Hayden Panettiere is being welcomed back to the Scream franchise with open arms following news of her grand and long-awaited return.
Calls for the Heroes actress to reprise her beloved role as Kirby Reed accelerated when Hayden was not cast in the recent fifth sequel, and only appeared in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it clues in certain scenes.
Well, Spyglass Media, Paramount Pictures and directors Radio Silence, heard fans’ desperate pleas and have answered – with good news.
According to various outlets, Hayden will be back as Woodsboro survivor and horror movie buff Kirby in Scream 6 but other details are currently unknown.
Kirby quickly became a fan-favourite character when she debuted in Scream 4, starring alongside Emma Roberts, Rory Culkin and OGs Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox and David Arquette.
A core member of the high school friend group, Kirby began the film somewhat sidelined in the ‘best friend’ role but eventually became perhaps the most quick-thinking after managing to escape the Ghostfaces (in this case, Roberts and Culkin’s characters) albeit wounded.
Fans have long wondered what happened to Kirby and while Scream 5 offered little insight, she did pop up on a characters’ screen with her face on a YouTube video about being a Woodsboro survivor. Another scene saw her name in the list of contacts in Dewey’s (Arquette) phone.
Earlier this year, director Tyler Gillett addressed the mystery surrounding Kirby and admitted he and fellow filmmaker Matt Bettinelli-Olpin wanted to do more with the character.
Tyler told Collider in January: ‘We reached out to Hayden. We always knew it’d be such a fun question to answer. We certainly know that there is a real kind of critical mass around the Kirby thing online. And for our money, she’s one of our favourite characters in the franchise.
‘We love Hayden’s work in that fourth movie and thought it would be really fun to provide some conclusive evidence of her survival. And we reached out to her and at some point, we wanted to have her more involved. At the end of the day though, for a character that for us is as interesting and as fun to watch as she is, it didn’t make sense to do something small.
‘It felt like a better way to service it for this movie was to just have a light nod. And we know the fans that care so dearly about that character would pick up on it.’
The most recent Scream sequel was a roaring success at the box office after grossing $140million at the box office worldwide.
A next instalment was soon greenlit and this week, it was announced that Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding, who survived their brushes with the killer, would be returning.
Principal photography is slated to start this summer.