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Kirby Lives! Hayden Panettiere is Set to Return to the ‘Scream’ Franchise

Scream was the first major box office success story of 2022 and, because of that, a sixth installment of this popular slasher franchise was quickly greenlit. Now, coming off the news that the survivors of the last film were all coming back, there is another beloved franchise character returning to fight Ghostface. Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media have announced that Hayden Panettiere is returning for Scream 6.

Longtime franchise fans know that Panettiere played Kirby Reed in the very underrated Scream 4. Kirby was best friends with Sidney Prescott’s teenage cousin in the film, Jill, who eventually was revealed to be one half of Ghostface. Kirby was left for dead at the end of that particular sequel, but she was one of the few characters in the franchise whose ending was left ambiguous. This has left fans for the past decade theorizing that Kirby was still alive. This popular fan theory was confirmed to be true in Scream 2022 in a blink, and you’ll miss it Easter egg of a thumbnail that saw a YouTube video of Kirby being interviewed. This led fans to believe that the character would be in the next film. Again, fans got their bloody wish granted.

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Plot details are being kept under wraps, but the vague description we have gotten so far states that the sixth film “continues with the four survivors of the Ghostface killings as they leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter.” For any Scream fan, it is going to be exciting to see Panettiere interact with the likes of Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding, and Jenna Ortega. It will also be interesting to see how she will be reintroduced into this franchise and how Ghostface will involve her in their deadly scheme.

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Whatever the case may be, Kirby was such a lovable character because of Panettiere’s infectious energy. She put her own spin on the Randy archetype and was a major part in making Scream 4, director Wes Craven’s last film before his death, something special. Also, hopefully this means Kirby and Mindy have a lot of screen time together!

This news is just another reason to get excited about the upcoming Scream. The entire creative team is returning for the sequel including Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett as the directors. James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick also returned to co-write the screenplay with franchise original writer Kevin Williamson back as an executive producer. If that was not enough, Courteney Cox will be back as Gale Weathers as well! The last Scream was such a great film that felt like slasher comfort food and beautifully honored Craven while also feeling like it meaningfully pushed the series forward. All signs point to this upcoming sequel being more of the gleefully scary same.

Panettiere has other major credits that include TV shows like Heroes, Nashville, and hit films like Remember the Titans where she starred opposite Denzel Washington. However, horror fans will always remember the actress as Kirby. The fact that she is coming back feels like a fever dream, but Scream fans have a major reason to sleep well tonight. Scream 6 starts shooting this summer and the film will be stabbing its way to theaters on March 31, 2023. Casting news is starting to ramp up for this blood-soaked sequel, so hopefully, this means that the announcement of Neve Campbell returning to the franchise is right around the corner. Until then, there has never been a better time to turn off the lights and have a Scream marathon




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