When it comes to the Twilight franchise, most people either love or hate the films as well as the books they are based on. No matter which camp you hail from, you have to admit that there have been some stellar movie-making moments in the series, from director Catherine Hardwicke paving the way for the continuous loop of varied YA adaptations we continue to enjoy to this day to the cool action sequences, CGI footage, and that kind of intense emotional scenes that can only exist in teen stories. The first film exceeded box office expectations by millions of dollars and left naysayers dumbfounded, despite Hardwicke’s shoestring production budget.
The series also has plenty of not-so-great elements, from the common complaint about unhealthy teen relationships to its banal heroine. While Hardwicke was able to talk author Stephenie Meyer into including a few more diverse faces in the film, from Edi Gathegi as the least important villain, Laurent, to Christian Serratos and Justin Chon as very minor characters Angela and Eric, it also strongly lacks diversity in its major characters.
As with any other film adaption of a beloved book series, it also faced many fan complaints for not being 100% true to its source material. Then, of course, there are the last-minute changes to the script that both helped and hurt the movie, some of which saved it from tanking and others that still make us wince.
Here are 12 Last-Minute Changes That Hurt Twilight Movies (And 8 That Saved Them).
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20 Saved: Recasting Bryce Dallas Howard As Victoria
While the original Victoria, played by Rachelle Lefevre, was as wild and unruly as her book counterpart, her casting didn’t have enough star power to help bankroll the sequel that would require her much more heavy involvement. Enter Bryce Dallas Howard, who was an up-and-coming star at the time, with her vivid red hair and well-recognized name.
Although long before her The Help, Pete’s Dragon, and Jurassic World fame, the popular actress was just becoming a household name after becoming known from spots in The Village, Lady in the Water, Spider-Man 3, and Terminator: Salvation. Howard is pretty much a staple actress within the fantasy and sci-fi worlds now and in hindsight we can see that, while Lefevre was talented, Howard was able to attract audiences with both talent and name recognition.
19 Hurt: Emily Browning Turning Down The Role of Bella Swan
While Kristen Stewart is well-known as the main protagonist of the Twilight films, she was very nearly not Bella Swan at all. Emily Browning, whom author Stephenie Meyer wanted for the role, actually turned down an audition before Stewart opted to wear Bella’s shoes. Browning has slammed the series, calling it emotionally abusive, and she also says that had she taken the role and gained the attention that Kristen Stewart had in the series, it likely would have driven her from acting.
Many believe that Browning could have brought more nuance to the role of Bella Swan, particularly since the author herself felt that way, but we’ll never know for sure.
18 Saved: Cutting CGI Renesmee
Everyone who has ever glimpsed the animatronic creature that once was Renesmee Cullen thanks their lucky stars that she was ultimately cut from the films. This thing was so weird that it was even dubbed Chuckesmee by those who encountered it, and the scenes with it were so awkward and disturbing that it was deemed unfit for the movie.
It’s obviously difficult to portray a baby who grows into a young child in a matter of weeks, but making her look like a cross between Rita Hayworth and Sailor Moon is not the way to do it. Those who complained about the obviously CGI Renesmee don’t know how good they have it.
17 Hurt: Edward Doesn’t Read Charlie’s Mind
Remember that Edward can read everyone’s mind but Bella’s? It’s a pretty crucial detail, but it’s especially interesting when you consider that he can “listen” to what his girlfriend’s father is thinking about him. Luckily Edward is older than Charlie and a vampire, or else the thoughts might make him nervous and uncomfortable. There’s a deleted scene from the first film where Edward reads Charlie’s mind and Bella chastises him.
The scene helps us remember the tension between Edward and Charlie, giving us an idea of what it’s like to be able to read your future father-in-law’s mind, but it also delivers a funny line: Edward laughs that Charlie thinks that Bella attends an all-girls school and she tells her boyfriend that it’s not fair to listen in on her father’s thoughts.
16 Saved: Cutting Edward Breaking Jacob’s Arm To “Protect” Him
During the fourth Twilight film, Breaking Dawn Part 1, a war between the Cullens and the werewolves looms over Forks as speculation about Bella’s transformation whispers through the Quileute wolf tribe collective mindhive. Edward grudgingly wants Jacob to survive this battle, perhaps for his bride Bella’s sake or more likely because the werewolf’s just been “imprinted” onto the vampire’s daughter, Renesmee. Either way, he does what Edward does best when it comes to conflict: he makes a hasty and poor decision and breaks Jacob’s arm.
The scene, which shows a quick fight and the breaking of Jacob’s arm, would have just done more damage between the two and it’s good that it was cut from the film. Still, fans who think it was fun to watch can still see the deleted scene.
