Scream Star Opens Up About Franchise Exit
Actress Melissa Barrera reunited with her Scream (2022) co-stars this week at the Sundance Film Festival, where she spoke publicly for the first time about her controversial firing from the upcoming sequel Scream 7.
Barrera said she feels “grateful” for her time with the franchise and has had a “big awakening” since the news broke that she would not be returning as Sam Carpenter.
The 33-year-old was let go shortly after the success of January 2023’s Scream (2022) reboot due to divisive statements she made online regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Producer Spyglass Media quickly distanced themselves from Barrera’s political views amid uproar from horror fans, with director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin later confirming her character had been written out of the next movie.
Costars Show Support Amid Backlash
Barrera received an outpouring of support from co-stars Jenna Ortega, Jasmin Savoy Brown, and Mason Gooding at Sundance as they reunited to celebrate the one-year anniversary of their hit slasher.
Photos show the group laughing together on the red carpet, while Ortega also shared old behind-the-scenes photos with Barrera on Instagram.
Savoy Brown told press she “of course” still keeps in touch with Barrera, praising her professionalism during production.
Gooding admitted he was “surprised” by news of the firing, confirming that Barrera remains a close friend despite tensions between her and the studio.
“It’s unfortunate what happened with the franchise. But as long as Melissa is good, I’m good.”
– Mason Gooding on Barrera’s Scream exit
Meanwhile, original Scream star Neve Campbell continued to fuel rumors about her own possible return in Scream 7 – teasing that she would “never say never” to reprising her iconic role as Sidney Prescott.
Barrera: “No Bad Blood” With Filmmakers
Speaking candidly about her departure for the first time, Barrera clarified that there is “no bad blood” between her and the Scream creative team despite the controversial circumstances.
“I am so grateful I got to be part of those movies and play that character,” she stated. “I love everyone involved.”
Barrera went on to describe the experience as an important “awakening” in her life and career:
“Everything happens for a reason, this was all meant to be. I’m finally becoming who I’m supposed to be.”
The actress said she remains “proud” of her contribution to the enduring franchise, confirming that both entries helped redefine and reinvigorate the slasher genre for a new generation.
“Those movies sparked important conversations and changed the game. I’ll always be thankful I got to be part of that.”
What’s Next For Barrera?
With Scream now firmly in her rearview mirror, Barrera also updated press on her upcoming projects outside the horror genre.
She is attached to star in the lead role of a long-in-development romantic drama titled Abigail and the Restless Road, playing a nomadic musician searching for purpose.
Barrera confirmed production is slated to begin this Spring.
An inside source also suggested the actress has held meetings about the titular role in a modern reimagining of Dracula.
While unconfirmed by Barrera herself, the star does have a gap in her schedule now Scream 7 filming is underway – making the timing of such a Gothic project potentially feasible.
|Abigail and the Restless Road
What’s Next For The Scream Franchise?
As for the future of Scream, Barrera’s firing marked another major shakeup for the once-stable franchise.
Director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and his filmmaking group Radio Silence have also unexpectedly departed the series after helming 2022’s reboot.
Spyglass Media cited “creative differences” in a press release announcing their split.
Up-and-coming filmmaker Mo Ogrodnik has since been hired to take over directorial duties on Scream 7 – marking a wholesale changing of the guard.
Meanwhile, the script is still being worked on by writing duo James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick.
Plot details remain tightly under wraps, but Vanderbilt promised the next installment will take the franchise in an “ambitious” new direction without Barrera’s Sam as the anchor.
Shooting is expected to commence this Spring once final script revisions are completed.
An inside source suggested David Arquette’s Deputy Dewey could make a shock return from the dead despite his apparent demise in January 2022’s entry. This remains unconfirmed.
As for newcomers, sources indicate Scream 7 will feature at least one, possibly two fresh characters yet to be cast. These key roles are expected to fill the void left by Barrera’s abrupt exit.
No release date has been formally announced by Spyglass Media, but insiders expect Scream 7 could hit theaters as early as January 2025 if production goes smoothly. That would mark 3 years after the last installment revived the dormant franchise.
Whether Scream 7 can replicate that success without Barrera or the Radio Silence creative team remains to be seen. But Vanderbilt asserted his script will “recalibrate the tone back to the original trilogy”.
For her part, Barrera is at peace with this new era of Scream playing out without her:
“I wish them all the best as they take the story forward. No hard feelings at all.”
Her co-stars and fans seem less convinced that Scream can survive such a major upheaval behind the scenes.
But with talks of legacy cast returns heating up, perhaps a back-to-basics approach is the right call to keep audiences invested after a wave of controversies threatened to derail the future of Woodsboro’s favorite horror franchise.
This story will be updated pending further production announcements on Scream 7.
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