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Why Scream 7 and Neve Campbell’s Return Is Controversial

Why Scream 7 and Neve Campbell's Return Is Controversial


  • The return of Neve Campbell for
    Scream VII
    has deeply divided the fanbase due to Melissa Barrera’s firing over social media posts.
  • While some fans support Campbell’s return, others believe it indicates support for Spyglass Media’s decision to fire Barrera.
  • The situation has escalated with fans taking sides, raising concerns about the future of the franchise and potential boycotts.

In years past, Neve Campbell‘s return to the Scream franchise would be met with universal praise. The actress has played one of the horror genre’s favorite final girls since the first entry in 1996 and has only missed out on one installment (more on that later) among the six released films. Mar. 12 should’ve been like history repeating itself when Campbell took to her Instagram account to post an image of the Scream 7 script with the news that she would be returning to play Sidney Prescott once again and that Kevin Williamson, the man who started this all in 1996 with his game-changing script, would be stepping in to direct.

Unfortunately, this return wasn’t like all the others. The Scream franchise found itself in a very ugly situation that had lines drawn in the sand when Melissa Barrera, who played final girl Sam Carpenter in Scream 2022 and Scream 6, was fired ahead of the seventh installment over her social media posts concerning the Israel-Hamas war. This set off a chain reaction that saw its biggest star, Jenna Ortega, also departing and the film losing its new director, Christopher Landon. The support of Barrera has made Campbell’s return so divisive, with fans believing they can’t support one person’s firing and celebrate the return of their favorite star. Now, with other Scream alumni rumored to return, it really feels like the fanbase is divided more than ever regarding supporting Scream 7.

Fans Loved the Scream Reboot and New Cast Members

Like many franchises, the Scream fanbase is rabid and vocal. When Spyglass Media Group obtained the rights, and Paramount Pictures became the distribution company, they realized they could make this series a hit once again with a new generation of fans while also appeasing the fans who have been there since the beginning. With 2022’s Scream, a new set of characters was introduced while also including the major legacy characters to further pass the torch to the new guard.

A part of that new guard was Barrera and Ortega, playing the sister duo of Sam and Tara Carpenter. The film established that they would be the ones to follow in a new set of films as Ghostface brought about more murder and mayhem inspired by the horror genre we all know and love. Campbell’s Sidney Prescott, David Arquette’s Dewey Riley, and Courteney Cox’s Gale Weathers were also on board to create a link between the old and the new. The result was a critical and box office success, with Scream 2022 pulling in $137.7 million worldwide on a $24 million budget. A new set of films was born, and the Carpenter sisters were intended to lead it.

2023 would bring more success and completely knock the franchise off the tracks. Scream 6, which did not include Campbell this time around for reasons that will be explained, proved to be a bigger critical and financial hit than its predecessor, grossing $108.1 million domestically (the largest domestic take of the franchise) and $168.9 million globally, the series’ biggest global take since 1997’s Scream 2. It wasn’t long before Scream 7 was greenlit, and the ever-evolving Carpenter sisters, who were fleshed out and expanded upon in the sixth installment, were all set to lead it. That is until a move was made by Spyglass Media Group that changed everything.

The Firing of Melissa Barrera Divided the Scream Fanbase

In news that spread like wildfire, it was announced that Barrera would not be returning for the seventh film because of sharing social media posts regarding the Israel-Hamas war. In their more detailed explanation, they stated, “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.”

Despite their hard stance, many fans who saw the shared posts immediately felt that none of them promoted any of the speech Spyglass was claiming, and they rallied behind Barrera over a firing they felt was unjust. When it was announced that Ortega would not return for Scream 7 the very next day over scheduling conflicts, some fans thought this was her way of showing solidarity with her movie sister. By the time Landon left as director sometime later, it was clear this situation put the franchise in a very fragile spot.


Scream 7 Star Melissa Barrera Shares Response to “Shocking” Firing and Jenna Ortega’s Departure

Scream 7 has been plagued with several issues, and former star Melissa Barrera has opened up about her exit from the franchise.

This is why the news that Campbell would be returning following all of this madness was not met with open arms by all. Some fans were quick to point out that, in their opinion, her return signaled some kind of support for Spyglass and their decision to fire Barrera. This especially disheartened some fans since Campbell had her own woes with Spyglass when negotiating her return for the sixth installment. The actress opted not to return for a sixth go-round when she wasn’t offered a salary reflecting her value to the franchise. At the time, she said, “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.”

In this sense of female empowerment and solidarity, some fans have seemed to call out Campbell for not supporting Barrera by returning for the seventh film because they presumably presented her with a fat enough check to secure her return, something that wasn’t done for Scream 6. By accepting the offer, they feel it shows Campbell doesn’t stand behind the fired actress and is seemingly okay with how Barrera was treated.

Some Fans Support Neve Campbell’s Return to Scream

This sentiment wasn’t shared by the entire fanbase. On the other side of this disdain are fans who are gleeful that Campbell is returning and feel that her coming back isn’t a slight on Barrera at all. In fact, some believe you can support a Campbell Scream 7 return and still stand behind Barrera, especially by supporting her upcoming Universal Pictures vampire horror film, Abigail, in theaters. There is also a faction of the audience that hates that two women are being pitted against each other on social media when the real villain of this story is Spyglass Media Group.


Scream Star Shares Blunt Opinion on the Franchise Becoming More Supernatural

Skeet Ulrich may have returned to the Scream franchise via an unworldly path, but he believes the series needs to keep Ghostface grounded in reality.

It should be noted that neither actress has commented publicly on the fan divide that has resulted from all this. However, there are signs that these women have supported each other, beginning when Campbell wasn’t treated fairly financially for a Scream 6 return and even after Barrera was fired. Rumors suggest that Campbell was trying to do some work behind the scenes to make things right before her return was even announced.

When it was announced that Campbell wouldn’t be returning for the sixth installment, Barrera said, “You need to feel like it’s worth it. A part of it is: Are you getting compensated fairly for what you think you’re putting into the work? If you don’t, you’re going to be miserable, so you shouldn’t do it. I applaud her always.” Given other rumors, it seems clear that Campbell also had Barrera’s back in some capacity.

It will be interesting to see if this divide continues, especially with rumors circulating that other Scream veterans, such as Courteney Cox and Patrick Dempsey, who co-starred in Scream 3, are expected to return. Will they receive the same vocal tirade for accepting offers from Spyglass in the wake of Barrera’s firing? Will it make some fans boycott Scream 7 altogether since it’s returning to something more back to basics after becoming more progressive and having actresses like Barrera and Ortega leading the new franchise? It’s hard to tell.

When Campbell wasn’t treated fairly during her Scream 6 negotiations, fans threatened to boycott the film, which ended up becoming one of the franchise’s highest-grossing films. Sometimes, this anger subsides over time, but it’s clear in its current state that what’s next for Scream looks different depending on what side of the fandom you stand on. The original Scream is streaming on Max, while Scream (2022) is streaming on Hulu and Paramount+.

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