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Twilight Should Have Kept The Original Script’s “Bad Ass Bella”

The Twilight movies should have made series star Bella tougher and more pro-active, if not the action heroine she is in an early script draft.

While the original script for Twilight’s movie adaptation strayed very far from the source novel saga, the blockbuster movies could have benefited from some of the changes made to Bella’s meek character. The Twilight series is not a set of blockbuster movies remembered primarily for their intense action set-pieces. Admittedly, directors like Catherine Hardwicke and David Slade added violence to the Twilight movies to heighten their stakes and make them more exciting, but the franchise was primarily famous for being a teen love story.

Following the small-town teenager Bella Swan, as she fell for brooding vampire Edward Cullen, the Twilight movies had the potential to be a thrilling set of “vampires vs humans” action thrillers. However, the Twilight novels they were adapted from focused more on Edward and Bella’s romance than chases, thrills, and gore. The Twilight movies were mostly faithful to the bestselling book series, resulting in movie versions that (for the most part) were light on action and heavy on drama.


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However, this was not always destined to be the case. Early on in the pre-production of Paramount’s canceled Twilight movie, original screenwriter Mark Lord wrote a script that turned Bella into a gun-toting action heroine who avenges the death of her father via human-on-vampire violence. While the treatment does sound faintly ludicrous, the premise of Bella being a shotgun-wielding vigilante is a strong one. The scrip draft’s death of Charlie Swan was unnecessary (as was Carlisle Cullen’s early exit), but the broader idea of Bella holding her own against bloodsuckers before falling for Edward could have made for a bloodier, more brutal, but still romantic (if far less faithful adaptation) of Twilight.

Twilight Bella Edward bed

Particularly when 30 Days of Night director David Slade signed on for the most underrated (and, not coincidentally, darkest) Twilight movie Eclipse, the franchise should have taken some inspiration from Lord’s first draft and toughened Bella up a little. Original series creator Stephenie Meyers argued that it made sense for Bella to be a passive character given the fact that she is surrounded by vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beings. However, even though Bella is a mere mortal, by the third movie in the Twilight series, viewers could reasonably expect her to be used to paranormal powers and thus at least partially able to defend herself instead of the character remaining as inactive as ever as the series continued.

The fact that the Denali Coven’s backstory is never explained onscreen in the Twilight movies proves that the adaptations were willing to change the source material where it was judged prudent to do so. This makes it somewhat frustrating that the filmmakers never considered making Twilight’s heroine Bella into a more proactive version of her novel counterpart, keeping the character’s meekness even after she becomes a vampire. The Twilight movies missed a trick by throwing out the original script of the adaptation, even if the image of Bella blasting vampires with a shotgun may have been a step too far.

More: How Twilight And True Blood Both Succeeded (Despite Being So Similar)


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