15 Hurt: Bella Doesn’t Lock Edward Out
To lock or not to lock? That was the question, at least for Bella Swan in the third Twilight film, Eclipse. When Edward explains that he understands if an angry Bella doesn’t want him to visit her bedroom, we think that she’s going to stay strong against her shimmery boyfriend and lock him out. That’s exactly what she does in a deleted scene from the movie– before going back to unlock the window.
This would have helped give Bella a bit more strength than she’s normally shown to have. Her first instinct is to maintain her boundaries and remain angry with Edward, but she unlocks the window at the last minute, caving in to her feelings for him. Ultimately, while it’s not the best representation of a healthy teen relationship, it is a fairly accurate one for many.
14 Saved: Keeping Taylor Lautner As Jacob Black
Taylor Lautner was nearly replaced in New Moon because he was considered too small for the part. It wouldn’t have hurt to cast someone with a less “distant” indigenous ancestry in the role, either. However, the start buckled down and bulked up in the gym to save his part as Jacob.
Leaving Lautner behind would have been a big mistake simply due to the fan base he whipped up. Jacob’s identify was solidified with Lautner’s charm, which would have to be traded with teen angst during his werewolf development. It was fortuitous that he decided to bulk up for the role.
13 Hurt: Cutting The Volturi Wedding Invitation Scene
The Volturi are the worst. They’re meant to be the major antagonists in the Twilight series, and many fans take umbrage with the fact that, while they ultimately didn’t declare war on the Cullen family, they were still able to eat humans as they pleased and generally be a plague of monsters on the planet. In the fourth film, Breaking Dawn: Part 1, there is a deleted scene in which the Volturi are invited to Bella and Edward’s wedding in order to help secure peace between the vampire law enforcers and their hippie “vegetarian” counterparts.
Not only does this scene help set up the rising tension within the two final films of the series, but it also reminds us what the Volturi are capable of doing to humans.
12 Hurt: Chopping $4 Million From The Budget
Cutting money from any film’s budget is bound to do it harm, and Twilight faced an enormous cut when $4 million was chopped from the budget at the very last minute. It’s almost as if they were determined to make Catherine Hardwicke’s project fail. Summit Entertainment gave her just four days to find a way to cut that much money from the film’s budget just before production began.
Everything from special effects to action sequences were cut, and we’ll never know the full realization of Hardwicke’s vision as a result. While we can’t say for sure that the cuts impacted the movie all that much without having seen what might have been, we can speculate that something much more special may have been possible had the film retained its original budget.
11 Hurt: Cutting James And Victoria’s Romance
James and Victoria, the hunter vampire and his mate, are the main antagonists in the first Twilight film, threatening both the people of Forks as well as Bella Swan’s life. Unlike the “vegetarian” Cullen family, the pair enjoy drinking human blood. A deleted scene in the film displayed the pair making out while the Forks police force sought them out, and their joy over being so evasive to the cops while enjoying one another added a lot to the film in just a few seconds.
The scene shows the cops in action, which gives us a glimpse at just how ineffective humans are against vampires. It also shows how infatuated and ruthless James and Victoria are. It’s clear they’d definitely want revenge if one of them was taken out by the Cullens.
10 Saved: Changing The Glitter Effects Just Before New Moon
Oh, those glitter effects in Twilight. In the defense of the filmmakers, with the tightened budget given it was probably difficult to give the sparkle-vamps a better portrayal. Meyers’ description of the shining creatures, whose skin shimmers due to its hard strength, is already difficult to describe, let alone depict on film.
Luckily, just before the release of New Moon, the sequel to Twilight, director Chris Weitz, who had the goal of keeping all of the vampires and werewolves looking as realistic as possible, was still working on the CGI effects to improve them over the previous film. Weitz says these changes were still being made just weeks before the first cut of the movie.
9 Hurt: Bella Doesn’t Try To Make Peace with Edward and Jacob
A big component of the Twilight series is Bella attempting to remain friends with Jacob Black while pursuing Edward Cullen as a romantic interest. Black and Cullen hate each other because of their species alone, which is pretty much fantasy racism, and both are in love with her, which only adds more intense vitriol in the triangle.
During the third installment of the series, Eclipse, there’s a scene where Bella attempts to make peace between the two, but it was left on the cutting room floor. While there are other scenes where Bella struggles to keep her suitors at peace, it would have been a moment that demonstrated her strength and commitment to her friend as well as her love interest, giving her a stronger appearance.
8 Saved: Sticking To The Book’s Original Ending
Had the original Twilight film deviated from its book ending, fans would have rioted. The series has such an intense following that something as big as an ending swap wouldn’t go unpunished, which is why it’s good that Catherine Hardwicke protested the script ending of the film, which involved people chasing vampires on jet skis.
