Frozen reboot by some of our readers, thanks to the similarities between Blunt's look as The Ice Queen - in part the creation of Snow White and the Huntsman's Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood - and Elsa from said hit Disney animated musical; not to mention, the fact that the film's story revolves around two sisters in a fairy tale setting (a la Frozen), one of whom has magical ice powers.
The first Huntsman trailer will probably only encourage those Frozen jokes, what with its emphasis on "frozen hearts" and its primary conflict (a faraway land is threatened by eternal winter from a multi-faceted antagonist). In addition, Universal has unveiled additional posters for The Huntsman: Winter's War, which you can check out below:
The Huntsman was originally going to be written and directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption), but he ended up dropping out during pre-production, only to be replaced at the helm by Cedric Nicolas-Troyer (the visual effects supervisor on Snow White and the Huntsman). Meanwhile, the film's script is credited to Evan Spiliotopoulos (Hercules (2014)) and Craig Mazin (Scary Movie 3 & 4, The Hangover Part II & III) - writers who make their living working on the movie studio assembly line, as opposed to storytellers with distinct creative voices. In other words, The Huntsman seems to really be all about branding for Universal and producer Joe Roth (Alice in Wonderland, Maleficent), as further evidenced by the Winter's War subtitle for the film.
Then again, who knows; if the Huntsman mythology is expanded in a creative fashion here (more than said trailer lets on), perhaps there will be more to Winter's War than meets the eye at first. Otherwise, the film seems to amount to an attractive cast and shiny visuals being used to sell a hollow franchise... one that few movie buffs seem to have really been asking for, in the first place.
The Huntsman opens in U.S. theaters on April 22nd, 2016.
Source: Universal Pictures