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Universal denies rumours Kristen Stewart has been dropped from a Snow White Sequel after her short-lived affair with director Rupert Sanders.
Rumours that Twilight actress Kristen Stewart has been dropped from a possible sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman due to her affair with director Rupert Sanders have been denied by Universal Pictures. Although Universal have confirmed that they are doing everything they can to keep the series alive, the fate of the franchise hangs in the balance while studio executives scramble to sort out the mess.
News of the affair between Stewart and Sanders broke last month, after the pair were photographed in a compromising pose. Stewart had been in a long term relationship with Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, while Sanders is married to actress Liberty Ross and has two children with her. Ross has had small roles in some recent films, including W.E and Snow White and the Huntsman, in which she played Snow White’s mother.
Something of a media storm was instigated by the affair, with both Stewart and Sanders coming under heavy fire. Far more of the mudslinging has been directed at Stewart however, perhaps due to the almost mythical status of her relationship with Robert Pattinson, perpetuated by legions of hardcore Twilight fans (Twi-hards). The short-lived affair (for which Stewart has issued a rather cringe-worthy public apology) has undoubtedly damaged the public image and career of both parties.
As soon as the affair was made public, speculation arose concerning the future of the Snow White and the Huntsman series. Universal had planned to make at least one sequel to the film, which achieved a global gross of approximately $389m, and the scandal surrounding Stewart and Sanders has not deterred the studio from this course. Co-Chairman of Universal Pictures, Donna Langley, has stated ‘we are extremely proud of Snow White and the Huntsman and we’re currently exploring all options to continue the franchise… Any reports that Kristen Stewart has been dropped are false.’
It is still unclear if the next film in the series will be a sequel or a spin-off. It has been suggested that one way out of the quagmire may be to pull the focus of the franchise away from Snow White and back onto the Huntsman (played by Chris Hemsworth), thereby enabling Sanders to return as director without causing too much awkwardness for everybody. Unfortunately for Rupert Sanders (who made his directorial debut on the film), this is extremely unlikely to happen.
If it comes down to a choice between keeping him on as director or inviting Stewart to reprise her role, it seems almost certain that Universal will come down on the side of Stewart rather than risk losing their star attraction. Making a Snow White movie that doesn’t actually include Snow White would a be a huge risk, and alienate most of the audience before production even began. As of yet, there are no clear pointers as to which direction the franchise will take.