It’s been a rough year for Twilight fans. Not only has the beloved saga (which turns 10 this year) lost its sparkle, but so has the connection between fans and the Hollywood couple that brought Bella and Edward to life. But while some may have given up on the idea of ever seeing their favourite saga renewed, it seems that both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson have other things in mind. More than a year after the release of the final Twilight movie, Pattinson has rekindled his romance with Stewart, famously dating her for a year before breaking up in February 2014. But while the exes focused on each other for more than a year after their breakup (with Stewart even moving to London to be near him), they’ve been noticeably low-profile since then.
With Twilight now one year older and no new movies on the horizon, fans have turned to other fandoms to get their fix. As a result, Stewart and Pattinson have launched a new page on social media, dubbing themselves the “Newest Fans”. While they’ve been active on social media before (particularly Pattinson, whose account has over 530,000 followers), this is the first time that fans have seen them so actively engage with other fandoms. And what does it mean?
If you’re a fan of Twilight, then you’ll know that the films were largely responsible for kicking off a wave of “Twilight mania” that saw the phenomenon grow to such an extent that it influenced pop culture in general. And while there were certainly other factors that helped spark the craze (such as the success of Fifty Shades of Grey and the marketing machine behind it), the films helped establish the sparkle that attracted fans in the first place.
In any case, it wasn’t long before Twilight fans started dreaming of a reunion. In fact, as the films were reaching their tenth anniversary, there was a petition with over 45,000 signatures asking Stewart and Pattinson to make up and give the fans their “justified” ending. While the actors have admitted that a reunion would make things “worthwhile again”, they’ve since stayed away from each other, wary of the paparazzi and the public’s obsession with their relationship. This has only served to further fuel fan fiction about their characters getting back together.
Despite this, it’s evident from their social media activity that Stewart and Pattinson have regressed to the behaviour that originally turned them into fan favourites. Before their breakup in 2014, the two were frequently seen posing together for photos and tweeting about each other’s merits. For example, a typical Stewart-Pattinson tweet in 2013 would read: “Woke up feeling like a new person. Thank you @robertpattinson for reminding me how good I feel when I’m with you. I love you.”
This year has seen a drastic change in their approach. While they’ve always been accessible to the press, the two have now gone above and beyond to ensure that their presence is not revealed to the public. During the making of the latest Twilight movie, Eclipse, they stayed away from each other so thoroughly that they weren’t spotted together for months. It was only when they were both in London in May that they were finally snapped eating dinner with a companion. Naturally, the photo caused a sensation and once again kicked off the wave of Twilight mania that has since plagued their fans. After a brief reunion in London in early June, they’ve since been spotted together as a couple on several occasions, including at the premiere of the new Tomb Raider movie in October.
This is far from the first time that Stewart and Pattinson have been responsible for the revival of a fandom. After the release of the first Twilight movie in 2008, Stewart became a style icon in her own right, inspiring countless copycats. This was also aided by the fact that she had previously been relatively unknown, having made only a handful of films before Twilight. Similarly, the emergence of the Twilight craze coincided with the ascendancy of the so-called “angry teen” trend that saw teens express their individuality through fashion. When Stewart and Pattinson broke up, many fans were so heartbroken that they turned their back on Hollywood, never to watch a film from the couple again.
But while Twilight mania has plagued both the couple and their fans, it seems that Stewart and Pattinson have learned from their mistakes. In an interview with The New York Times, Stewart said that she and Pattinson had “moved past” their differences and were “trying to be mature about this”. And it seems that these differences have made them stronger. In the same interview with The New York Times, Stewart also said that she hoped that the upcoming tenth anniversary of Twilight would be “a time to celebrate, not only the film but also our relationship”. While she didn’t explicitly reference their feud with the press, it’s clear that she and Pattinson are making an effort to repair their image and show the world a new side to their relationship that is “mature”, “civilised” and, most importantly, private.
In short, it seems that Stewart and Pattinson have “grown up” and aren’t interested in playing games any more. They want to be seen as a couple that is committed to each other and their personal lives, and aren’t interested in scandalous behaviour or the public’s obsession with their relationship. In other words, it seems that they’re playing nice. And it’s about time that they did, too, as much as their fans want them to get back together for the sake of the saga.
The Newest Fans
Of course, playing nice isn’t the only thing that this new relationship means. Far from it. As we’ve established, this is a newlywed couple on the make. And while the public still has very little insight into their personal lives (barring the occasional paparazzi photo), this will change. In the coming months and years, we’ll see an increasingly close bond between Stewart and Pattinson as they rebuild their relationship and indulge in a few marital tantrums. While these may not be pretty, at least we’ll get to see them.
Indeed, this is a new type of relationship that Stewart and Pattinson are entering into, inspired by the example set by the famous Olsen twins. After all, while the sisters started dating in 2007, it wasn’t until 2014 that they finally tied the knot. Similarly, Stewart and Pattinson now want to replicate the happy, intimate moments that the Olsen twins can often be spotted enjoying together. This is evident in their photo-shopped images, which feature them holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes.
While we’ve established that Stewart and Pattinson are rekindling their romance and entering into a new type of relationship, their fans have taken this as an opportunity to indulge in some “fandom magic”. As a result, they’ve dubbed themselves the “Newest Fans”, adopting the couple’s hashtag on their media channels. While this may seem like harmless fun, it’s actually performed a very important function in the fandom. By creating this hashtag, fans have made a civilised plea to the couple, asking them to reconcile with each other and make up for lost time. At least, this is how some fans have interpreted it.
The Making of a Trend
Even now, as the tenth anniversary of Twilight draws closer and the media glare fades, fans are still looking for ways to celebrate. For example, the hashtag #TwilightXTen has become a trending topic on social media, with fans eagerly awaiting the release of Twilight’s big anniversary movie. Naturally, these trends only emerged as a result of the publicity that followed the arrival of the first Twilight movie in 2008. Before then, there was little interest in the couple or their saga. However, all of this changed with the emergence of the “Twilight craze” that saw fans obsessively rewatch the films and seek out merchandise related to the characters. Since then, the Twilight effect has been so profound that it’s changed the way that people engage with pop culture in general.
As a result of this trend, social media has become a space that fans have used to rekindle their connection to the couple. And while this may sound like a frivolous use of the Internet, it’s actually an opportunity to learn more about their favourite film series, which has turned 10 this year and is about to celebrate its biggest anniversary yet.