Here's what we know so far about the Tintin sequel. Months of research, tweets addressed to the writer Anthony Horowitz, hours of deciphering from top scientists, quotes from Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg gathered here and there, guessing what's trolling and what's the truth, nights of dreaming about it, and a lot of waiting.
And this is where all this pain and suffering has led us: here are my theories on the Tintin sequels.
There's one thing we know for sure. Calculus will be in the second Tintin movie. It's been confirmed by Anthony Horowitz on twitter, and reported by this very website. We first assumed that Red Rackham's Treasure would be the way to go for the sequel, since it's the book that introduces us to Professor Calculus. After all, they do have to go find all that gold at the bottom of the sea at some point. And for that they need the shark submarine designed and built by Calculus. It all seems logical.
At one point, it was rumoured that the second movie would be an adaptation of the Prisoners of the Sun story. This seemed even more obvious, given the end of The Secret of the Unicorn, where Haddock says "By your account, he looted half of South America" to Tintin, talking about the treasure of his ancestor Sir Francis Haddock. South America leading us to Peru, and the Incas - a key element of Prisoners of the Sun.
But, that rumour was shattered by Anthony Horowitz himself, several times. First in an interview, where he revealed that yes, the plan was originally to have the second Tintin film be Prisoners of the Sun, but plans had changed. This was later confirmed on his twitter account. Now, it appears that the Prisoners of the Sun story could be the third film of the trilogy, still according to Mr Horowitz.
So what of the second film, you ask? Very good question indeed. Thankfully we do have a couple of clues. The biggest one was given by Peter Jackson himself. In July 2012, he was quoted saying the sequel would bring Tintin "to a slightly different genre, a slightly less of a rollicking adventure and something a bit more, a little bit more of a sort of espionage type of story. So it’s a slight tone shift, which I think will be good."
Espionage, you say? Interesting.
Another clue given by Mr Spielberg in February 2012 was that the sequel would be an adaptation of two books. Here's the quote: "It will be more than one book, but no more than two." Pretty cryptic way to announce it will be exactly two books, no?
Anyway, based on the clues we had at that time, it seemed very easy. Calculus introduced, two books, one of them Red Rackham's Treasure, the other NOT Prisoners of the Sun and with an espionage theme.
So, Red Rackham's Treasure and The Calculus Affair, right? Well, no. When we asked him, Mr Horowitz tweeted "I'm not sure I'd put too much money on that." Okay. Fair enough. So Red Rackham's Treasure and The Black Island/King Ottokar's Sceptre/The Blue Lotus. One of those three. That was my guess then.
But today brought new information, in the form of a Steven Spielberg quote, that almost made my brain explode. Here is the dreaded thing: "We're combining two books which were always intended to be combined by Hergé." I'm sorry. What? Could you repeat that Mr Spielberg, please? "We're combining two books which were always intended to be combined by Hergé." Thank you. One more time, please. "We're combining two books which were always intended to be combined by Hergé." Okay... You can go now... That's what I was afraid I heard the first two times.
In the Tintin canon, there are four stories that have been split into two books. Let's see what they are, in no particular order :
- Secret of the Unicorn/Red Rackham's Treasure. Obviously, that can't be the sequel, because the Unicorn story has already been done. Which means - and that's what is so weird about that quote - that Red Rackham's Treasure probably won't feature in the second Tintin film. But then, how will they introduce us to Calculus? More on that later...
- Destination Moon/Explorers on the Moon. This could be it. Only one problem: the moon adventure seems too out there and futuristic to directly follow the Unicorn movie.
- The 7 Crystal Balls/Prisoners of the Sun. We already said it won't be that. Next!
- The Cigars of the Pharaoh/The Blue Lotus. Okay, this is interesting. It introduces the iconic villain Roberto Rastapopoulos. And Chang. Great characters. But still a few issues with this solution: this books were drawn by Hergé in the early thirties, before Haddock and Calculus were introduced. This could be easily dealt with though. And Calculus could very well take the place of absent-minded archaeologist Sophocles Sarcophagus in this story.
But when asked if the sequel would be The Blue Lotus, Steven Spielberg smiled, and said that it could be the third film. What? Come again? I'll just pretend I didn't hear that and consider it good sport trolling from Mr Spielberg - the smiling could be a hint.
So we do have that theory. And just for the sake of it, I'll add pairs of books that can be linked, or if you will, "combined".
- The Blue Lotus/Tintin in Tibet. They have Chang in common.
- King Ottokar's Sceptre/The Calculus Affair. They have the Syldavia/Borduria thing in common.
- The Broken Ear/Tintin and the Picaros. They have Alcazar and the San Theodoros in common.
Out of these three last theories, one that can be plausible is the King Ottokar's Sceptre/The Calculus Affair one. Because Calculus could easily be introduced here, replacing short-sighted Professor Hector Alembick in the Ottokar story. And because Anthony Horowitz said he wouldn't bet on Red Rackham's Treasure/The Calculus Affair. He didn't say anything about King Ottokar's Sceptre/The Calculus Affair.
Now, what about the treasure left at the bottom of the sea. Well I didn't forget about it. And I trust the film-makers won't, either. So that's for the threequel, which could be a bold and amazing adaptation of Red Rackham's Treasure, The 7 Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun.
Let's do a quick recap now. For the sequel I'm thinking either:
- The Cigars of the Pharaoh/The Blue Lotus.
- The Blue Lotus/Tintin in Tibet.
- King Ottokar's Sceptre/The Calculus Affair.
- The Broken Ear/Tintin and the Picaros.
And for the threequel, I have:
- Red Rackham's Treasure, The 7 Crystal Balls and Prisoners of the Sun.
Of course that's all theory, and it all could change with the next Steven Spielberg quote...