Even Ghostface couldn’t see this twist coming.
The “Scream” franchise lost two stars this week, putting the seventh film in the series in a creative conundrum, according to sources familiar with the project.
Variety Melissa Barrera was fired by Spyglass, the film’s producer, following news that she posted social media posts deemed anti-Semitic (specifically, posts related to the Israel-Hamas war). The decision comes after the company was informed that Jenna Ortega, who has risen significantly since joining the beloved Wes Craven horror series, will not return for a second season of her smash Netflix hit “Wednesday” due to a scheduling conflict. Barrera and Ortega play sisters in the film.
The backlash to Barrera’s exit was intense, with the film’s director Christopher Landon reacting to the events surrounding his exit. He posted and deleted a statement on X on Tuesday that read, “All Chuck. Stop yelling. This is not my decision.
It seemed to some fans that the planned sequel was collapsing in real time. However, even before the dismissal of Barrera, plans for the next “Scream” were again developed. Ortega’s exit forced the creative team to make some changes, according to people in the know, but there was still hope that the actress might return for some sort of cameo. That doesn’t seem to be in the cards anymore. Another source familiar with the franchise denied this, saying Ortega was not in the mix for the new film.
James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, writers of the previous two “Scream” installments, will now create a new draft to present to the filmmakers. Some set pieces and twists may be preserved, but the film needs to find new protagonists. Ortega and Barrera signed on for two “Scream” movies and fulfilled those commitments with installments five and six, another source noted. They will need new contracts for Chapter Seven.
So who should do battle with the masked assassin? The “Scream” movies have a bench of characters who are still alive or can be brought back to life (it’s a horror movie, and the joy of “Scream” is that it doesn’t bury the dead too deep). The series includes original stars Neve Campbell and Courteney Cox. Campbell appeared in 2022’s “Scream,” but did not return for 2023’s “Scream VI” due to a salary dispute. The makers are keen to reprise his iconic character Sidney Prescott. Another possibility would be Patrick Dempsey, who had a scene-stealer in 2000’s “Scream 3.” None of these actors are in serious talks yet.
Spyglass had no comment.
It was hoped that “Scream 7” would hit theaters in 2025. Even if the producers are essentially starting from scratch, that release date still seems possible if Landon and the writers can tell another horror story. “Scream” films do not require elaborate visual effects and can be produced quickly.
All it takes is a good idea.