Snow White and the Huntsman Sequel Director Search Narrows

While everyone was buzzing about Maleficent's box office prowess and the impending Beauty and the Beast live-action adaptation from Disney yesterday, it was easy to overlook the news that the search for a director to the second Snow White and the Huntsman film has seemingly narrowed to three names.

One of the candidates, Frank Darabont, is best known for his film The Shawshank Redemption but was also the director/producer responsible for bringing Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic book series to AMC. This would not be his first foray into feature-filmmaking with a genre twist; Darabont also made The Mist, a Stephen King adaptation (and, of course, the extended runtime of The Walking Dead's pilot made it, basically, a feature-length horror movie as well).

The other candidates, according to Deadline, are Gavin O'Connor and Andy Muschietti. Muschietti would, on paper, seem to have the inside track since he's already been dealing with Huntsman producer Universal on a major, big budget tentpole. Muschietti, best known for the horror flick Mama, was originally expected to direct the reboot of Universal's The Mummy, but they couldn't make the details work.

O'Connor, meanwhile, seems a bit more on the risky, experimental side, having directed smaller films like Warrior and Miracle -- but he's also proven his ability to be a company man when he stepped into salvage Jane's Got a Gun after its first director backed out unexpectedly. If the decision isn't already made by then, a big hit from James Gunn, who has films of comparable scale on his resume, could swing some on-the-fence executives O'Connor's way when Guardians of the Galaxy debuts on August 1.

Rupert Sanders, who directed the first film, will not return following a scandal that broke out when it was revealed he was having an affair with the film's star, Kristen Stewart.

The Huntsman sequel is expected to hit theaters in 2016, which presumably means they need to start filming soon. Deadline claims star Chris Hemsworth had to decline an offer to star in Brilliance because he was doing Huntsman so soon after Avengers: Age of Ultron that there was no time to sandwich a major project in between.