'Journey to the Center of the Earth'Do sequels need the stars of the original in order to be successful? The people behind Journey to the Center of the Earth 2 are ready to bet on a big fat "no," according to a report at Deadline. Good old Brendan Fraser only wants to return to his starring role as Professor Trevor Anderson if Eric Brevig, director of the first Journey, is on board to helm the project. Such loyalty is normally to be commended. Alas, Brevig is tied up with the 'sure to be a future classic and inspire a sequel' Yogi Bear and will not be available in time for the production of Journey 2 to get rolling so as to meet its foreordained November 2011 release.

Thus, New Line and Walden Media are ready to go with Brad Peyton (the upcoming Cats & Dogs: Revenge of Kitty Galore) in the director's chair. They are also said to be preparing a script that positions young Josh Hutcherson as the star, just in case Fraser sticks to his guns. (Hutcherson played Fraser's nephew in the original.) The risk for the finance boys is that Journey 2 will be shot in 3D and boast a hefty budget; they think Fraser is the "magic ingredient" that powered The Mummy and its sequels, as well as the original Journey, to box office success. Personally, I think Journey made big bucks because of the novelty of its 3D effects -- it was one of the first, if if not the first, narrative features shot in that premium process. You could stick any pretty boy on the front of that money train and do about the same business.

Still, for all you Brendan Fraser fans out there, all I can say is: "Don't stop believing."