Movie Reviews

Scream 6 Theory: Kirby Is Taking Sidney's Role From The Original Script

While Neve Campbell’s Sidney will be absent from Scream 6, perhaps returning survivor Kirby (Hayden Panettiere) will be taking her place in the story. Divisive as certain story beats were in Scream 2022 – especially the demise of a certain legacy character – the sequel was still a hit and proved there was life left in the saga. Scream 6 looks to be a rare, epic-scale slasher, taking the survivors of part 5 to New York where a new Ghostface killer (or multiple Ghostfaces) make their lives a living hell. One talking point around the movie that’s difficult to overlook is the absence of Campbell’s Sidney.

Scream 6 will be the first time Campbell hasn’t appeared in the franchise, and outside of a surprise cameo, that has left followers of Scream understandably disappointed. That gives the other characters a chance to grow and evolve, of course, but Sid will still be missed. The film also marks the long-awaited return of Panettiere’s Kirby, who was the breakout character of Scream 4. Her exact role in the movie has yet to be confirmed, but since directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett revealed that Sidney’s exit affected Scream 6’s story “greatly,” Kirby’s part could be even bigger than previously imagined.

Related: Scream 6 Is Already Fulfilling A Bloody Promise

What Sidney’s role in Scream 6’s story was hasn’t been revealed, it feels likely it would have been on par with her supporting part in the fifth film. The killings start up again and Sidney is pulled into the investigation around the second act. Judging from the trailer, Kirby will be filling in that role for Scream 6. Rumors suggest Kirby could be a detective or even an FBI agent in the sixth outing, which would not only explain her involvement but her experience with the Ghostface killings would be an asset.

Panettiere’s Kirby return is a big deal to Scream devotees, but more than that, the character could be filling in the role left behind by Sidney. While she’s no longer part of the story, Sidney’s part was almost certainly divided among Scream 6’s other main characters. While trailers can be deceiving, the previews certainly make it appear that Kirby will be the one dispensing some OG Final Girl wisdom this time. Melissa Barrera’s Sam, Tara (Jenna Ortega) and co are hardly novices when it comes to surviving Ghostface attacks, but Panettiere’s connection to the Wes Craven era makes her return feel more impactful.

Campbell has always been thankful for the Scream movies and their importance in her career, but her participation has never been a given. She only returned for Scream 3 after requesting her screentime be cut down, and she had to given convinced to return for both the fourth and fifth movies. Her passing on Scream 6 suggests she might want to permanently move on from the property. The movie’s trailer is strongly hinting that Gale Weathers (Courtney Cox) – the other major legacy character – may not survive this next outing either.

With that in mind, Scream 6 could be setting up Kirby as the series’ next big legacy survivor. It would feel spiteful for the filmmakers to go to such lengths to confirm Kirby’s survival – as her fate was ambiguous following her stabbing in Scream 4 – and to bring her back, only to kill her permanently. Some fan theories suggest she could be Ghostface, but given her experiences, that feels doubtful. If Cox and Campbell are moving on from the movies – which has to happen one day – then Kirby becoming the next recurring survivor is a smart move.

Related: Scream 6 Cannot Repeat Scream 2022’s Dewey Twist

More than any other slasher franchise, the Scream movies are thrillers as much as horror flicks. The next film is playing its cards close to the chest, and it will no doubt have major twists and turns. Assuming Kirby makes it out alive and Scream 7 happens, it would be surprising if she didn’t continue with the series. Given how big a star Jenna Ortega has become since appearing in the fifth entry, producers will likely want her to stick around too. Nothing will replace the legacy characters of the original films, but focusing on the heroes of the current era is the only way the series can evolve.

The old wisdom of slasher sequels such as A Nightmare On Elm Street or Friday The 13th movies is that if a survivor returned for a sequel, they’d likely be killed off quickly. Not only would this allow for new characters to replace them, but it meant producers didn’t have to increase the salary of returning actors. Of course, audiences become attached to those survivors, and Scream was one of the first to bring its protagonists back again and again. The new Scream movies need to start relying on their younger cast, and the absence of Campbell will be a big test to see fans react.

When the promotional circuit warms up for Scream 6, the absence of Neve Campbell and Sidney will be an unavoidable topic. In passing on the sixth film, Campbell revealed the offer that was presented by Paramount “… did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise.” Campbell’s Sidney Prescott is a key reason the films have lasted, with Sid being one of horror’s most iconic Final Girls. Disappointing as her exit was to Scream fans, she made the right call. The actor also clarified that she couldn’t imagine walking onto a set where she felt “undervalued” by the production.

Just because she’s not part of Scream 6, that doesn’t mean Campbell couldn’t return for a future entry. Having her miss out on the next outing will, if nothing else, allow the other characters to grow. Jamie Lee Curtis missed out on many Halloween sequels, but that only made Laurie’s return in later outings all the better. Sid’s desire to live a peaceful, private life makes it more than plausible she’d be willing to sit the next Ghostface attacks out too. How Scream 6 – whose shotgun backlash is ridiculous – will deal with her absence will be interesting to see, however.

Next: Subtle Scream 6 Detail Supports Those Sam Being Ghostface Theories

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