“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

We’re only a matter of weeks away from the premiere of the highly anticipated “Snow White and the Huntsman” prequel titled, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”.

With an all-star ensemble for its cast (Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain) and a visual feast thrown into the mix, it wouldn’t be too premature to say that the British-American dark fantasy action-adventure film is set to blow our minds.

The Huntsman Winter's War
Freya (played by Emily Blunt) in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”. (Source: Universal Pictures)

The plot is as follows:

Long before the Evil Queen Ravenna was thought vanquished by Snow White’s blade, she watched silently as her sister Freya, the Ice Queen, suffered a heartbreaking betrayal and fled their kingdom.

With Freya’s ability to freeze any enemy, the young Ice Queen has spent years in a remote wintry palace raising a legion of deadly Huntsmen, including Eric and warrior Sara, only to find that her prized 2 defied her one demand: forever harden your hearts to love.

The Huntsman Winter's War Freya Ravenna
Emily Blunt & Charlize Theron in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”. (Source: Universal Pictures)

When Freya learns of her sister’s demise, she summons her remaining soldiers to bring the Magic Mirror home to the only sorceress left who can harness its power. But once she resurrects Ravenna from the Mirror’s golden depths, the wicked sisters threaten this enchanted land with twice the darkness it’s ever seen.

Now, their amassing army shall prove unbeatable unless the banished Huntsmen who broke their Queen’s cardinal rule can fight their way back to one another.

Not stoked enough yet? To best prepare you for the film, here are some little known “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” fun facts:

1. Rupert Sanders was dropped from the film following his highly publicised scandal

Kristen Stewart Cheating Rupert Sanders
“Snow White and the Huntsman” director Rupert Sanders & Kristen Stewart. (Source: Daily Mail)

A sequel to “Snow White and the Huntsman” was planned, with director Rupert Sanders in talks to return. However, it was announced in the aftermath of the scandal involving Sanders cheating on his wife with actress Kristen Stewart after their involvement with the first film, the sequel was shelved. In its place was the plan for a spin-off film concentrating on the Huntsman instead.


2. “Snow White and the Huntsman 2” was scrapped and Kristen Stewart was removed

Kristen Stewart Snow White and the Huntsman
Kristen Stewart in “Snow White and the Huntsman”. (Source: YouTube screenshot)

Universal Pictures’ “Snow White and the Huntsman” sequel originally included Kristen Stewart in its cast line up. However, she was removed from the film, supposedly because of her indiscretion with director Rupert Sanders. In August 2012, Universal released a statement to deny that she was dropped from the film (for the indiscretion) and said that they were exploring all options instead, which later turned out to be the prequel, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”, starring Chris Hemsworth.

2. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” could’ve been directed by “The Walking Dead” creator

Frank Darabont on the set of AMC's "The Walking Dead". (Source: ew.com)
Frank Darabont on the set of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”. (Source: ew.com)

Former “The Walking Dead” showrunner Frank Darabont was supposed to helm “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”. However, he exited the film as he parted ways with Universal Pictures about half a year after the release date was announced. At that time, he had already written the most recent draft of the screenplay. According to sources, Frank left the over “creative differences” and THR said that he’s “not known for a small ego or manageable temperament”. Luckily, Universal was able find another director and moved forward without delay on the project.

4. Be in for a beautiful visual treat your eyes will appreciate

Source: YouTube screenshot
Source: YouTube screenshot

French film director and visual effects artist Cedric Nicolas-Troyan helmed “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”. Cedric may not be well known to the general public, but he worked on “Snow White and The Huntsman” as the second unit director and visual effects supervisor. He was also the second unit director on Disney’s “Maleficent“. Cedric’s work on “Snow White and The Huntsman” earned him an Academy Award nomination in 2013 for “Best Visual Effects”. If you’ve watched any of the “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” trailers, you’d notice that there are some short clips of the outstanding visual effects. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Be prepared for an orgasmic treat for the eyes!

5. The ironic significance of the name Freya

Freya rode in a chariot pulled by 2 black or gray cats. (Source: viking-mythology.com)
Freya rode in a chariot pulled by 2 black or gray cats. (Source: viking-mythology.com)

Edge of Tomorrow” star Emily Blunt plays the Evil Queen Ravenna’s sister, Freya the Ice Queen. Freya is also the name of a Norse goddess, associated with love, magic, and death. According to the legend, she was married to a god named Odr who vanished one day. Freya searched the entire world to find him, getting a new name in every land she passed by, but was unable to find him again. The broken hearted goddess cried tears which became gold, and the experience made the goddess particularly sympathetic to lovers.

6. Freya often gets compared to Elsa of Disney’s “Frozen”

The Huntsman Winter's War Freya
Emily Blunt as Freya the Ice Queen in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”. (Source: YouTube screenshot)

Unsurprisingly, Freya is getting compared to Elsa from Disney’s hit animated film, “Frozen“. Emily Blunt told The Telegraph, “There have been many ‘Frozen’ comments. But that was always going to be the risk when you play someone with long white hair. And I suppose I might be called Elsa by girls in the street, who are wondering why Elsa has become so mean.” The only difference between Freya and Elsa is that the former has been consumed by evil, while the latter still cares for her family and friends.

7. “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” was mostly shot in England

The refectory at Waverley Abbey with fake vines and rubble added for use as a film set for "The Huntsman: Winter's War". (Source: Wikipedia)
The refectory at Waverley Abbey. (Source: Wikipedia)

In April 2015, filming for “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” kicked off at Waverley Abbey in Surrey, England. Waverley Abbey was the very first monastery founded in Britain by the reforming Cistercian religious order. Fake vines and rubble was added to the refectory at Waverley Abbey for the production of “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”. Other filming locations include Windsor Great Park, Wells Bishop’s Palace, Wells Cathedral and Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean.


8. It will tell a better story, according to Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth & Jessica Chastain in "The Huntsman: Winter's War"
Chris Hemsworth & Jessica Chastain in “The Huntsman: Winter’s War”

“Snow White and the Huntsman” suffered from poor reception, with a 48% “rotten” score on Rotten Tomatoes based on 215 reviews, and an average rating of 5.6/10. Identifying with that, “Thor” star Chris Hemsworth told Cinema Blend that “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” will tell a better story. “This time around, there’s a solid love story and a great relationship between Jessica Chastain’s character and mine, which is the heart of the story. But it’s a lot more fun, much more in the vein of say, ‘Willow’, or something,” he said.

Watch the trailer below:

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” arrives in cinemas on 14th April 2016.

Meanwhile, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, and Jessica Chastain are expected to grace the red carpet and a fan premiere at Universal Studios Singapore in Resorts World Sentosa on 3rd April 2016.

For more information, visit the movie’s official website.

Sources: moviepilot, Useless Daily, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War” Wiki, Fashion & Style, The Telegraph, Cinema Blend, THR (1) , English Heritage, Deadline, THR (2).

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