Well, it now appears that the upcoming sequel Snow White and the Huntsman is essentially going to just be And The Huntsman now, as Kristen Stewart, star of the original film, has been dropped from the franchise.  Certainly, as /Film notes, a multitude of factors went into this decision, but one can’t help but acknowledge that Stewart’s accidentally public affair with the first film’s director, Rupert  Sanders, must have had something to do with Universal removing one of the most recognized actresses in the world from their burgeoning franchise.

While Stewart’s removal isn’t totally out of the blue—Universal had initially planned on making two films centering around Snow White, and then launching a Huntsman spinoff—the decision to rework the sequel as a Huntsman-only adventure starring Chris Hemsworth still comes as something of a shock.  After all, thanks to the Twilight series, Stewart is one of the biggest and most recognized stars in the world, and the lack of her name over the film’s title will certainly cost the spin-off some box office.  No word yet on whether or not original director Rupert Sanders will return, but is it worth noting that once his indiscretion with Stewart was made public, Sanders’ wife, model Liberty Ross, allegedly told the director he was forbidden from working with Stewart again.

Stewart isn’t the only person not returning for the sequel: David Koepp, writer of the original film, began writing Snow White and the Huntsman 2 just two months ago.  However, he will now be settled out of a contract and a different writer will be hired to rejigger the film into a Hunstman spin-off.

Overall, it’s a bizarre move from Universal (despite Stewart’s high price tag and relative level of controversy, it seems dropping Sanders and keeping the actress with enormous box office clout would have been the better call, if the couple’s affair is at the heart of this matter), and it may be some time before we see if the gambit pays off—at the earliest, the Hunstman film won’t begin filming until next July, when Hemsworth wraps on Thor: The Dark World.

What do you think of the Stewart news?