The original script also called for Bella Swan to be a track star, and while a movie about an athletic young woman is a great idea, that change would have also left fans livid. Bella’s supposed to be awkward and clumsy. While on the stereotypical side, this resonates for many teens with changing bodies experiencing the turbulence of adolescence.
7 Hurt: Cutting Rosalie’s Desire To Have A Baby
In Eclipse, Rosalie’s backstory is more deeply revealed, giving newcomers to the series more insight into the character. Like most of the Cullen family, Rosalie suffered intense heartache and harm before being changed into a vampire. Her fiance left her beaten, prompting Carlisle to save her by turning her. One of Rosalie’s dearest desires was to become a parent, and although Carlisle was able to preserve her own life, he couldn’t give her the means to become a mother.
In a deleted scene from Eclipse, we see Rosalie interact with another mother and her infant, foreshadowing her desire to raise Bella’s child as her own. The scene both provides context and helps us connect with Rosalie better, so it’s a shame it was cut.
6 Saved: Not Including Bella’s awkward banter
In the first Twilight film, there’s a very weird scene where Bella is exploring Edward’s home and the subject of rain sticks comes up. Bella awkwardly reveals that not only did she have a homemade rain stick in her previous home, but that she and her mother created the craft project with the use of her pet chinchilla’s excrement. It is beyond weird, not only because you can easily use lentils instead in this situation, but because it indicates that Bella and her mom used to enjoy playing with their pet’s droppings.
We are so glad that this deleted scene didn’t make it to the film.
5 Hurt: Reducing Bella’s cooking skills
In the Twilight books, there’s a great deal of focus on how much Bella eats or cooks for her father. It’s mentioned at an almost annoying rate, but it’s used to emphasize her humanity next to her vampire boyfriend and to show that there are some things that Bella is good at. When Bella mentions to her father that she can cook for him in the first film, it’s a missed opportunity not only to show them bonding but to demonstrate her culinary skills, which could have been an interesting hobby for the teen.
It’s not a huge scene in terms of plot or development, but it’s a nice moment between Charlie and Bella that gives both characters a bit more connection and we’re sad to have seen it deleted.
4 Saved: One Less “We Should Wait” Discussion
How many times does Edward insist that he and Bella not share a bed together based on his weird, outdated principles, notion that he either doesn’t have a soul or is condemned to rot in Hell, or just the fact that he’s a vampire who “can’t control himself” and might harm her? It’s an ongoing part of the series that makes a few fans roll their eyes. It’s especially irritating once the two are married.
In Breaking Dawn: Part 1, there’s a scene where Edward still insists that they should wait despite the fact that they are married. It’s weird even by his puritanical standards. Bella’s fulfilled his stipulations for their relationship and his new demands make no sense. It’s a good thing that this scene fell to the editing room floor.
3 Hurt: Carlisle And Esme Kissing Scene Cut
Carlisle and Esme might have a weird backstory, given that he first met her when she was a teen and later saved her life to make her his wife, but the two really are one of the most stable couples in the series otherwise. They are the guiding forces behind the Cullen family, keeping the younger members out of trouble and ensuring that everyone is as happy as possible. They are the reason Bella was welcomed so warmly into their home.
There’s a brief but sweet scene during the first film that depicts the pair kissing. They don’t have many romantic moments like that in the series and a tiny shot of them sharing a kiss helps depict their love and how close they are.
2 Hurt: Charlie’s parenting is erased
Charlie Swan is easily one of the most likable characters in the Twilight franchise. Although he has missed much of Bella’s life due to the literal miles between them, he obviously desires to be a good father and puts her well-being first much better than her competing would-be boyfriends do because that’s Dadding 101. But Charlie also has so many wonderful tender moments with his daughter that were deleted from many of the films, from trying to help her acclimate to Forks in Twilight to tenderly carrying her to bed in blanket when Edward leaves her in the woods.
While Charlie Swan has definitely still has many charming moments in the movies, many of his cut scenes would have enhanced his character and added more warmth to the film.
1 Hurt: Firing Catherine Hardwicke
If a director ever deserved a shot at making a sequel, it’s Catherine Hardwicke. Not only was she given an extremely tight budget, but she also stood against critics who claimed the movie was a waste of time. After doing the books justice in the eyes of many fans due to her YA passion, Hardwicke blew every critic’s mind at the box office.
Twilight made more than $60 million opening weekend alone, grossing over $192 million total. It’s too bad that once it was revealed to be a cash cow, Hardwicke was let go. It was a slap in the face after she’d broken records and pushed for the success of a film others had deemed a failure, especially given how other directors in similar spots are rewarded for their efforts.
What do you wish had been changed in the Twilight movies? Let us know in the comments!