Opinion: Scream VII cannot recover from casting catastrophe

After Scream IV, Ghostface fans had to wait over a decade for the iconic horror movie franchise to return. However, it was worth the wait for many viewers, who expressed an appreciation for the return of favorites like Courteney Cox while also securing the franchise a bright future with new additions to the series starring front and center. Central performers Jenna Ortega and Mellisa Barrera reprised the roles of Tara and Sam Carpenter in the successful Scream VI. Alas, neither will return in the next installment.

Scream VI trailer cr. Paramount Pictures YouTube

Scream VII loses Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega

Melissa has been dropped from Scream VII after being fired from Spyglass Media in the wake of making pro-Palestine comments on her Instagram.

Reacting to the Israel-Hamas war, The Hollywood Reporter reports that one of her comments read that Gaza is being “treated like a concentration camp… Western media only shows the [Israeli] side. Why do they do that, I will let you deduce for yourself.”

Spyglass Media addressed the situation in a statement reading “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.”

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Days after Melissa’s firing was announced, Deadline reported that Jenna isn’t expected to reprise her role in Scream VII due to her shooting schedule on season 2 of the hit Netflix series Wednesday.

Opinion: Scream VII cannot recover

Scream VII will be directed by Christoper Landon (Happy Death Day), who after the Melissa firing announcement tweeted that “Everything sucks,” along with a broken heart emoji. The tweet has since been deleted.

Now that both Melissa and Jenna are gone, we’re definitely inclined to agree… everything sucks for Scream VII right now.

Upon the announcement of the cast for Scream V, the major draw for the fandom was seeing the legacy characters return, particularly David Arquette as Dewey. Yet, the big breakthrough of the film was establishing a new generation of characters we could expect to lead the franchise from here on out.

There was some bad blood from fans upon learning that Neve Campbell wouldn’t reprise her iconic Sydney Prescott role in Scream VI, on top of not having Dewey back. Nevertheless, the sixth entry was generally hailed as a triumph that cemented a bright future for the franchise, and why? Mostly it was thanks to the Carpenter sisters, Sam and Tara.

Themes of sisterhood and solidarity were prevalent in the previous installment, and both actresses gave absolutely stellar performances that unequivocally proved to viewers that the series has earned the right to look forward and not backward, refusing to remain stuck on the past with over-reliance on legacy characters. In fact, plenty of audiences argued that the legacy characters were the weakest link of Scream VI.

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The past two entries have given us two central characters that are entertaining and fascinating enough to anchor the franchise moving forward. Sam is a particularly valuable character because of her unpredictability and her relationship to Stu and the original Woodsboro killings. At the end of Scream VI, we’re led to suspect that she has the potential to succumb to her darkest impulses and is yet to, perhaps even fated to become the psychopathic slasher one day, which would be an interesting concept for the movies to continue exploring.

On the other hand, with both Melissa and Jenna out, the only way to press on would be to recast the two leads, and let’s face it, fans would be furious about that. After two successful entries reinvigorating the franchise, a huge casting shake-up like this is more than enough to derail Scream VII. The stars’ performances helped sell Scream to a new generation, and there are perhaps more now that will come to the franchise to see Jenna and Melissa than, say, Courteney or Neve—and that’s not to say they aren’t valued, they are, but Scream has evolved.

The Carpenter sisters have been the heart of Scream for two movies now, and with Scream VI’s conclusion teasing so many intriguing possibilities for their future and their relationship, we can’t help but predict that Scream VII will either have the plug pulled or it will push forward into a particularly jarring new direction that betrays what the cast and crew achieved with the previous two films.

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No matter the decision that’s made, without its central stars Scream VII is in major trouble, and we just don’t think it can be saved after hearing the bad news.

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