Scream 6 Directors Tried to Bring Hayden Panettiere Back in the Previous Movie

Scream 4's Kirby became an instant favorite amongst franchise fans after the film was released in 2011, and many hoped her on-screen death would eventually be reversed in a future installment. That moment finally came this past week with the release of Scream VI. 2022's Scream reboot confirmed that Kirby had survived the attack in Scream 4, opening the door for her to make an on-screen comeback in this year's movie. 

As it turns out, there were conversations between the filmmakers and star Hayden Panettiere about bringing Kirby back in the fifth Scream. She talked to the writers and expressed interest in coming back, but the only way to fit her into that movie would be as a small cameo. Waiting for Scream VI allowed for Kirby to have a meaningful role.

"I don't remember who called who, but we had a conversation with her on Scream 5 with Guy [Busick] and Jamie [Vanderbilt], being like, 'We love Kirby. We love you. We want you to be in this movie. We're not sure there's a place in the one we're making now, but if there is, would you be open to it? Or down the road if we're so lucky to make another one,'" director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin told Variety. 'She was just like, 'Yes. I'm there, I'd love to. It'd mean so much to me, I'd be so happy to be a part of it.' Collectively, we decided after that call not to shoehorn her into this and have her be a cameo or be fan service. That wouldn't do anything for the character. We felt like we had to do Kirby justice too."

In Scream VI, Kirby is working for the FBI and trying to track down Ghostface killers. Screenwriter James Vanderbilt offered some insight into how the character's new chapter was decided upon.

"We wanted her to really be a part of it and really be a suspect as well," Vanderbilt explained. "One of the things early on that Guy and I talked about is 11 years is a long time. Going from presumed dead in Scream 4 to 30 years old... We talked a lot about what that experience would have done to her. Did that send her in a different direction in life? We came to that line of, 'I didn't want to be afraid of the monsters anymore, I wanted the monsters to be afraid of me,' and latched that idea to her character. It made sense to us that she would go into a profession where she could protect other people from having the same things happen to them."

What did you think of Kirby's long-awaited return in Scream VI? Let us know in the comments!