Time is a flat circle. No, hear me out. Publishing trends have time limits but they always find a way to come back, just a decade or so after the last time it was around. With the new Vampire Academy adaptation on Peacock coming out next month (coming to us from THE Julie Plec) as well as the Teen Wolf movie coming out soon (if you have not seen the trailers, what are you doing?), it’s safe to say that the Vampire and Werewolf Era is having a comeback, its renaissance.
But we have to look at the series that really helped create this big craze that lasted from 2007-2012 and that is the Twilight Era. I am just going to talk about Twilight, but there were other vampire series out during that time (Vampire Academy and the spin-off Bloodlines that is even better than the original series, The Vampire Diaries, which then gave us The Originals and our recently departed Legacies, True Blood, The Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz to name a few) as well as a few werewolf series (don’t worry Shiver fans, I got you).
Twilight was literally my everything from 2007-2011. I even had the first book in one of my senior pictures. That was how important the book was for me.
This November marks a decade since the final Twilight film came out and the impact the series had is still felt today. And as someone who lived it, and I mean LIVED IT, we need to talk about it. Music recomendation for this would be the Twilight soundtracks because they are unmatched.
If you are someone who knows a lot about Twilight, you know that it came in the form of a dream to Stephenie Meyer. Her dream featured a vampire and a human girl and he just wanted her blood but couldn’t. This scene is known as the Meadow Scene. And from there, Twilight was born. The first book was published in 2005, the second book New Moon in 2006, and Eclipse in 2007.
I was introduced to the books fall 2007 about two months before I saw the series as the literal talk of the internet. I devoured these books in single sittings and they are long books. But boy, were they good. Before I was aware of the books, MTV Films had the rights to make the movie but thankfully it didn’t work out.
Instead, we got Summit Entertainment.
The first Twilight Film and Breaking Dawn (the book)
Here are a few fast facts about the first Twilight film:
- It was written by Melissa Rosenburg of The OC and Step Up fame
- The first film was directed by Catherine Hardwicke who was known for the film Thirteen and for her edgy work pushing the limits while filming
- The ideal fan cast for Edward and Bella were Henry Cavill and Emily Browning
- Instead, they went with the still trying to get his footing in the world, Robert Pattinson, whose biggest role was still playing Cedric Diggory, and child actress Kirsten Stewart who was making Adventureland
- The screen test for Robert Pattinson happened on Catherine Hardwicke’s bed…where he and Kirsten Stewart as Edward and Bella had to make out
- The fan reaction for the cast was…not good
Here’s the thing about making movies and being a fan of the book. We fan cast people who we think would fit the part accurately. When it comes time for casting, the director, the producers, and the casting department either have hundreds of people they audition or they have a few people in mind and ask them to audition. It’s very rare for an author to have their pick of who should play who. They can be asked their opinion but it’s out of their hands.
When the cast list was announced, I was at school for musical practice. I told a few of my friends the list was up and we ran to our choir director’s room, got on his computer, and screamed over it.
That spring, the first trailer came out and I cringe now but my entire Facebook feed was me going “OME! OME! OME!”
OME=Oh my Edward!
That summer, Breaking Dawn, the final book came out. I went to the midnight release for it, read a few chapters before going to bed because I had a flight that day, read it on the flight, and then finished it at my destination. My mom, who was also a fan of the books, asked me what I thought about it. I was 16 years old and one of my favorite book series of all time had just ended. How did I feel?
“Underwhelmed,” I said. I feel that we as fans put everything on a pedestal as we read it. And when we read trilogies, or series that have many books, we raise the expectations every time. And when those expectations aren’t met, we feel as if the author didn’t try hard enough when they did. It’s us, the readers and fans, who have to realize things.
The First Film’s Release
I sometimes wonder what life was when the Fab Four were the biggest thing in the world. When the first Twilight film came out, the reaction was immediate. Robert Pattinson, Kirsten Stewart, and Taylor Lautner all became household names. The fans were pushing #TeamEdward or #TeamJacob. The amount of merch (fan made and official) was ridiculous. The fan fiction created was off the charts. The film was overall a success. It showed that small studios can create their own film franchises. And we cannot forget the Taylor Lautner SNL episode. That episode was art.
And yet, the downfall was going to happen eventually.
Two more films came out: New Moon in 2009 and Eclipse in 2010, just months after the second film’s release. The actors were tired. The fans were taking in so much content. It was just non-stop vampires. And there was still one more film to go.
