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NYCC: Twilight Saga celebrates 10 years of 'changing the tide'

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Oct 7, 2018, 2:54 PM EDT

The battle rages on: Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Wherever you fall on that partilcular debate, we can all agree that Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books were an earth-shaking cultural phenomenon. For a time, you couldn't walk a thousand feet without hearing about sexy and "sparkly" vampires. That was especially true when the first film adaptation was released in theaters in 2008.

To celebrate 10 years of the ever-popular franchise, director Catherine Hardwicke showed up at New York Comic Con, along with cast members Jackson Rathbone (Jasper), Kellan Lutz (Emmet Cullen), and Edi Gathegi (Laurent). 

Reflecting on the casting for the original film, Hardwicke remembered the moment she knew Kristen Stewart was perfect for the role of Bella Swan. She saw her in Sean Penn's Into the Wild and booked a trip to Pittsburgh, where Stewart was filming Adventureland with Jesse Eisenberg in order to hold an audition. 

When casting Edward Cullen, Hardwicke mentioned that, "Henry Cavill was too old at that point." The role went to Robert Pattinson, but it's pretty interesting that Superman himself almost became super famous a lot sooner than Man of Steel

Kristen Stewart appeared at the panel via a video message from Toronto, voicing her disapointment in not being there, and her shock at how fast 10 years just flew by. 

Pattinson later showed up via Skype, to an insane amount of applause and cheers. Unfortunately, the connection wasn't too great, and his best recollections from the set were garbled and muted. There was one sentiment he was able to get across: thanking Hardwicke, the fans, and everyone that helped change his life with the massive success Twilight

Robert Pattinson NYCC 2018

Credit: Josh Weiss

“Thanks to Catherine, it felt very intimate," Lutz said, while talking about the actual filming of the movie. “The first one was a lot of fun, I must say.”

Can you guess what everyone's favorite scene is? Yeah, the baseball sequence. 

According to Rathbone, the weather conditions were miserable when they were actually shooting that moment, calling the day of filming, "dreary and cold." 

"I’m a southerner and I felt the cold, and I still feel the cold," he said, eliciting laughter from the audience. 

In an exclusive video shown at the panel, Rathbone and Hardwicke returned to the field in order to reminisce. 

"[The first movie] kind of changed everything in a way," said Hardwicke, referencing the fact that the studio didn't have a ton of confidence in a project they thought of as a "chick flick." That's why the budget was only $37 million. Even when the movie brought in $69 million during its opening weekend, the studio believed that everyone who was going to see it, had already seen it. "Cut to $400 million later..." Hardwicke said, letting the silence speak for the sheer strength and lucrative nature of the Twilight Saga.

Twilight panel NYCC.JPG

Credit: Josh Weiss

Hardwicke then touched upon the legacy of the franchise, listing the subsequent sequels that made even more money and led to confidence in more female-led series like The Hunger Games (which gave us Jennifer Lawrence) and Divergent. Hardwicke also listed Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) and Ava DuVernay (A Wrinkle in Time, New Gods) as living proof of "the changing tide."

"This sort of began or, in many ways, continued the conversation we're having today about diversity and inclusion [in Hollywood]," Gathegi said. 

Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of NYCC 2018, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.