Melissa Barrera And Jenna Ortega's Won't Appear In Scream 7, Why I'm Disappointed Their Characters Aren't Returning

 Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega in Scream VI.
Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega in Scream VI.
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SPOILERS are ahead for the Scream movies.

Scream is one of the most iconic horror franchises in Hollywood. After the movie series spent over a decade dormant following the death of Wes Craven, it received a worthwhile resurgence with Radio Silence’s fifth and sixth installments starring Melissa Barerra and Jenna Ortega as the Carpenter sisters. But now that both actresses are not returning to Scream 7 for separate reasons, I need to talk about why I’m disappointed their characters won’t return.

Since Scream VI finished its box office run just shy of surpassing the success of the 1996 original, Spyglass Entertainment has been planning the next movie, with Happy Death Day’s director Christopher Landon at the helm this time. With the future of Scream 7 now in disarray without Barerra and Ortega leading the cast, it’s time to break down what went down and why I was looking forward to the scream queens leading the cast for a third round.

Ghostface in Scream 6
Ghostface in Scream 6

What’s Going On With Scream 7?

Last week, Melissa Barerra reportedly was fired from Scream 7 after making comments on social media related to the ongoing Israel-Hamas War. Following the major news, Barerra took to her social media (via EW) to say she condemns “Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” felt a “responsibility” to use her platform to “raise awareness about issues” she cares about and vowed to “continue to advocate for peace and safety, for human rights and freedom” along with saying “Silence is not an option for me.”

Just as Barerra was fired, it was additionally reported that Jenna Ortega has exited from Scream 7 as well, allegedly due to scheduling with Wednesday Season 2 and Beetlejuice 2. This week, a source claimed that the real reason Ortega left the movie was actually due to the actress asking for a pay bump in light of her A-list status, which was allegedly declined by Spyglass Entertainment. The Scream movies are famously made on rather tight budgets, with the past two installments turning a profit against budgets under $40 million.

Melissa Barrera in Scream VI
Melissa Barrera in Scream VI

Where Did Scream 6 Leave The Carpenter Sisters?

Scream 6 introduced Barrera’s Sam Carpenter and her younger sister Tara, played by Ortega. Right out the gate, 2022’s Scream gave the sisters a rather connected backstory to the franchise as a whole. In the third act of the sixth Scream movie, we learn that Sam is the illegitimate daughter of one of the first Scream killers, Billy Loomis, who was played by Skeet Ulrich in the 1996 movie. Plus, it’s Sam’s boyfriend, Jack Quaid’s Richie Kirsch, who brings Ghostface back to Woodsboro as one of two killers who haunt the residents of the town in the movie.

After the sisters are left rather traumatized by witnessing a host of murders in Scream and finding out Sam’s boyfriend was one of the people behind the whole thing, they escape to New York City to forget the whole thing and restart their lives. However, it’s not long until Ghostface resurfaces in the Big Apple and is out to get them again. As we learn at the end of Scream VI, Richie’s surviving family are behind Ghostface this time around and out for revenge against the Carpenter sisters. When Sam and Tara are cornered by them, they both end up taking part in some stabbing themselves in defense of their lives. At the end of Scream VI, Sam channels Ghostface by killing Wayne’s daughter, Quinn and donning the Ghostface mask herself.

A screenshot of Jenna Ortega sitting on a bench in Scream 6.
A screenshot of Jenna Ortega sitting on a bench in Scream 6.

Why The Carpenters Had Me Excited For The Future Of Scream

Scream VI left both Carpenter sisters in an interesting position because their arc shows that neither of them can really run from their lineage or trauma associated with Ghostface. Sam is left at the end of Scream VI with a kill count under her belt and some curiosity about the power wearing the Ghostface mask could hold. While she discards the mask at the end of the movie, I was really interested in how Sam’s storyline could continue after she experienced two rounds of Ghostface rampages and found a way to give herself the power back by stabbing them back with Tara.

I could see Sam going to the dark side and using the Ghostface mask as her armor after all the distress the villain has caused her, and perhaps Tara making it her mission to reel her in. Or perhaps there could have been a storyline regarding the Carpenter sisters looking deeper into Billy Loomis’ past and/or assisting another group of people dealing with a new Ghostface in an effort to heal their wounds. No matter the story, I think the Scream movies were positioned in a really interesting place to explore the Carpenter sisters further, and now it has to go in another direction completely.

Neve Campbell as Sidney and Courteney Cox as Gale in Scream (2022)
Neve Campbell as Sidney and Courteney Cox as Gale in Scream (2022)

What Could Scream 7 Look Like Without Them?

So what’s going to become of Scream 7? According to a recent report, Spyglass may be actively trying to recruit back more legacy characters like Neve Campbell after she herself left the franchise due to a pay dispute, along with Patrick Dempsey after the actor played Detective Mark Kincaid in Scream 3, and 2022’s Scream revealed the pair might get married. Now, if Scream 7 leaned back into Sidney Prescott’s storyline by focusing on her again alongside her husband, I could get on board, but I’m worried that the franchise won’t be able to retrieve Campbell and they’ll softly reboot the story with a ton of new characters.

Perhaps there are avenues where Scream could shift focus to Courtney Cox’s Gale Weathers or Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby Reed instead. Yes, Scream doesn’t necessarily need the Carpenter sisters to thrive, but I’ve really enjoyed the franchise developing their characters across the past two movies, and I’m disappointed that Barerra was fired and Ortega couldn’t get an appropriate deal. Both of them are great talents, and it was awesome to see them make this franchise their own.

While we wait to find out how Scream 7 goes from here, you can watch the latest Scream movies starring both actresses, Scream and Scream VI, with a Paramount+ subscription.