Scream 7 just lost its two leading ladies. Rather than see their departure as a disaster, the franchise should instead embrace this for a new direction.
In 2022, after almost a decade, the Scream franchise revived itself with Scream (later rebranded as Scream 5). This was another of the “nostalgia movies” going around with original stars Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courtney Cox, but also a clever way of using the past movies and the mix of both sending up and celebrating the slasher genre.
At the center were the Carpenter sisters. Sam (Melissa Barrera) had left the town of Woodsboro under a cloud, mostly due to how she was the daughter of Billy Loomis, the killer from the first movie. Sam returned when a new Ghostface killer attacked her younger sister Tara (Jenna Ortega). That set up a wild story ending with the sisters defeating this Ghostface.
The movie was a hit, with 2023’s Scream VI moving the story to Manhattan as both Tara and Sam handled a new Ghostface threat, and Sam continued to face the dark side of her father’s influence.
With that also a hit, it seemed things were set for a seventh film. However, on Nov. 21, 2023, it was announced Barrera was being let go, due to her social media posts about the Israel-Hamas war. Both Barrera and Spyglass have released statements about her firing.
Less than 24 hours after the actress’ exit, word came that Ortega was also bowing out. The reports are that it was a scheduling conflict with filming season 2 of Wednesday and that Spyglass was informed ahead of the actors strike but the timing has had tongues wagging.
Regardless of the reasons, this means Scream 7 (which doesn’t have a script yet) will have to go forward without the Carpenter sisters. So what can happen for this saga?
Bring on fresh faces
Scream VI was notable for the first film Neve Campbell’s Sidney Prescott didn’t appear in. While that may have marred it a bit, it also showed the franchise could go on a bit without her. And that’s something the filmmakers should embrace a bit more.
While Sam and Tara were fun characters at times, the drama of Sam’s fears of her dad (complete with visions of his ghost urging her to murder) could be rather melodramatic, if not outright silly. It’s also hard to see how much more could have been done with the sisters as they already had addressed their traumas and personal issues pretty well.
It’d be nice to see the Carpenters finally get a life away from this madness. the seventh film can also bring in a fresher wave of actors who can spark the franchise better. If the Carpenter sisters brought in some great new life to the movies, imagine what some other characters can do given the right storyline.
Buck conventions more
Bringing in newer characters can return the franchise to the “anyone can die” aspect that made the first movie so notable. The writers can even have some fun by showing what looks like a new heroine in the Sidney/Sam mode, ready to take on Ghostface and then shockingly kill her off midway through.
The strength of the Scream movies has been the fun way they play on the conventions and tropes of the slasher genre. This can be the same with some in-jokes on “the old leads are gone, there’s new blood but also more targets” and embrace how they have to change things up.
Social media can be more fun to use as well with Ghostface upping the game and maybe even creating a cult around him. Maybe also finally having a police force prepared for this killer would be a refreshing turn to spice it up more. Either way, the new film should continue the trend of biting the hand that feeds it and even address the fan concerns on “the cast changes but the thrills are the same.”
Bring back the right faces
It might be good (and probably the best bet) that the producers get Campbell to return to close out Sidney’s story once and for all. Courtney Cox is also a likely safe bet for a return as Gale.
But one of the best parts of Scream VI was Hayden Panettiere returning as Scream 4’s Kirby, now an FBI agent. She brought a great edge to the role as a former survivor of Ghostface, now hunting a new one, and had great banter with others. Bringing her back to investigate a new Ghostface with a fresh cast can be fun.
There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia, but Scream 7 can be better moving away from so many older faces and just using one or two. Right now, it’s up on the air with the film as it hasn’t even begun production yet. But perhaps the producers can use this loss of the two main stars to their advantage and give the franchise another fun reboot that can spark the series once more.
All the Scream movies are streaming on MAX.