With the latest installment of the Twilight series, Eclipse, hitting theaters this month, fans of the novel and its upcoming adaptation are eager to see how the film will fare at the box office.

But while the financial performance of the film will be crucial in determining just how much cultural impact it has, it’s not the only thing entering into consideration.

With the Twilight films effectively concluding with New Moon in November 2012, and the success of the series being undoubtedly linked to Pattinson’s magnetic presence as Edward Cullen, it’s time for the actor to branch out of playing iconic characters and take on more serious roles.

Pattinson, who won a SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 2011 film The Lost City of Z, has certainly taken on some serious roles in his time, including the much-lauded 2012 film House of Gucci. As well as lending his voice to the upcoming animated film The Secret of the Unicorn, Pattinson can now add another prestigious title to his resume: sex symbol.

Here, we take a look at how the actor’s career shifted following his appearance in Twilight and the different challenges posed by each role.

The Evolution Of A Twi-Hard

It’s fair to say that, since 2008, Pattinson has been at the center of a ravenous group of female fans known as the Twilighters. Perhaps most famous for their obsessive dedication (and extremely vocal opinions), this passionate audience of young women were quick to latch on to Edward Cullen in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight.

The books and films haven’t been limited to America either, with many fans from around the world finding solace in the story of Bella Swan and her voracious appetite for human blood. As well as being one of the most popular literary phenomena of the 21st century, the Twilight series has effectively become a blueprint for young women (and men) seeking to understand and engage with issues concerning gender, sexuality, and relationships. Additionally, Meyer’s frank discussions of mental illness presented in the series have opened up a world of possibility to many young people struggling to understand their feelings.

Pattinson’s career has clearly been altered by his role in Twilight, and although he’s appeared in other films since then, he’s never truly been able to shake off the shadow of Bella. The actor has spoken openly about the intense pressure he’s faced since the first Twilight film, with fans holding endless competitions to see who can get the best “twilight” tattoo.

The level of demand is such that Pattinson has had to turn down numerous film roles since then due to the amount of time he needs to spend with his family. In an interview with EW, Pattinson stated:

“I’m not going to lie and say that the offers don’t come in. They do. But I just can’t commit to anything else. Especially with my family. I don’t want to do anything else that’ll take me away from them. So for now, this is what I do.”

It was once thought that the end of the Twilight series would result in a slow slide into insignificance for Pattinson. Instead, the actor has risen to the occasion, taking on more challenging roles and proving himself as ‘the man for the job’. The demand for product endorsements following Twilight has also helped to boost his profile, with the actor recently appearing in a series of commercials for Gucci.

From Good To Great

Pattinson has certainly stepped up to the plate since Twilight, with the actor recently earning himself a prestigious SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of serial killer John Wayne Gacy in the 2012 film The Lost City of Z. In the film, Pattinson plays Donald “Ducky” Dawson, an adventurer who befriends the teen Gacy, convincing the latter to share his amazing secrets of cooking. In the end, of course, Gacy is shown to be a murderer, and the relationship between the two characters is said to be a “rousing adventure” to the end. 

Pattinson’s performance in The Lost City of Z was praised by critics and won the actor several accolades, including a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, a SAG Award for Best Supporting Actor, and a BAFTA Award for Best Leading Actor in a Supporting Role.

While the role of a serial killer is undoubtedly a challenging one to embody, it’s clear that Pattinson has no problem diving into those kinds of characters if the writing is there. Since Twilight, Pattinson has turned down numerous high-profile film roles in order to focus on the stage, with the actor having starred in both London and New York theatre productions since 2012.

House Of Gucci

Pattinson’s willingness to take on roles that challenge him is clearly a factor in his decision to star in the House of Gucci, an adaptation of Maureen Johnson’s novel of the same name. The movie follows Gucci Mane, a charismatic boss who tries to keep his employees alive and well in a world of ever-changing fashion trends by providing them with an endless supply of champagne and caviar. As well as being the face of the luxury goods company, Pattinson also narrated the movie and provided additional vocals.

Gucci Mane is a bit of a tragic figure and, in a way, a reflection of modern-day society. An excellent boss and provider of luxurious amenities, Gucci is described as a caring father who is nevertheless driven by a desire to expand his business and make more money. Sounding like a combination of Jay Gatsby and Bernie Mac, the movie is said to explore the “beauty and the beast” phenomenon in a unique way. Pattinson’s portrayal of Gucci was met with universal acclaim, and the movie was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedy.

It’s been a busy year for Pattinson, especially since he’s effectively fronted two high-profile movies: a comedy and a drama. While the actor has previously dabbled in both comedy and drama, this is the first time he’s starred in two back-to-back thrillers, with the second, Secret of the Unicorn, due out later this year.

The Multi-Talented Mr. Pattinson

With a string of impressive cinematic achievements under his belt, it’s apparent that Pattinson is willing to jump back into the limelight whenever the opportunity arises. If 2020 was any indication, that opportunity might well present itself in the form of a comic book movie, based on characters created by Jack Kirby and Joe Shuster in the 1930s.

The character of Peter Parker was first introduced to the public in the summer of 2020, and within days, demand for the Spider-Man comics soared, resulting in numerous pre-orders and long lines at comic book stores. A few weeks later, it was reported that 20th Century Fox was in the process of negotiating a deal to bring the character to the big-screen, with Kevin Feige, the executive producer of the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision, stating that “[Peter Parker] is one of the most iconic characters of all time, and it’s exciting that someone is finally going to tackle him.”

Although a deal hasn’t been finalized just yet, it’s clear that Spider-Man is going to be one of the first characters to be adapted for the big-screen, with fans eagerly anticipating the release of the first Spider-Man film in more than eight years.

Pattinson’s diverse range of acting roles reflects his interest in exploring different characters and storylines, something that has undoubtedly helped to shape his public image and appeal to a wide audience. It’s also important to note that, while his screen work has predominantly been in English-speaking countries, the actor is fluent in French and has even performed some French-language roles, including an upcoming French dub of the Spider-Man series (with Vincent Perez as Spider-Man and Loup Garou as the voice of Miles Morales).

The upcoming year will see Pattinson continue to evolve as an actor, with House of Gucci, The Lost City of Z, and Secret of the Unicorn all set for release in 2021 and the Spider-Man trilogy, spearheaded by Robert Pattinson, due for release in 2022.