Get ready to scream again. It’s been nearly 25 years since Neve Campbell, David Arquette and Courteney Cox first encountered the infamous Ghostface killer in 1996’s genre-bending smash hit Scream, and now three sequels and a television spinoff later, the original trio of stars will return once again for Scream 5.
Currently filming in Wilmington, North Carolina, the highly anticipated slasher sequel was first announced back in May along with the news that Arquette would be returning as Dewey Riley. By late July, Cox had signed on to reprise her role as news reporter Gale Weathers with Campbell later confirming she would be back as the franchise’s central heroine, Sidney Prescott, in September, a mere month before production began.
“I am excited to be stepping back into Sidney’s shoes and seeing Courteney and David,” Campbell told ET earlier this month. “These movies mean so much to me for my life and career and they are always a blast to do, so it should be fun,” the 47-year-old actress added, before revealing she would be leaving “soon” for North Carolina.
“It’s a really fun project,” Arquette said after his casting was announced. “This will be the fifth film and it’s really a special opportunity to show a character’s growth and sort of where they are now.”
According to Arquette, that excitement is shared by Cox. “She thinks it’ll be fun, she loves playing that character too,” he said of his ex-wife. “I love when they write her character as sort of closer to Scream where she’s a bit cutthroat and will do anything to get the story,” he marveled of Cox’s fiery news reporter character.
The pair met on the set of the original Scream and despite their off-screen split, when audiences last saw their characters, they were happily married to one another. It is not yet known what the status of the characters’ relationship will be in the next installment. “I’m sworn to secrecy,” Arquette giggled when prodded for more details.
Another familiar face making a return? Actress Marley Shelton, who first appeared as Deputy Judy Hicks in Scream 4, will also be reprising her role in the new sequel.
Spyglass Media Group and Paramount Pictures have taken over the series from Dimension Films, with the franchise previously grossing over $600 million worldwide. Stepping in for the late Wes Craven, who helmed the first four films before dying in 2015, are directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett of the filmmaking group Radio Silence (behind last year’s sleeper hit Ready or Not) from a screenplay written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. Creator Kevin Williamson, who wrote Scream, Scream 2 and Scream 4 (Ehren Kruger filled in on the third installment), is onboard as an executive producer.
Continuing the franchise without the famed “maestro of horror” Craven, who died in 2015 at the age of 76, was not an easy decision, but any fears the original cast had about the newcomers were quickly squashed.
“These two directors who approached me with this project have such great respect for Wes Craven and are directing because of [him] so they really want to honor his work, so that is really lovely,” Campbell gushed.
“I just want them to be true to Wes’ vision,” Arquette remarked. “The filmmakers were fans of the original and it really inspired them,” he added.
Additionally, Kyle Gallner, who starred in the 2010 A Nightmare on Elm Street remake, has been cast in an unspecified role.
“This is a dream come true,” newcomer Ortega said, while in North Carolina for pre-production on the film. “How incredible that we have the main cast coming back, that is insane,” she continued. “Having seen all of the previous ones, I am very, very pleased with how the script has been written.”
Rumors have been circulating since August that Selena Gomez could be filling the role after Cox, Arquette, Ortega and Barrera all noticeably began following the singer on Instagram. Several sites also reported that Cox commented on one of Gomez’s posts, “Can’t wait to meet you,” though the comment appears to have since been deleted.
Safety precautions are at an all-time high on the production due to the pandemic. In late September, ET confirmed that three crew members working on Scream 5 tested positive for COVID-19 and were immediately quarantined. Production was not delayed and resumed as scheduled because the crew members were not part of the primary pod which included actors and the directors.
By November, however, the film wrapped production without any other major issues, with Williamson officially announcing that Scream 5 would be simply titled Scream.
“That’s a wrap on Scream, which I’m excited to announce is the official title of the next film!” Williamson posted to Instagram alongside a selfie with Campbell and Cox. “Nearly 25 years ago, when I wrote Scream and Wes Craven brought it to life, I could not have imagined the lasting impact it would have on you, the fans. I’m excited for you to return to Woodsboro and get really scared again.”
He continued by writing, “I believe Wes would’ve been so proud of the film that Matt and Tyler are making. I’m thrilled to be reunited with Neve, Courteney, David and Marley, and to be working alongside a new filmmaking team and incredible cast of newcomers that have come together to continue Wes’s legacy with the upcoming relaunch of the franchise that I hold so dear to my heart. See you in theatres January 2022.”
As expected with the franchise, the plot is being kept under wraps for the new sequel but when announcing her return, Campbell did provide one hint: “I am beyond excited to step back into the role of Sidney Prescott and return to Woodsboro,” referring to the fictional town setting of Scream and Scream 4. Scream 2 was set at the fictional Windsor College while Scream 3 moved the story to backlots of Hollywood. While it’s not a major reveal, it does imply there will be a return to roots in this relaunch.
“I feel like throughout the years the franchise has done really well at calling back and bringing nostalgic aspects to the script and I’ll definitely say that there are some here,” Ortega shared.
Meanwhile, fans of the franchise have also taken notice of the house in the selfie Williamson snapped with Campbell and Cox. To many, it looks a lot like home where Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) lived and where the final act of killing took place in the first film.
Even though Stu is not expected to return -- he is dead after all -- it didn’t stop Lillard from saying he’d like to be part of the newest film. “I would love to come back,” he told ET in May, ahead of filming. “Actors, for the most part, most of us are out here tap dancing as fast as we can to feed our families and get jobs. So if there was a chance to come back, that made sense, yes.”
What will happen won't be revealed until 2022 as fans continue to dig into every detail they can about the new film as they have done with every previous installment of the franchise.
“I’m so lucky to be a part of these films, I mean, really, really lucky,” Campbell gleefully admitted. “I think it’s a rarity in any actor’s career to have a film that’s that appreciated and loved and respected. I am very grateful to it and very, very grateful for the fans who appreciate it and I know it’ll be a lot of fun to do it again,” she teased.
Scream is slated to slash into theaters on Jan. 14, 2022.