This is one of those bits of news that I believe to be premature: a sequel to Dances with Wolves is being produced, titled The Holy Road. Based on the novel by Dances author/screenwriter Michael Blake (who is again adapting his own work here), the movie will focus on Lt. John Dunbar, aka Dances with Wolves, and family 11 years after the original story takes place. Interesting announcement, but the reason it's too soon to report is that we can't appropriately care about the project without mention of Kevin Costner. Variety somehow avoids even naming the actor-director, who won Best Director and Best Picture Oscars for the first movie. Never mind that The Holy Road replaces Costner as director -- that should have been a point to address at least -- but there's not even a comment about how the production would love to cast the guy in the role. This could simply be a sore subject, or simply an attempt to distance this project from the original, especially considering Variety mentions Comanche, the Native American tribe portrayed in Blake's novels, rather than Sioux-Lakota, which are represented in the 1990 movie. Aside from Blake, it doesn't appear that anyone involved the first time around is back for the sequel.

Costner's replacement at the helm is Simon Wincer, director of the McMurty miniseries Lonesome Dove and its prequel, Comanche Moon, which hits your television at the end of the year. He also did other TV westerns, including the recent Spielberg-produced Into the West and the L'Amour adaptation Crossfire Trail, as well as the Australian western Quigley Down Under. So, he certainly knows the genre. But none of that really matters to The Holy Road if Costner isn't Dunbar/Dances. And of course, Mary McDonnell needs to reprise her role as Stands With a Fist, who is still married to Dances and has three children with him. The main plot of The Holy Road follows her being kidnapped, along with her youngest, by white rangers. Hopefully we get to watch Costner as the husband who runs to her rescue, and not some poor substitute. By the look of things, though, I'd say we'll have to settle for a double replacement.