‘Scream’ Star Breaks Silence on Surprise Return to Seventh Movie After Shock Exit

in Movies & TV

Melissa Barrerra and Jenna Ortega on the street in 'Scream 6'

Credit: Radio Silence Productions / Paramount Pictures /Spyglass Media Group

A beloved Scream actor is now set to return in an upcoming sequel, despite previously exiting the franchise over a salary dispute.

Neve Campbell first brought Sidney Prescott to life in 1996’s Scream. The troubled Woodsboro teen became the target of two “Ghostface killers,” but her nightmare of dealing with bloodthirsty psychopaths with a deranged love for slasher movies was just the beginning.

Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) in 'Scream 2022'
Credit: Radio Silence Productions / Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group

Related: 5 Things In ‘Scream VI’ That Make ZERO Sense

Campbell reprised her role as Sidney Prescott in Scream 2 (1997), which saw her battle two more Ghostface killers at Windsor College, and again in Scream 3 (2000), this time going toe-to-toe with just one killer in Hollywood (it doesn’t get more “meta” than that).

10 years later, Campbell, along with Scream (1996) and Scream 2 director Wes Craven and writer of the first two films, Kevin Williamson, reunited for Scream 4 (2011). While Sidney was somewhat relegated to a secondary character in the film to give way for her cousin Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), fortunately, she resumed her Woodsboro final girl duties by the third act.

Ghostface in 'Scream VI'
Credit: Radio Silence Productions / Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group

Another 10 years later brings us to Scream (2022). This time, Sidney really is pushed to the side-lines in favor of some fresh blood: Sisters Sam Carpenter (Melissa Barrera) and Tara Carpenter (Jenna Ortega). The OG final girl is given more of a “legacy” status in this film.

But in a twist shocking enough to rival any third-act Ghostface revelation, Campbell did not return for last year’s installment, Scream VI (2023).

Neve Campbell in 'Scream 2022'
Credit: Radio Silence Productions / Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group

Related: Neve Campbell May Not Play Sidney in ‘Scream 7’ Despite Surprise Cast Announcement

In 2022, the star’s exit from the sixth movie rocked the Scream fanbase. Campbell made the following statement (via Deadline), citing a salary dispute as the reason:

“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.”

Fortunately, Campbell’s absence wasn’t felt all that much in the sixth movie. While Sidney remains a beloved Scream character, Barrera and Ortega did a fine job shouldering the final-girl(s) responsibility in the New York City-set slasher, and were even set to lead another sequel, with or without Campbell.

Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega hiding in a convenience store in 'Scream VI'
Credit: Radio Silence Productions / Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group

But, in true Scream fashion, the twists were far from over. Last year, after posting a divisive social media post about the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, Melissa Barrera was fired from Scream 7 by Spyglass Media Group.

Shortly after, Jenna Ortega exited the project, too — although the reasons still aren’t clear (some sources claim it was a salary dispute like Campbell’s, but others say it was due to scheduling conflicts with other projects such as Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice and Wednesday Season 2).

Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams, with Thing on her shoulder
Credit: Netflix

Related: ‘Scream’: All 14 Ghostface Reveals Ranked From Worst to Best

Then, director Christopher Landon (Happy Death Day) also bowed out, taking to social media to explain his reasons:

“I guess now is as good a time as any to announce I formally exited Scream 7 weeks ago. This will disappoint some and delight others. It was a dream job that turned into a nightmare. And my heart did break for everyone involved. Everyone. But it’s time to move on.

I have nothing more to add to the conversation other than I hope Wes’ legacy thrives and lifts above the din of a divided world. What he and Kevin created is something amazing and I was honored to have even the briefest moment basking in their glow.”

But, just like Ghostface himself (or herself), Scream 7 is now back in action. Of course, whatever the filmmakers originally had planned is as dead as Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), but announcing the reinstatement of Neve Campbell as the lead and legendary Scream writer Kevin Williamson as director is a pretty smart way to get back in the fans’ good books.

Earlier this year, Campbell made the announcement on her official Instagram account:

“Hi All. I’m so excited to announce this news!!! Sidney Prescott is coming back!!!! It’s always been such a blast and an honor to get to play Sidney in the Scream movies. My appreciation for these films and for what they have meant to me, has never waned.

I’m very happy and proud to say I’ve been asked, in the most respectful way, to bring Sidney back to the screen and I couldn’t be more thrilled!!! Well actually I could.

While I’ve been so incredibly lucky to make these films with both the master of horror Wes Craven and the wonderfully talented Matt and Tyler team, I’ve dreamt for many years of how amazing it would be to make one of these movies with Kevin Williamson at the helm. And now it’s happening, Kevin Williamson is going to direct Scream 7!

This was his baby and it’s his brilliant mind that dreamt up this world. Kevin is not just an inspiration as an artist but has been a dear friend for many years. To the amazing Scream fans, I hope you are as excited as I am. See you on set @kevwilliamson

Now, the iconic star has opened up about her return in the upcoming seventh movie in the meta slasher franchise. “Those [Scream] movies have been such a big part of my life and it means so much to me, and I was sad to miss the last one, to not be a part of it,” she told PEOPLE.

“I was really grateful that they came back to me in a respectful way. I think that means a lot to women and to society. I’m grateful to be able to step in into Sidney’s shoes again and tell her story.”

Campbell added that the character of Sidney Prescott is “so strong” and has “inspired a lot of people” over the years. “I meet a lot of fans who say her strength has helped them get through tough times, and it means more than I could ever have imagined to some people.”

Ghostface in 'Scream VI'
Credit: Radio Silence Productions / Paramount Pictures / Spyglass Media Group

How the filmmakers intend to write Sidney back into the fold remains to be seen. In Scream VI, we’re told she’s in hiding with her husband Mark Kincade (Patrick Dempsey) and her young children.

This felt like a completely natural way to keep Sidney out of the action. However, a new report claims that Scream 7 will focus on Sidney’s children as teenagers, which suggests that a massive time jump between Scream VI and Scream 7 will occur.

While the Scream movies are always stretching our suspension of disbelief, the writers are going to have to come up with something pretty special to justify Neve Campbell’s sixth outing as Sidney Prescott. Either way, we’re sure the Woodsboro alum will be prepared to take on yet another Ghostface. Or two. Or three. Or, say, an entire cult (another rumor currently doing the rounds).

How do you feel about Neve Campbell stepping back into Scream and replacing Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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