The hardest thing for a franchise to do is to let go of the past—after all, the past is practically the definition of a film franchise model. In the case of Wes Craven’s Scream, that means a constant focus on ultimate final girl Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), even in a film like 2022’s Scream reboot, where she played a tertiary role. We actually quite liked that movie, and its efforts to establish a new generation of primary players to drive the Scream franchise forward—in fact, we wrote afterward that the best decision for Scream 6 to make would be to leave its legacy characters behind entirely, most notably Sidney and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), in order to finally let the new characters take on the burden of being true protagonists.
Now it seems that this is pretty much what is happening, albeit not quite in the way we would have desired. Deadline is reporting that Campbell says she will not be appearing in 2023’s upcoming Scream sequel, although it’s not because the script was written without her—it’s because they simply wouldn’t offer her enough money to make it worth her while. Suffice to say, this is pretty much what no one wants to hear, suggesting that the original Scream 6 script calls for Sidney’s presence, but that they now have to rewrite it to remove her. Effectively, one might call this “the worst of both worlds.”
Reportedly, Campbell said the following:
“Sadly I won’t be making the next Scream film. As a woman I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream. I felt the offer that was presented to me did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise. It’s been a very difficult decision to move on. To all my Scream fans, I love you. You’ve always been so incredibly supportive to me. I’m forever grateful to you and to what this franchise has given me over the past 25 years.”
It’s tough to know what to make of that; whether Campbell is actually ready to step aside from the franchise or is simply trying to weaponize public opinion against Paramount so they ultimately make her a bigger offer a month from now. At this point, it’s hard to imagine that the studio would turn away from the “requel” conventions that made this year’s film a significant critical and commercial hit, and chief among them is the presence of the “legacy” characters. We would hardly be surprised if a savvy Campbell manages to turn her public disapproval into a bigger payday and secret appearance.
Of course, all of this could have been avoided with a script that purposely eschewed all the legacy characters from the beginning, in the name of finally allowing new characters to flourish. But we were never holding our breath on that one. We’ll bring you more developments on Scream 6 as they arrive.