In the weeks following the Sony e-mail hacks, which made public thousands of privately circulated messages relating to the studio and its practices, it was revealed that Charlize Theron was to be paid substantially less to reprise her role in this film than her returning co-star, Chris Hemsworth. Theron, herself a proven box office draw, refused to sign on to the film unless Universal agreed to pay her the same salary as Hemsworth. The studio accepted her terms, and both Theron and Hemsworth were paid just over ten million dollars each for the film.
Universal Pictures originally planned this film as a sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), but then dropped Kristen Stewart from the film. It was speculated that this was because of her widely reported affair with the previous film's director, Rupert Sanders. However, Universal's statement in August of 2012 emphatically denied that Stewart had been dropped from the film because of any indiscretion, and that the studio was exploring all options: it was eventually decided that this film would instead be a prequel about the Huntsman rather than Snow White.
Chris Hemsworth, who plays the Huntsman, is also famous for playing the Norse god Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Emily Blunt's character is named Freya, which is also the name of a Norse goddess. Freya is associated with love, magic and death. According to legend, she was married to the god Od, who vanished one day. Freya searched the entire world to find him, gaining a new name in every land she passed through, but unable to find him again. The brokenhearted goddess cried tears, which became gold, and her experience made her particularly sympathetic to lovers.
The pieces of the chess set in the opening scene are made from Onyx, which gives them the appearance of being made from ice crystals. They are quickly carved and cheaply mass-produced in Mexico. They are made to look like Mayan Temples and Pyramids.
Chris Hemsworth plays Marvel hero Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Emily Blunt, who stars alongside Hemsworth in this film, was Marvel's first choice to play Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow in Iron Man 2 (2010), but she was forced to turn the role down due to a prior commitment to film Gulliver's Travels (2010), and the role eventually went to Scarlett Johansson instead.
The film was released a month before another film with "war" in the title, "Captain America: Civil War," based on the Marvel comic. Chris Hemsworth plays the Marvel comic hero Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Emily Blunt was the original choice for another Marvel comic hero, Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, but turned it down and Scarlett Johansson was cast. Chris Hemsworth does not appear as Thor in Captain America: Civil War (2016).
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Jessica Chastain's character, Sara, is mentioned in Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) as being the Huntsman's late wife, who is discovered to be alive, but was thought to have been dead, due to an Ice Queen deception.
In the Blu Ray extended edition there is a final scene at the end of the credits of a dark haired queen Looking out of her castle window. It is Snow White who is finally free now that the mirror has been destroyed.