It’s been a rocky road for ‘Twilight’ since its first installment premiered in 2011. After winning the heart of millions of fans with his portrayal of tortured, romantically challenged vampire Edward Cullen, the actor-turned-director had to follow up with a series of critically panned sequels. In the years since, he’s maintained a low profile, largely shying away from the spotlight and letting his work do the talking for him.

The actor has spent the intervening time doing what he does best: making movies. While he’s stuck to television and independent films in the past, he’s recently shifted his focus to high-profile projects, starring in the massive hit Baby Driver, which he co-directed with Ben Affleck. The film garnered rave reviews and was a box-office smash, earning $275 million worldwide. After a seemingly never-ending string of hit movies, it’s time for Edward to make his grand return to the big screen.

The Cinematic Universe

In the years since the premiere of ‘Twilight,’ the cinematic universe that was once confined to the small screen has exploded, spawning multiple television shows, comics and, of course, movies. As a result, the setting of the Twilight franchise now extends far beyond the Little Red Riding Hood–like townships of Forks, Washington, and the nearby Olympic Peninsula. With the release of the upcoming ‘Eclipse,’ the final installment in the ‘Twilight’ trilogy, the series will conclude with a bang, literally, as the sun becomes the focal point of a major solar eclipse. It’s fitting that the final curtain call for a trilogy is also an all-out cosmic showdown. (And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good apocalypse movie?)

While the ‘Twilight’ series may be drawing to a close, it’s certainly not been a solo journey for Robert Pattinson. Since 2011, he’s starred in multiple projects that fall under the Twilight banner, which he now co-owns with filmmaker Jayne Walcott. For fans worried that the twilight saga would end with a whimper, this collaboration has provided some much-needed relief. Together, they’ve made thrillers such as the critically acclaimed Camp X-Ray, the action-packed Bel Ami and the upcoming Baby Driver. The first of these projects, Camp X-Ray, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year to rave reviews. The Washington Post called it “an expertly crafted thriller” and praised the “taut pacing and expert direction” of Jayne Walcott. While the ending may not quite live up to expectations, the film is packed with enough thrills and chills to keep viewers satisfied. And speaking of keeping viewers satisfied, let’s not forget about the impact that ‘Twilight’ has had on the health habits of generations of young women. As Entertainment Weekly points out: “Since the dawn of time, men have been striving to impress women. And nothing is more impressive than a rich and luxurious lifestyle.” Just like the vampires of legend, the appeal of ‘Twilight’ is largely predicated on an ability to indulge in the adulation of females. Can a fictional character truly change the way we perceive beauty and romance, or is their appeal simply a product of our changing times?

From Edward to Edward

While fans have waited in suspense for news regarding a potential ‘Twilight’ movie since 2012, there’s been no official word from the franchise’s co-creator. In the interim, the character has gone from being a brooding loner to a brooding loner with a cause. After Edward was turned into a vampire, he developed an addiction to blood that eventually led to his unhinging. Since then, he’s dedicated himself to exposing the dangers of substance abuse, specifically the often deadly effects of alcohol and drug use. He’s also dedicated himself to eradicating global poverty, becoming a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, and launching a public speaking tour to raise awareness for his cause. (If you’re curious, he’s also the founder of the grassroots movement End Addiction, which advocates for the repeal of drug laws and the raising of awareness about substance abuse.)

A New Dawn for the Vampire Diaries

While ‘Twilight’ didn’t quite live up to the astronomical success of its predecessor, it has nonetheless enjoyed a mostly positive critical and commercial reception, often cited as one of the best superhero adaptations of all time. Even if you disregarded the sequel’s critical panning, its worldwide gross would still place it among the top five biggest movie flops of all time. The series, initially broadcast on The CW, has also become the first non-Marvel television series to win a Hugo Award, the industry’s highest honor. While it came as no great surprise that the show took home the award for Best Dramatic Series, it’s still gratifying to see a show that has tackled such a sensitive subject matter garner mainstream recognition and praise. (Forbes named it one of the “Top 10 Best Superhero Adaptations of All Time.”)

If there was any doubt about whether or not ‘Twilight’ would endure, it was quickly erased with the release of the hit feature film adaptation of Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling young adult novel, ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.’ The fourth and final installment in the vampire saga, it was directed by Tatum Knight and stars Dakota Johnson, Richard Madden and Booboo Stewart. Airing four months before the theatrical release, the final season of ‘Twilight’ began streaming on Netflix in February 2019, concluding the epic tale of forbidden love and transformation. While the franchise may be drawing to a close, it certainly hasn’t been meaningless. Without a doubt, the world is a much better place because of the existence of ‘Twilight.’