The pieces are falling into place on Scream 5, or at least that’s how it certainly appears, as Deadline has confirmed that actress Courteney Cox will be returning to the series as core character Gale Weathers in its upcoming next installment. That film hasn’t been officially confirmed to be titled Scream 5, but as its surviving original cast members sign on—Cox follows her own former husband, actor David Arquette—it becomes clear that the film would have to be another true sequel to the series, rather than a remake or fresh start. That would be keeping with the current trend in horror cinema, which has seen long-awaited direct sequels in series such as Halloween.
Cox has played the determined and self-serving TV reporter Gale Weathers ever since Wes Craven’s original Scream reinvented the slasher genre in 1996 with its meta-analysis of slasher tropes. Along with Arquette’s Dewey Riley, she’s one of only a few characters to have survived the series to date, seemingly bulletproof in terms of her plot armor.
The next Scream installment is scheduled to film in Wilmington, NC, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, two members of the filmmaking collective known as Radio Silence. They brought us last year’s Ready or Not, and have contributed several segments to high-profile horror anthologies such as Southbound and V/H/S. The screenplay, meanwhile, comes from James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick, with original Scream writer Kevin Williamson (who also wrote Scream 2 and Scream 4) serving as an executive producer.
“We can’t imagine Scream without the iconic Gale Weathers and are so incredibly thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to work with Courteney,” reads the statement from Radio Silence. “We’re absolute mega fans of her work and we’re so excited to join her in the next chapter of the Scream saga!”
It’s a nice sentiment, but as members of the old cast sign on, it all points to one big missing piece: Neve Campbell as ultimate final girl Sidney Prescott. Although one might have been able to understand a pure Scream remake at this point, the presence of Cox and Arquette almost demands that Campbell be along for the ride as well. We can only assume that it’s an announcement that will come sooner or later, because it seems like the viability of any Scream 5 would have to hinge on Campbell’s involvement.
As for what kind of territory a Scream 5 could even cover, your guess is as good as ours. The well-regarded fourth installment salvaged the series somewhat after the poorly received Scream 3, but already explored the tropes of a “horror remake,” which would be the most obvious thing to do here. One wonders if there’s really anything left to serve as proper inspiration for a Scream 5 in a way that would be true to the spirit of the series, but here’s hoping that Vanderbilt and Busick find a way. With something good enough to lure back Neve Campbell, of course.
We’ll keep you updated on Scream 5 developments as they appear.