2011’s The Adventures of Tintin has proven to be among my favourite of Spielberg’s more recent output. As a lover of the comics and the 90s television series since childhood, this gave me the film I had been dreaming about since I was six, flicking through the pages of Seven Crystal Balls or Secret of the Unicorn. It was fast paced, funny, tense, the performances absolutely nailed the characters right from Herge’s pages and, of course, Spielberg’s mastery of action shone through. The fact that the stunning chase in Morocco, all in one continuous take and spanning multiple levels of the city, is not spoken about more often as of the best action set pieces of 2010s cinema is an unforgivable crime in my book.
Ever since, Tintin fans have wondered when we’ll get the sequel, to be directed by the first film’s producer, Peter Jackson. Generally, it was understood that he’d take on the project once The Hobbit trilogy was finished, and Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider, the new James Bond novels) would be taking up script duties. Since then, however, Spielberg has said that Jackson is working on a different project for Amblin before he works on Tintin 2, and Horowitz has left the project.
The project seems to be in an odd limbo: still coming out, but irritatingly taking a lot longer than was hoped for (and Alice Through The Looking Glass demonstrated how significant an impact drawing out time between instalments can have). So, to help pass the time, as well as fire up the old theory machine that is a fanboy’s mind, I decided to go over some of my own predictions over what we can expect when we finally get this long overdue film.
#1 – What will it be based on?
Given the last film ended on a cliffhanger with regards to the Haddock treasure, the assumption was the next film would adapt Red Rackham’s Treasure, which concludes the Unicorn story in the comics. However, Jackson has stated his love for The Seven Crystal Balls, which also happens to be this author’s favourite story, and the title the film is listed under on IMDB is Prisoners of The Sun, the same as the latter’s sequel.
Given the last film mashed up Crab With The Golden Claws and Secret of The Unicorn, along with some choice elements and nods to Red Rackham and The Land of The Black Gold, it’s not hard to imagine that we could see another combined adaptation: the events of Red Rackham lead into The Seven Crystal Balls and/or Prisoners Of The Sun, depending on how they play with what the Unicorn’s treasure holds i.e. Incan artifacts. Plus, the story’s just packed with cinematic potential: archaeological skullduggery, mummies, lost civilisations, treacherous mountain journeys and even a solar eclipse.
I just hope Crystal Balls gets some love if only to see the infamous Rascar Capac dream sequence done in big-budget motion capture. In the hands of WETA, a whole new generation could be sent running behind seats and having nightmares of living mummies breaking into their rooms.
I, for one, will relish the sight.
#2 – Who will write it?
Out of everything on the project thus far, my biggest concern was with writer Anthony Horowitz. The man is primarily a novelist and Television writer, and his credentials there seem rather solid (Poirot, Foyle’s War, Collision). When it comes to films, however (The Gathering, Diamond Edge, Stormbreaker), that’s where the cracks show. Stormbreaker, which was based on his own children’s spy books, seems like the best point of reference: it’s not terrible, boasting a capable cast of familiar faces (including Andy Serkis, fittingly) but it doesn’t have much energy or pizzazz when it comes to the writing. Often, the film just goes through the motions of a junior spy film that was made to cash in on Spy Kids, with little flair in terms of comedy or action.
With him gone, who knows who will take over. Given Steven Moffat will no longer be show-running Doctor Who by the time this finally gets going, he may come back to finish the trilogy he would’ve originally written for Spielberg. Alternately, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish may be asked back, given they steered the script to completion the first time, and the additional success of Ant-Man doesn’t hurt either.
Given the film’s very European roots, another candidate could well be of that geographic persuasion, so that rules out Spielberg adventure familiars like David Koepp and Lawrence Kasdan. Another veteran of Who and/or children’s media could easily be conjured up, and there’s no shortage of choice: Mark Gatiss, Neil Cross, Frank Cotrell Boyce, Steve Thompson, even Tom Stoppard could be brought in, given he wrote Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, and has credentials comparable to Horowitz or Moffat. Failing that, Jackson could just team with his usual partners, Fran Walsh and Phillipa Boyens.
#3 – Who will they cast?
Regardless if they do Rackham or Crystal Balls, Professor Calculus will very likely make his début in the sequel (one, because he’s one of the series’ central characters, and two, he’s necessary in order for the moon stories to be adapted for a third installment), so that begs the question of who could play him?
An easy pick would be Tom Baker, the ultimate in eccentric older men. This may not seem as cheaply fanboyish as it seems, as not only is Jackson a big fan of Who, having cast Sylvester McCoy in The Hobbit films, but also Tom’s getting high-profile work again, joining the voice cast of Star Wars Rebels as the Bendu. He’s got the voice, the strange semi-distracted quality of the professor yet the underlying brilliance of him, and with the mo-cap, any of the more strenuous stunts can easily be taken by a body double.
Failing that, more obvious and likely picks would be McCoy, Ian Holm, John Hurt, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Bonneville and even Colin Firth (his voice in Zemeckis’ Christmas Carol felt very close to the 90s portrayal of Calculus). All older men, very capable of balancing intelligent with silly or befuddled, and all having either worked with Jackson or had some type of voice over and/or mo-cap experience.
But those are just my musings. There is probably more I could cover, but that would be going outside what is feasibly speculative (other casting choices, runtime, whether or not John Williams will come back to score or if Howard Shore could take over).
What are your guesses and predictions?
Feel free to sound off down below with your own thoughts and suggestions on where our favourite Belgian reporter will go.
Never Miss An Article
Join our mailing list and recieve an email as soon as there is a new article.