Last year, Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media revived the Scream franchise with a new entry (the fifth) that was a box office hit, earning almost $139 million at the global box office. Fourteen months later, Scream VI came along – and became an even bigger hit, pulling in almost $169 million at the global box office, a number that was up there with the series’ heyday, when the first Scream and Scream 2 made just over $170 million. (Scream 3 also made over $160 million – only Scream 4 failed to crack $100 million.) So, of course, the companies are moving full steam ahead with Scream 7. While the movie seemed, initially, to be on the fast-track to success, having a fan favorite director at the helm and a returning cast of hot stars, the recent firing of lead actress Melissa Barrera has cast a shadow over the film.
Here’s everything we know about this increasingly controversial addition to the franchise:
WHO IS THE DIRECTOR?
There is no director! Indeed, Christopher Landon, who made Happy Death Day and Freaky was supposed to make the movie, he ended up quitting, saying “it was a dream job that turned into a nightmare.” Why? We’ll get into those reasons later.
While the first four Scream films were directed by the late, great Wes Craven, Scream (2022) and Scream VI were both directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who form the Radio Silence team with producer Chad Villella. At the Scream VI premiere, Bettinelli-Olpin and Gillett were asked about the possibility of Scream 7 happening. They replied, “We hope (there will be a Scream 7). We want to be watching Scream movies, whether we’re involved or not, for the rest of our lives.” They wanted to direct the next sequel, but they got wrapped up in making their Universal Monster movie (a project once known as Dracula’s Daughter). With that film completed, perhaps Radio Silence will return to continue the franchise. Whatever the case, Radio Silence remains attached to the project as executive producers. Most recently, it was revealed that John Hyams, who previously collaborated with Kevin Williamson on the indie Sick was being considered alongside an “unidentified female director.”
MELISSA BARRERA FIRED
Melissa Barrera entered the franchise with the fifth Scream as a character named Samantha Carpenter, who turns out to have been the daughter of original Ghostface killer Billy Loomis and Christina Carpenter, a character who has not yet appeared on screen in any of the films. Barrera was back as Sam in Scream VI and was expected to return for Scream 7… but she won’t be. On November 21st, Spyglass Media confirmed that Barrera had been fired from the project. Their reasoning: “Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech.” Apparently Barrera had made comments on social media regarding the situation in Israel and Gaza that didn’t go over well with Spyglass.
When Barrera was still expected to be in the movie, she was hoping Samantha’s mom Christina (who is also the mother of Sam’s sister Tara, played by Jenna Ortega) would be showing up in the film as well. She even knew who she’d like to see play Christina: Salma Hayek. That’s very unlikely to happen now. Barrera was also hoping the next sequel would explore Sam’s mental health.
Whatever the case, Barrera does not seem to have been cowed by her firing, with her joining a pro-palestinian protest at Sundance, where her latest (well-received) movie Your Monster premiere. She’s also got another movie with her Scream directors Radio Silence, coming out in April. That film, Abigail, is getting good buzz and she’s been front and center in the advertising campaign. Many of the stars seem to be on Barrera’s side, with her recently reuniting with much of the cast at a gala event, while Hayden Panettiere, who co-stared in Scream VI, called it “unfair and upsetting”.
JENNA ORTEGA WANTED (AND DESERVED) MORE MONEY
The day after Melissa Barrera’s firing was confirmed, it was revealed that her co-star Jenna Ortega had also exited the project. In addition to playing Tara in the Scream movies, Ortega plays the title character in Netflix’s Addams Family series Wednesday – and since season 2 of Wednesday is scheduled to film in Ireland through the spring and summer next year, her Scream 7 absence is blamed on scheduling conflicts. About a week later, it was confirmed that Ortega, who’s not only starring on Wednesday but is also a lead in Beetlejuice 2, wanted a substantial salary increase. Spyglass, who seem to be rather tight-fisted with actor salaries refused, so Ortega walked away. So we won’t be seeing either of the Carpenter sisters – who formed the “core four” group of characters with the Meeks-Martin twins (Jasmin Savoy Brown as Mindy and Mason Gooding as Chad) – in this next film.
NEVE CAMPBELL TO RETURN… WITH PATRICK DEMPSEY?
Neve Campbell played heroine Sidney Prescott in the first five Scream films, and was expected to reprise the role of Scream VI… but then she dropped out of the sequel over a pay dispute. When asked if Campbell might be brought back for a Scream 7 or if the filmmakers had given up on her, Bettinelli-Olpin replied, “We’d never give up on her. We love Neve, and we love Sidney. So we’d love to be able to make another movie with her, and we’re not giving up.“ Original Scream screenwriter Kevin Williamson, who has been involved with several of the sequels in some capacity, has spoken out in support of Campbell. He said, “I totally respect her opinion… I know exactly where she’s coming from, I know her well. I love and adore her and that’s what she did. It’s right for her. I love everyone involved in Scream and all I can say is, pay her the money. That’s what I would do, I would give her the money.” For her part, Campbell holds no ill will towards the films, recently praising the 6th film.
With Barrera and Ortega out of Scream 7, new reports suggest that Spyglass is indeed trying to entice Neve Campbell to return, along with newly minted Sexiest Man Alive, Patrick Dempsey, who played her love interest in Scream 3. The character, a cop named Mark Kincaid, is widely believed to be married to Sidney is the Scream universe, with her name-dropping her husband, Mark, in the fifth film. Most fans believe she’s referring to Dempsey’s character, and that the two got married and started a family following the third film.
So now the big question remains, will the Meeks-Martin siblings be back without their pals?Don’t get your hopes up, with Jasmin Savoy-Brown recently revealing that she hasn’t received a call from Spyglass. We’ll have to wait see, but we’re thinking this Scream movie is going to be shelved indefinitely.
Do you think we’ll get a Scream VII in 2025? Let us know in the comments.