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Why 'Scream' creator Kevin Williamson didn't think there'd be any more sequels after Wes Craven's death

The latest chapter in the self-aware slasher series arrives on the big screen Friday, Jan. 14.

By Josh Weiss
Scream (2021) PRESS

Scream creator Kevin Williamson never thought he'd see Ghostface on the big screen again following the 2015 death of the franchise's long-standing director, Wes Craven.

"In my heart, it was over," he admitted to The New York Times. "Without Wes, I didn’t think there would be a Scream." On top of that, he and Craven already felt burnt out from the production of 2011's Scream 4.  “The studio was second-guessing themselves and kept giving note after note after note,” Williamson recalled. “I finally was like, ‘Guys, I don’t know what I’m writing anymore — I’m just typing.’"

The property was revived as a television series in 2015, running for a total of three seasons on MTV prior to the collapse of The Weinstein Company, which owned Dimension Films (rights holder of the Scream name), in the wake of Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault scandal.

Spyglass Media Group ultimately acquired the self-aware slasher IP and decided to bring it back to cinemas with an assist from Paramount Pictures. James Vanderbilt (Murder Mystery) and Guy Busick (Castle Rock) were tapped to co-write the screenplay, with Ready or Not duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett hired to direct. The latest entry in the franchise — simply titled Scream (in the vein of the other soft horror reboots released in the last decade) — is scheduled to open in theaters everywhere next week.

“My first thought was, Wait, they’re not going to ask me to write it? How dare they,” Williamson, who serves as an executive producer on the upcoming movie, joked during his interview with the Times. Once he heard the actual pitch, however, he realized that Vanderbilt, Busick, Bettinelli-Olpin, and Gillett "had it all figured out. I’m like, ‘OK, this works,’” he said.

Scream (2021) PRESS

While Craven wouldn't be able to put his unique stamp on this chapter, the filmmakers still had a chance to recapture some of the old magic by way of the original cast members like Neve Campbell, who returns to play Scream final girl, Sidney Prescott. 

“It was like, 'This movie doesn’t exist without you, full stop. We’re not trying to make it any other way,'" Bettinelli-Olpin reportedly told Campbell when the actress was still on the fence. Had she decided not to reprise the role, there were some contingency plans in place, though they were "never explored," Gillett added.

Sidney takes center stage in a first look clip from the movie, in which Dewey Riley (played by fellow franchise vet, David Arquette) calls his pal up to inform her that Ghostface is once again stalking — and killing — the teens of Woodsboro. Good Morning America debuted the sneak peek, which you can watch in the video below (the clip in question begins at 1:33).

Courtney Cox (reprising the role of reporter Gale Weathers), Jack Quaid (The Boys), Jenna Ortega (Jane the Virgin), Melissa Barrera (Vida at Starz), Mason Gooding (Star Trek: Picard), Kyle Gallner (Veronica Mars), Marley Shelton (Scream 4), Jasmin Savoy Brown (The Leftovers), Roger L. Jackson (the longtime voice of Ghostface), and model/musician Sonia Ben Ammar co-star.

Scream will slash its way onto the big screen next Friday, Jan. 14.