Last April, news of a potential Twilight Saga reboot surfaced, signaling Hollywood’s ongoing obsession with reboots and spinoffs. It’s no surprise that they want to resurrect this iconic series (pun intended). The reaction to this news has been mixed, with some fans feeling it’s too soon, considering the last movie came out in 2012, while others see it as a chance for redemption.
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If the creators lean into the latter perspective, there’s a golden opportunity to revamp the character of Jessica Stanley, portrayed by Anna Kendrick in the film adaptations, and explore her friendship with Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart. Jessica is a character who didn’t receive much depth or nuance in either the books or movies. She seemed to exist solely as a contrast to Bella’s life, had she not been entangled with the Cullen family and the supernatural world. But with the reboot, they can bring her into the core of the story and shed light on the importance of female friendships.
So, who is Jessica Stanley in the ‘Twilight’ universe? Jessica is introduced in the first Twilight movie, where she’s immediately captivated by Bella’s popularity when she arrives at Forks High School. Although she can’t hide her jealousy, she does try to include Bella in her circle of friends, even inviting her to activities like surfing and shopping for prom dresses, despite Bella’s disinterest.
Throughout the series, Jessica is portrayed as Bella’s closest friend, but her role diminishes significantly once Bella starts dating Edward. In fact, Anna Kendrick, who played Jessica, once famously tweeted, “Holy sh*t. I just remembered I was in Twilight.” That sums up how her character was sidelined.
In the reboot, there’s a chance to give Jessica more depth and explore her friendship with Bella. This could be a game-changer for the series, as it can address one of its major flaws – Bella’s lack of characterization outside of her romantic relationships. Bella’s character has often been criticized for being a bit one-dimensional, making it easy for viewers to insert themselves into her role. Adding a strong female friendship, like the one with Jessica, could bring more depth to Bella’s character and align the series with modern themes that prioritize strong, multifaceted female relationships.
Jessica’s character could also inject some much-needed humor into the often gloomy vampire world. Anna Kendrick’s comedic talents shone through in her portrayal of Jessica, and finding an actress with similar comedic abilities for the television version would be a wise move. Moments of humor are essential to balance out the series’ melodrama.
Lastly, the Twilight series sometimes forgets that it’s set in high school with high school-aged characters. In today’s media landscape, which focuses more on real-life aspects, it would be beneficial for the series to delve deeper into the day-to-day lives of Bella and her human friends, especially in the early stages. By reimagining Bella and Jessica’s friendship and fleshing out Bella’s other human connections, the series can infuse more authenticity, humanity, and female empowerment into the storyline. This, in turn, would make Bella’s decision to become a vampire and leave her human life behind all the more powerful and complex, something the film adaptations missed.