Scream | Melissa Barrera was set for three film arc

Melissa Barrera in Scream 2022
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With spoilers, details have emerged about how Melissa Barrera was to be central to the ongoing Scream series, before her dismissal.

Warning: contains spoilers for some of the Scream films

The award for the most spectacular implosion that we’ve seen happen to a project in the past year undoubtedly goes to Spyglass Entertainment for Scream VII. Following two well-received entries that reignited an ageing series, Spyglass had that most valuable of Hollywood commodities in its possession: a franchise in the ascendancy.

Then came a string of bafflingly poor decisions: refusing to meet the price tag of series mainstay, Neve Campbell. Sacking Melissa Barrera, the new lead of the franchise for publicly expressing humanitarian ideals. Allowing Jenna Ortega, one of Hollywood’s hottest young stars to exit the series, with the timing of her departure making it appear as though she’d left in solidarity with Barrera.

It was all too much damage for the production to bear, and not long after, director Christopher Landon would exit the project too.

There’s no word yet on what Scream VII will now look like, but Spyglass has two options, neither of them particularly palatable: start again with a new cast and hope things work out and/or back up a truck full of money and apologies to Neve Campbell’s door and hope for the best.

And it could have all been so different.

One of the coolest things about the recent Scream films was that Melissa Barrera’s Sam Carpenter had a really interesting arc, linked all the way back to 1996’s Scream, in which Skeet Ulrich’s Billy Loomis was unmasked as one of the deranged killers behind the Ghostface mask.

Ulrich has been talking about that plotline and confirms that it was due to pay off in the planned seventh instalment, telling Screen Rant:

“I was hoping for exactly that, and that’s sort of the idea that was pitched to me a couple years ago. That it was a three-movie arc, with that in mind. Now, I never saw any of the drafts of seven or anything that… And I don’t know, I mean, it’s possible that it didn’t include any of that as well. But yeah, that was my hope is that if it was going to mean anything, that it directly impacted the plot.”

While Ulrich never saw a draft of the script, he confirms that this was the idea in the original pitch and that would have served as a narrative flourish to garnish the trilogy of new Scream films (which did some interesting stuff with the idea of sequels, legacy characters and horror conventions).

Of course, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll ever get to see that version of the film now, and we simply have to wait and see how Spyglass digs itself out of the hole it has made for itself. We’ll bring you more on the next Scream project as we hear it.

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