While Scream VI marks another chapter in the long-running meta slasher franchise created by Kevin Williamson, it’s the first sequel not to feature two of the films’ original stars, Neve Campbell and David Arquette. As Sidney Prescott and Dewey Riley, the two have faced off with several versions of Ghostface in the first five installments.
However, Scream 5 proved to be Arquette’s final film, with his character finally falling victim to the masked killer while Campbell opted not to return after a contract dispute. Although, she did tell ET the door was open for her return in the future. “I care about these movies. If they were to come to me with an amount that felt in keeping with… the value that I bring them, I would certainly consider it,” she said at the time.
Ahead of the new film’s debut in theaters on March 10, the cast and crew reflected on the veteran stars’ absence from the sequel while making it clear that it still pays tribute to the previous installments in the franchise.
When it specifically comes to Arquette, Dermot Mulroney told ET’s Rachel Smith that “[he’s] obviously one of the most favorite characters in the whole franchise.” Joining the franchise as Det. Bailey, the actor knew he had “a big badge to fill.”
“Of course, other characters are missed,” Courteney Cox said. Although she’s not the only veteran to return for Scream VI — Hayden Panettiere is also back for her second film — Cox is the only remaining original franchise star, reprising her role as Gale Weathers.
That said, the new film is “absolutely always paying homage, honoring everyone who came before while giving Courteney a new moment to shine,” says Jasmin Savoy Brown, who is among the new group of survivors first introduced in Scream 5.
Echoing that sentiment, newcomer Liana Liberato, who plays Quinn, said that “there are so many Easter eggs in this film. And I think that there are hundreds of callbacks to every single film prior to that, so we are honoring them and uplifting them. We love them. And I think the fans are gonna love it too.”
Not only are there references to those past films and characters, the film acknowledges Sidney’s whereabouts while the action takes place in New York City. “It’s very clear, like, there’s references to Sidney, of course,” Jenna Ortega previously revealed to ET.
Ortega, who reprises her role as Tara Carpenter, also said that “there’s so much going on in this next one, that it’s so action-heavy and so gore-heavy that I think you’re gonna be distracted almost.”
For his part, Jack Champion, who is another franchise newcomer, said all he could do was “bring my best foot forward and try to make it a good story… and try to be respectful of the other films and try to make this one good.”
Expanding upon that, co-director Tyler Gillett said, “At the core of this one, you’ve got Melissa [Barrera] and Jenna and Jasmin and Mason [Gooding] giving just the most wonderful, heartfelt performances. And I think there’s no way not to fall in love with them.”
Though, he also acknowledged “that there are echoes of those characters [played by Campbell and Arquette] throughout this movie. There’s no Scream movie without referencing those characters.”
Scream VI debuts in theaters on March 10.
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