One of the more interesting things that came out of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival was the premiere of The Twilight Chronicles, a reunion of some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Among the stars who returned for the premiere were Kristen Stewart, who plays Bella in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling book series, and Robert Pattinson, who portrays the film’s lead character Edward Cullen.
In the decades since the first book in the series was published in 2005, the movie franchise has grossed billions of dollars and become a cultural phenomenon, largely due to the chemistry between Stewart and Pattinson and the story’s emphasis on love and loyalty. But beyond the cinematic elements that made the series so attractive to audiences, The Twilight Chronicles also features cameos from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.
“I think the most magical thing about [The Twilight Chronicles] is that it is a celebration of everything about the first part of the series…it’s a real testament to the fans who have stayed with us all these years,” said J.K. Rowling, who executive-produced the movie and reprised her role as Bella, at the premiere.
Based on Stephenie Meyer’s trilogy, which also include The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2, The Twilight Chronicles picks up immediately after the events of Breaking Dawn – Part 2. Edward and Bella are married with a couple of young sons, and they lead a more normal life than the one they led in the first five books. Bella continues to write books about her life as a vampire and tries to live in the present, while Edward and the rest of the Cullen family try to help her avoid the complications that come with being a supernatural creature.
The story opens with an ominous voice-over from Edward, who gives a speech about how vital it is to keep one’s humanity in light of his family’s transformation into vampires. We then cut to Bella, who is still struggling with her new life as a vampire. Because of his family’s fame, it hasn’t been easy for Edward to hide his true identity, and he has had to watch his loved ones slowly lose their humanity. He wants to protect her from the same fate, so he forces her to live in the daylight and goes about trying to keep their secret, even as their sons grow closer in age and ask questions about their unusual parentage.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Cullen clan have also been struggling to fit in with humans. After centuries of living in the shadows, they now have to navigate the complex social dynamics of normalcy and learn to navigate the mundanity of everyday life. The pressures of this new existence are particularly acute for the eldest member of the family, Carlisle, the most powerful and influential vampire in existence. Despite being hundreds of years old, he still has trouble functioning as a normal human and requires the help of some of his fellow vampires to keep him company.
It’s in this setting that The Twilight Chronicles explores the continuing bonds between Edward, Bella, and their family as they navigate these new challenges together. The movie is a loving homage to the fans who have stuck with the series all these years and a clear indication that, for the filmmakers at least, the end of the franchise was never really in question.
Why Is This Important?
With multiple films and TV series based on the Harry Potter universe reaching theaters and streaming services in the coming years, it’s only a matter of time until a J.K. Rowling movie premieres. And when it does, it will most likely be with a standing ovation from fans around the world.
The success of The Twilight Chronicles should come as no surprise. After all, it is the ultimate love letter to Harry Potter fans, who have been waiting over a decade for a full-fledged reunion of the famous wizarding family. As a lover of all things Potter, I can personally attest to the fan frenzy that gripped the Twittersphere in anticipation of the movie’s premier. And I wasn’t the only one. Many other Harry Potter fans were also eagerly awaiting the movie’s premiere, with some even traveling from outside the U.S. to get a glimpse of Stewart and Pattinson on the big screen. The resulting buzz helped to make The Twilight Chronicles one of the opening night movies at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, with many viewing it as a fitting sequel to J.K. Rowling’s most successful narrative venture.
With so much talk of vampires and werewolves in the media these days, it’s important to remember that Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series is about a lot more than just that. Sure, it is often referenced in pop culture as a ‘vampire novel,’ but The Twilight Chronicles is much more than just a love letter to vampire and werewolf fans. It is, as the above clip from the movie suggests, a love letter to the readers of Harry Potter, as well. And it is precisely this aspect of the series that has ensured it will never be out of print. In fact, it has now been reprinted a whopping seventeen times, the most recent reprint coming out in January 2020. This is largely because of Harry Potter, which is still one of the most popular books of all time, having been translated into fifty-five languages and sold over 250 million copies worldwide.
What Will Be Changed?
While many aspects of The Twilight Chronicles will remain the same, it will most certainly be different from how we’ve come to know the series. First and foremost, Carlisle will not be at Edward’s side for the entire duration of the film. This is because, as we mentioned above, he requires some of his fellow vampires to help him navigate the mundanity of everyday life, especially after so many centuries. So, while Carlisle is still the head of the Cullen clan, he will not be at full strength for most of The Twilight Chronicles. To make up for this, we are given a first glimpse at the powerful and imposing Louis, one of Carlisle’s descendants. We also see a more human side to Emmett, who is the lead singer of a band of vampires that travel with Edward and Bella on their journey. In terms of story, the biggest change will come at the very end of the film. Rather than breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the camera as Bella does at the end of Breaking Dawn – Part 2, we are presented with an extended sequence where she talks to her readership. This is a clear nod to the fact that The Twilight Chronicles is a love letter to Harry Potter fans, and it is made all the more effective because we are given a glimpse of what will be one of the last scenes in the entire series. It is also, as mentioned above, a first look at Louis, Carlisle’s descendant and a clear indication that, for the filmmakers at least, the end of the franchise was never really in question.
Many fans have expressed concern that this extended sequence will take the focus away from Stewart and Pattinson, who are truly the stars of the entire franchise. But this is a concern that does not have to be taken too seriously. After all, these are the same fans who have been patiently and enthusiastically waiting for a reunion of the franchise for a decade. So it is highly likely that their reaction to this unique opportunity will not be one of disappointment, but of unbridled joy. And if that is the case, then who cares about a few minutes of talking head footage? In the grand scheme of things, the fact that Stewart and Pattinson are given some additional screen time is a complete non-issue. They are more than capable of carrying a film by themselves, and it is an opportunity to show off just how brilliant they are as actors.
Who Is The Twilight Movie’s Biggest Surprise?
After spending a decade waiting for the perfect moment to tell Bella’s story, J.K. Rowling finally got her wish. At the very least, she ended up with something that is pretty close to perfect. But who is the movie’s biggest surprise? Based on the comments I’ve seen on Twitter and the forums, many fans are expecting Louis, the powerful and imposing head of the Cullen clan. And, to a lesser extent, Emmett, the singer of the band of vampires. But, in actuality, the biggest surprise in The Twilight Chronicles is none of these characters — it is Twilight, the pet dog of Jacob Black, played by Thomas Hardy. In the first film, it was Harry Potter who had the most screen time. And in each subsequent installment, the main focus has shifted to one of the other books’ characters. But despite its iconic status, Twilight has largely remained untouched, despite being in many ways the heart of the franchise. And this continues to amaze many fans, myself included.