Can ‘Snow White and the Huntsman 2′ Succeed Without Snow White?
Imagine a movie just about the Temple of Doom, no Indiana Jones. How about one solely following the Prisoner of Azkaban with no Harry Potter in sight? Having a ‘Snow White and the Huntsman 2’ without Snow White just sounds odd. She is the brand.
As 'Snow White and the Huntsman' hits home video, it’s worth taking another look at where the property will go next. Since my last column devoted to plans for a ‘Snow White and the Huntsman 2,’ a few things have happened. The worst of them, to be honest, is that Bob Hoskins (“Muir”) has decided to retire from acting. So there goes one of the dwarfs. Greater issue for some of the movie’s fans, however, is the possible elimination or minimization of Kristen Stewart and the Snow White role. Goodbye presumed love triangle! So now what?
Regardless of whatever scandals or coincidental studio decisions resulted in the idea, the follow-up to ‘SWatH’ will concentrate on Eric, the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth). It’s a narrative direction that was actually conceived before the first movie opened, though it seems the plans might have had another installment with Snow front and center before spinning this character off. Screenwriter David Koepp’s exit and comments to The Huffington Post hint that there was a sudden reroute.
Okay, so ‘The Huntsman’ it is, and maybe we’ll see a spot of Snow at the opening of the movie as we see our complex hero leave Tabor and head out into the world, for some soul searching or a mission to kill giants or whatever the case may be. That world is one of the greatest fantasy film visions we’ve seen in awhile, so we're excited to see what else is out there beyond the Dark Forest and intrigued by the tremendous possibilities for originality and imagination with a sequel that gets to expand on an adapted world without further story confines of initial source material.
Still, there needs to be something to this movie besides Eric wandering the land. Maybe they can call it ‘The Huntsman and the Dwarves’ and have his adventures include the little providers of comic relief (save for Muir, I guess). But won’t ‘The Hobbit’ kind of ruin that concept with its prestige and likely unbeatable brilliance? (Never mind that the Brothers Grimm came way before Tolkien.)
Perhaps, then, having some pre-existing -- if not as well known -- stories is the right way to go. The movie doesn’t necessarily need to devote to an adaptation of a single work, but the surplus of Grimm fairy tales could provide some elements here and there. One easy basis is “The Skilful Huntsman,” in which Eric could be the titular giant killer. There’s also the similar ‘The Two Brothers,’ involving dragons instead as the foe.
Another related title is ‘The Twelve Huntsmen,’ about women disguised as the title group, and I think that kind of gender play would fit with the feminist themes we encounter in ‘SWatH.’ A huntsman character (or multiple) also figures prominently in ‘Donkey Cabbages,’ ‘The Water of Life,’ ‘The Gnome,’ ‘The Pink,’ and ‘The Boots of Buffalo Leather’ -- but that last one would reveal Eric to be a king in disguise, which would be a bit much.
They could even make this a trilogy of more familiar characters with Eric as a major recurring element. But ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Huntsman’ might be too soon after the lackluster showing for last year’s ‘Red Riding Hood’ movie. Then again, Universal’s take, complete with a new presold audience, could be to that film as ‘SWatH’ was to ‘Mirror Mirror.’
Otherwise, there are literally hundreds of other Grimm tales to mine from, only a fraction of which we’ve seen made into movies. There have been mashes of their work before, in Terry Gilliam’s ‘The Brothers Grimm’ and NBC’s “Grimm” TV series, but there ought to be no associations made since really the focus here is on building another franchise for the growing star, Hemsworth, rather than using the familiar fraternal authors’ name.
And as long as Hemsworth is as popular with both male and female viewers as Universal claims, he could be given any sort of loose or detailed plot so long as he occasionally slays some evil creatures and balances it with enough emoting about his dead wife while conflictingly pining for some new princess or maiden. Also, make the strength of the visuals a priority. I think most of us, whether we went in for the Snow White brand or the cast or anything else, the look of ‘SWatH’ is what kept us there.