Except one film became two and we can all thank a certain film series about a boy wizard for that.
The decision to split the final book into two movies sent shockwaves throughout the book to adaptation community. If that series is ending with the final book being made into two movies, then all series should follow that lead.
Breaking Dawn Part 1 came out November of 2011 and the ending had fans yelling. We finally got to see Bella become a vampire. Never mind the CGI mess that was Renesmee. Bella Swan was a VAMPIRE!
The next November, Part 2 was out and by then the cast was literally going, “I’m just glad I’m done.” And I can’t blame them. Working on a film franchise is hard work. It’s years of your life dedicated to one project. The same can be said to people who work on television shows for multiple seasons. You get tired and you want to go on to other things.
The fans were feeling the exact same way. A lot of us still went to see the last movie because we just wanted to see how it ended. We were no longer as dedicated as when the books first came out…six years ago? Seven? Eight? You get tired and move on to other things. Good news for everyone during the Twilight Era was that the Dystopia Era was thriving (until 2017 when it kind of shut down…and is waiting to be revived again). The Twilight Saga had been replaced with The Hunger Games and the Divergent series was right on its tail for a film adaptation.
And just like that, the Vampire Era of Twilight ended, and the vampire era of many other series slowly started to follow.
Fifty Shades of Grey
Fanfiction is funky. A lot of good fanfiction goes on to become original works. And then we have Fifty Shades of Grey. Known orginally as Twilight fanfiction, the series became very, very popular. The series ended up becoming adapted in a film series as well. And I will never let people forget that it started as vampire fanfiction.
Long time Twilight fans know about Midnight Sun. It’s Twilight in Edward’s point of view. It was literally the Holy Grail of the fandom. Meyer even let Catherine Hardwicke and Robert Pattinson read some of it for his characterization. It was promised that it would come out.
That was until 2008 when tragedy struck. The story was leaked online and Meyer was understandably upset. She put it aside and that was that. Midnight Sun remained a dream for long time fans. Just one day, maybe, we would get it.
And then in May 2020, Stephenie Meyer revealed online it was happening. Midnight Sun was finally coming out. In August it came out and the reception was…not that great.
Remember how I said we put everything on a pedestal? Honey, we did it again! I got maybe 10% of the way done but my problem was that it had been over a decade since I read the first book. I couldn’t remember the book anymore. Even though I wanted to like it, I just couldn’t get into it.
Stephenie Meyer has plans for at least two more Twilight books. Yay? Nay? I really don’t know how I feel about this. I read the books when I was 16-17, which was the perfect age to read them but now here I am 30 years old and wondering when do you just let go to the nostalgia of the books you loved before? When do you let go and let a new generation fall in love with the books?
Let’s look at Vampire Academy. The new series on Peacock looks nothing like the previous film adaptation. Will this be a good or a bad thing? Will book fans embrace all of the changes or will they hate them? Will fans instead say that the film was better than the TV series, even though a very well known producer is in charge? But then again, said producer also angered fans of The Vampire Diaries.
On the flip side, we have Teen Wolf’s movie coming out. But, it doesn’t have fan favorite Stiles in it. Will fans still watch the movie because they loved the show? And with a certain character coming back as seen in the trailer, will that be enough to bring fans in?
And what if there is a Twilight reboot made for TV or on film again? Reboot culture is very in right now. But a lot of the reboots don’t hold up to the original because fans feel a connection with that orginal series. They can’t feel one with the new one.
With people discovering books decades after their popularity thanks to BookTok, it’s been interesting to see a new generation react to what was popular and in nearly 20 years ago. But then again, time is a flat circle. Everything comes back eventually. And with the Vampire Era 2.0 well on the horizon, I say bring it. Because that means Dystopia Era 2.0 is on deck and I for one cannot WAIT for the Joey King led adaptation of Uglies to come out on Netflix because I have been waiting since 2005.
How about you? Were you a major Twihard back in the day? Were you #TeamEdward or #TeamJacob? Or were you a Charlie Swan stan? Were you more Jasper/Alice fan? Or did you prefer the regular Forks High School Kids because Anna Kendrick? Did you speak in Twilight speak all the time? Were the movies our introduction to Muse and Bon Iver?
Briana Michelle Meyer is currently finishing up her time in South Korea where she spent the last six years working as an English teacher. She is actively working on #MurderMysteryWIP which is basically her love letter towards true crime shows she grew up watching. You can find her on Twitter.