The Scream franchise won’t be the same after Melissa Barrera’s firing and Jenna Ortega’s departure ahead of the seventh film.
Before the surprising dismissals, Scream became a horror milestone over several decades. The first film, released in 1996, centered around Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) as she confronted several killers hiding their identities behind the Ghostface persona. The final girl received assistance from other OG Scream characters, Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), and Dewey Riley (David Arquette), leading to the creation of three sequels in 1997, 2000, and 2011.
The franchise was revived almost a decade after Scream 4’s release. This allowed Scream to introduce new protagonists, Sam (Barrera), and Tara Carpenter (Ortega). With these changes, surprising developments occurred, such as Campbell’s decision to depart from the franchise after filming the fifth installment due to failed salary negotiations.
Changes continued when widespread news in November 2023 indicated Barrera’s vocal support for Palestine amid conflict in the Middle East with Israel led to her termination. In the same month, Deadline reported Ortega would also leave due to conflicting shooting schedules with Netflix’s show titled Wednesday.
Continue reading to discover everything about Scream VII:
Who Is Returning?
Before Barrera and Ortega’s departures, fans hoped to see both reprise their roles. Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding are the remaining actors forming the on-screen “Core Four” friendship dynamic and are likely to return as well.
Since Sam’s boyfriend, Danny (Tom Segarra), survived at the end of Scream VI, there was an assumption he would remain part of the group. Segarra confirmed plans to play Danny in more Scream installments.
Scream VI also left opportunities for legacy characters like Gale (Cox) and Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) to appear in the future.
Which Cast Members Will Not Be Returning?
Campbell, an OG Scream star, didn’t portray Sidney in the sixth film. Despite outrage from devoted fans, it seems Campbell and the studio couldn’t reach an agreement regarding her salary, so she most likely won’t return in Scream VII either.
Barrera was the second surprising exit from the Scream franchise. Following her termination making headlines, production company Spyglass Media Group denied that Barrera’s pro-Palestine comments caused the decision.
“Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion, or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech,” their statement to Variety in November 2023 read.
Ortega won’t return due to previous filming commitments.
What Creative Shakeups Have Taken Place?
After Spyglass Media Group acquired the rights to develop the fifth film, Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin were hired as directors for the project. The duo returned for Scream VI, but the next installment was planned to be directed by Christopher Landon, known for his involvement in Happy Death Day and Freaky. However, Landon announced in late December 2023 that he had exited the project.
“I guess now is as good a time as any to announce I formally exited Scream 7 weeks ago,” Landon shared via X (formerly known as Twitter). “This will disappoint some and delight others. It was a dream job that turned into a nightmare. And my heart did break for everyone involved. Everyone. But it’s time to move on.”
Where Did the Story Leave Off?
Scream VI focused on Sam’s state of mind as she grappled with the revelation that she is the daughter of the first Ghostface killer, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). Fan theories began speculating that Sam might be the one killing her loved ones because of her father’s murderous past. Sam found a way to accept her father’s history as a killer while refusing to follow the same path.
Meanwhile, Sam’s sister, Tara, tried to leave the past behind after moving to New York City. By the end of the sixth film, Tara found love with her friend Chad (Gooding).
Which Fan Theories Could Be Addressed?
The popular fan theory that one of the original Ghostface killers, Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard), wasn’t actually dead has been discussed since the franchise was revived. Lillard has enthusiastically supported the idea of his return in some capacity, and Scream VI kept that option open.
What Does Melissa Barrera’s Exit Mean for Sam?
Before her termination, Barrera discussed where she would like to see Sam’s story go.
“That’s one of the reasons that, when I read the script for Scream 5, I was so interested in the character. There’s so much potential here of where she could go with her mental health — she’s just unpredictable,” the actress told Digital Spy in June 2023. “I find that that darkness in her makes her that much more interesting to play and to watch.”
Barrera continued: “She’s the hero but she’s also kind of the villain. It’s this contradiction in her that I find fascinating and, if we get to do another one, I would love to see. The writers have done a really good job with her up until this point, so I trust them just to know where to take her [in a way] that will be unexpected and cool for the fans.”