By Jen Vineyard | The Playlist December 15, 2011 at 12:32PM
Even before "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" hit theaters, the filmmakers were planning not one but two sequels -- commissioning writer Anthony Horowitz for at least one of them, which Peter Jackson would direct. The next installments was long thought to be "Prisoners of the Sun," but producer Kathleen Kennedy told The Playlist that they have different stories in mind now for the second film, including one that Peter Jackson had previously said he's a fan of. Moreover, it seems "Prisoners Of The Sun," rumored to be the third movie instead of the second, may not factor it at all.
"'Prisoners of the Sun' was a very, very early discussion, and it isn't under discussion anymore," she said. "We've still got Anthony Horowitz working on the second movie, and we don't know what we're doing with the third movie yet."
The first film incorporates several Tintin stories -- "Secret of the Unicorn," "Red Rackham's Treasure," and "The Crab with the Golden Claws" -- which established the main characters. "We knew that we needed to introduce Tintin, we needed to introduce the relationship with Haddock, we knew [the dog] Snowy was going to be in it," Kennedy said, "so now what we're thinking [for the second film] is what new characters do we want to introduce? Well, we'll probably introduce Calculus and bring him into the fold."
As in Professor Calculus, who was introduced in "Red Rackham's Treasure" as far as the original stories are concerned, but didn't appear in the film. Calculus is a romantic, hearing-impaired scientist who invents a mini submarine as well as a rocket that can go to the moon. He also drives Haddock crazy when he uses unscientific methods that end up working. Since the main story of "Red Rackham's Treasure" is already featured in the first film, one of the other stories to look to that features him heavily is "The Calculus Affair," in which the eccentric inventor is kidnapped.
"We haven't decided yet," Kennedy cautioned about the story, "but that's the direction we're headed."
Although part of "The Secret of the Unicorn" incorporates "The Crab with the Golden Claws," the story's drug smuggling aspect was not included -- but that doesn't mean it won't reappear in future installments, even if the films aim to be family-friendly. "The beauty of what Hergé did is that it is slightly out-of-the-box thinking, you know?" Kennedy said. "Everything we do nowadays is so PC that it's kind of interesting to confront the choices he made, and decide, 'OK, are we going to make the same interpretation? Or are we not going to do it because we think, Oh, maybe that shouldn't be a storyline we should follow?' We're kind of inclined to just stick with what Hergé was doing, and give it a bit of a modern interpretation."
Once the story for the second film is determined, Jackson is still on board to direct, in between some of his "The Hobbit" duties. As for the the third film, that one remains undetermined as of yet.
"It's tricky getting everybody," Kennedy said, "but that's how we did the first movie, sort of passing the baton. When Steven [Spielberg] was available, he'd jump in, and when he was busy, Peter would pick up the slack. It was kind of amazing how they'd work together. We never knew how this would work, but it worked out really, really well."
"The Adventures Of Tintin" opens on December 21st. And if you want to get caught up with "The Calculus Affair," you can watch the full cartoon version below.