It's been an eventful week for the Scream franchise as the upcoming seventh installment lost both of its leading ladies in less than twenty-four hours, with Melissa Barrera ("Sam Carpenter") being fired by Spyglass for her recent social media posts regarding the Israel-Hamas war and Jenna Ortega ("Tara Carpenter") exiting the project due to scheduling conflicts with the second season of Netflix's Emmy-nominated Wednesday.
As the franchise now eyes another creative overhaul, Variety is reporting that the studio is eyeing the possibility of bringing back original leading lady Neve Campbell ("Sidney Prescott") and her former co-star Patrick Dempsey ("Mark Kincaid") in leading roles. The pair haven't appeared together since Scream 3, but their characters were married off-screen in the Scream universe.
Despite this week's developments, the producers are still aiming for a 2025 release date, but they have a tall task ahead of them as they must essentially restart from scratch and devise an incredibly good story idea if they actually hope to lure back the franchise's most iconic star.
James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick are still penning the script, but will be crafting a fresh draft to present to the studio and director Christopher Landon relatively soon.
The latest report also adds a little more context to Barrera and Ortega's departures. Both stars had originally signed two-picture deals, so neither were contracted for Scream 7 and would have required new deals. While the story behind Barrera's firing has been widely reported, Ortega was apparently the harder actress to get back onboard due to her rising star status following her Emmy nomination for Wednesday.
According to their sources, Ortega was not in the cards for the new movie even before Barrera's firing and the story was already in the midst of being retooled, although the producers were hoping to bring her character back for, at least, a cameo appearance. Others claim, however, that Ortega had essentially passed on Scream 7 long before this week's news breaks.
Additionally, in the wake of her firing, Barrera has released the following statement:
“First and foremost I condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia. I condemn hate and prejudice of any kind against any group of people.
As a Latina, a proud Mexicana, I feel the responsibility of having a platform that allows me the privilege of being heard, and therefore I have tried to use it to raise awareness about issues I care about and to lend my voice to those in need.
Every person on this earth — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or socio-economic status — deserves equal human rights, dignity and, of course, freedom.
I believe a group of people are NOT their leadership, and that no governing body should be above criticism.
I pray day and night for no more deaths, for no more violence, and for peaceful co-existence,” Barrera’s statement continues. “I will continue to speak out for those that need it most and continue to advocate for peace and safety, for human rights and freedom.
Silence is not an option for me.”