Update: That didn't take very long. The Wrap is now reporting that Johnson, who, after all, was a key component in making the second film work, is negotiating to return. According to the site, the story for the new film will feature both his character Hank and Josh Hutcherson's Sean.
Jane Austen was only partially right: It is actually a truth universally acknowledged that if you have Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine riding giant bees in your film, it will be successful and spawn another franchise entry. The producers behind Journey 2: The Mysterious Island have locked in deals with director Brad Peyton and writers Brian and Mark Gunn to crank out another adventure.
Yes, New Line is clearly pleased that the second Journey movie, which Peyton and the Gunns were behind, has already out-earned the first in worldwide box office receipts after less than a month in cinemas. Since the ink is still drying on the contracts and the writers have yet to put anything on paper, very little is known about the proposed threequel beyond the fact that it’ll be another 3D experience and is being planned for a 2013 release.
Peyton, however, seems bullish about topping the Island’s action. "I grew up a fan of Verne, so I know a lot about the mythologies," he tells the Heat Vision Blog. "Mysterious Island was one of eight or nine really seminal works. I know we've just scratched the surface of what we can do. This one's going to be a lot bigger. We're going to go to a completely different world. It's just going to be a bigger experience and we're going to grow the mythology. Journey 2 was about rebooting a franchise. Now it's about making the seminal work in the franchise."
The ending of Journey 2 did – spoiler alert for all three of you who are still dying to see the film – hint towards a trip to the moon, but we’ll have to wait and see what they decide on after playing a game of Verne roulette.
No deals are in place with the actors yet, so there is no cast-iron guarantee that Josh Hutcherson or especially Dwayne Johnson will return. But you’ve got to figure they’ll be the first on New Line’s phone list…