There’s been a surge in reports that Lionsgate and Summit, the studios responsible for the Twilight films, are discussing either rebooting the series or making a spinoff, possibly in line with a new Twilight sequel written by Stephanie Meyer. Horror blog Bloody Disgusting says it’s true and inevitable no matter what Lionsgate tells the public. They have no evidence beyond their accusations, some which sound like the ravings of a tinfoil hat loony, but more importantly they’ve gotten the studios to respond, and their choice in words could be telling…
We are not remaking Twilight. We will happily support Stephanie Meyer if she decides to proceed in any way. But this will be the last one unless that should change.
So speaketh Rob Friedman, co-chairman of Summit. Funny how each denial (No Twilight at all! This will be the end!) cancels itself out (We’ll do as Stephanie does, y’know, things might change), putting us back where we started: the idea of a new Twilight. Of course no studio’s going to deny continuing a multibillion franchise if there’s even the tiniest mote of possibility, but if a new Twilight outside the four main books came out… what would it mean?
Yes, like others I dislike the series for the obvious reasons: it’s misogyny disguised as teen angst and self-loathing, where codependent women, domineering males, and unhealthy, life-threatening obsessions are the natural order of things. In purely technical terms, the books and films are hackneyed, trite, shallow, and carried solely by chaste romance, with none of the self-awareness to laugh at itself. It’s a gloomy affair and a pain to experience.
These would be major concerns if Twilight still commanded pop culture like it did in 2008, when Breaking Dawn was published and the first Twilight movie came out. Is that really the case anymore? Yes, the first Breaking Dawn movie made $700 million, and the second will no doubt perform similarly, but aside from the curiosity that comes with any blockbuster sequel, are fans dying to see the conclusion to the story of Bella and Edward, an ending they already know? After four years (an eternity for pop culture fads), in which time Hunger Games and Fifty Shades of Grey have taken over the young adult and romance genres respectively, how many Twihards are left who can’t live without Twilight? Most of them have grown up and moved on by now.
Perhaps I’m being naive. Maybe I underestimate Twilight‘s sinister hold on world culture. Right now, though, I believe if Lionsgate and Summit want to keep doing Twilight after Breaking Dawn, if they want to test the series’ durability, by all means they should. It’s their right. I can’t see it going too far with the competition – Stephanie Meyer has another movie, The Host, on the way; The Hunger Games sequels are coming soon, as is a Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation – and it doesn’t have a Johnny Depp figure like Pirates of the Caribbean to guarantee box office receipts. If the studios want to try their luck though they should be my guest. I give you one more sequel/reboot before they realize this is Twilight‘s, well, twilight hour.
That’s just the way with teen phenomenons, both literary and cinematic. At first there was Harry Potter, the most durable of the sensations, filling three decades with its sequels and paying dividends with each one. During that time, Twilight snuck in and played off of the adolescent hormones Harry Potter ignored, before The Hunger Games combined both its predecessors’ strengths and added a pinch of dystopian horror, with riveting results. Two more years and we’ll have a new series that’s the “Next Big Thing.” It’s a never-ending procession of alternating fads that’s gone on since forever, made more apparent by the speed of the Digital Age, and I can’t imagine Lionsgate breaking the trend with Twilight.
So calm down. Before you go to the nearest news site and vent your anger at the evils of Twilight, how it’s ruining our culture and kids don’t have it like we used to, stop and think. Does Twilight have the universal appeal of Harry Potter, even The Hunger Games? Could it last another decade? Let bygones be bygones and turn to what’s here and on the horizon.
(P.S. The Fifty Shades of Grey adaptation, by the way, might be directed by Angelina Jolie, with a screenplay written by American Psycho scribe Brett Easton Ellis. I have not read the original books yet, though I’ve heard much, but if Brett Easton Ellis can inject the satirical, feminist wit of American Psycho and Jolie can faithfully adapt it… this might be the first pulp romance film that’s fun to watch. But don’t hold me to my word.)