HOLLYWOOD—The world of Hollywood was rocked a bit on Tuesday when news broke that “Scream” (2022) and “Scream VI” star Melissa Barrera was fired from the upcoming “Scream VII” by Spyglass Media after social media posts she made about the war between Palestine and Israel. I’m not even getting into this argument about what you can and cannot say when it comes to freedom of speech because it seems to depend on who you’re talking to at the time.
Barrera not returning to the series was a massive blow to the upcoming sequel, but on Wednesday news broke that the other star of the revamped trilogy, Jenna Ortega was revealed to not be returning for the upcoming sequel. Barrera’s Sam Carpenter is crucial as she was the new female lead for the horror series, so her being out means a script that would have to explain why Sam Carpenter wasn’t in the mix, which no matter how the writers try to craft it, would just be difficult as hell to sell in my honest opinion.
Ortega, I think was the best addition to the franchise that I can recall in years. Her performance in the opening sequence of the fifth entry in the franchise was stellar. She sold the fear for that character and made that opening quite iconic. Her return for the sixth entry was just fantastic, so as a fan I don’t see myself wanting to see “Scream VII” without Barrera and definitely without Ortega.
So, what does this mean? It raises major questions about the other half of the Core Four (Sam, Tara, Mindy and Chad). Chad was portrayed by Mason Gooding and Mindy was portrayed by Jasmin Savoy-Brown. Mindy and Chad without Tara and Sam just feels empty. I’m expecting news to drop any day now that Gooding and Savoy-Brown won’t be returning for the upcoming sequel. Which means where does the story go from here?
I mean we all know about the hoopla that was caused after series star Neve Campbell who portrayed Sidney Prescott for five films would not return for the sixth entry for a pay dispute. Could a film sustain with Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox)? Possibly, but considering Dewey (David Arquette) was killed off in the fifth film there is very little for Gale to do without Sam and Tara. Not to mention the writers were pushing in the direction that Gale was about to become the new mother figure for Sam, which I thought was quite vital to the narrative moving forward, where I think audiences suspected we’d finally come face-to-face with Tara and Sam’s mother.
Could a new entry focus solely on the characters of Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott? Yeah, but it begs the question, would the studio be willing to pay Campbell what she demands and what she should be paid to revitalize the iconic character that is indeed the face of the franchise whether Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media want to? That is to be determined, but as it feels like now, I don’t see a “Scream VII” in the future of horror fans without another reboot, which I don’t think works considering audiences just built bonds with these characters over two movies.
Gale and Sidney would have to be the focal point of the new film with Barrera and Ortega out, Gooding and Savoy-Brown could be introduced into the mix, but neither of those characters had actual interactions with Gale Weathers or Sidney Prescott, so tell me how do you explain that? I have never seen a horror franchise as popular as “Scream” dealt such a blow as they’re dealing with now. Yeah, the future isn’t looking bright for “Scream VII” and if it does happen, I doubt the film has the punch it would have had if all the characters we expected to return actually returned.