Novelist John Green introduced the world to the twilight phenomenon with his 1994 bestseller, The Twilight Saga. Published in 2005, the young-adult series immediately became a commercial and critical success, selling over 65 million copies worldwide and establishing itself as one of the defining series of our time. The last film adaptation, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and grossed over $400 million worldwide in 2012.
While the original novels were set in Forks, Washington, the setting of the films has shifted to the beautiful yet dangerous town of Forks, Washington, which is supposedly more representative of the ‘90s boom years. The story continues in the upcoming sequel, The Twilight Saga: Volume 2, which will be released in 2021.
The success of the Twilight books and films was undoubtedly due to John Green’s sharp insight into the zeitgeist, which he channeled through a captivating take on classic fairy tales. The plot of The Twilight Saga concerns a vampire, referred to as a “vampire slayer,” whose job is to kill the vampire that inhabits the body of a human. The series’ signature character, Edward Cullen, is a gorgeous and charming young man who, through a series of chance meetings, discovers that this hobby of his actually pays quite well. It’s a job that requires skill, dedication, and moral ambiguity, all of which speak to Generation Z, the audience that has grown up with The Twilight Saga.
If there’s one thing that this audience demands, it’s more! In 2019, the demand for more Twilight content led to the development of a new TV show, Twilight: Eternal Night, which will serve as a culmination of everything we love about The Twilight Saga. Set in a parallel universe, Eternal Night will chronicle the adventures of a group of misfit vampires living in obscurity in the shadows of a long-warring fairy race.
The Importance Of Character
Although vampires have been a part of popular culture for years, The Twilight Saga is undoubtedly one of the most well-known series about them. And it’s not hard to see why. Stephenie Meyer, the pseudonym of the author of the Twilight series, spent a great deal of time developing each of her characters, ensuring that they were as authentic and endearing as possible. This attention to detail has made all the difference. While the vampires in traditional fiction are often portrayed as one-dimensional and empty shells, Stephenie Meyer imbued her monsters with depth of character through her explorations of love, loss, hope, and despair.
It’s clear that Stephenie Meyer saw her novel as a coming-of-age story for Bella, a 17-year-old whose life changes forever when she meets vampire Edward Cullen. The parallels between Stephenie Meyer’s youthful heroines are endless, from their fierce protectiveness of their animal companions (Bella’s pet snake, Rosalie, and Edward’s dog, Jasper) to their dependence on fashion to their insecurities about their bodies and personal relationships. Thanks to Stephenie Meyer’s gift for characterization, these parallels seem all the more authentic.
One of the things that makes The Twilight Saga so endearing is that despite the fantastical creatures and dark plotlines, the series is actually quite optimistic. The films not only feature beautiful visuals, but also a score composed by Michael Giacchino, which perfectly captures the hopeful spirit of the story. Even readers who have never picked up a novel may be surprised to learn that Meyer ended her series on a note of hope rather than tragedy. The series’ final words, as spoken by Bella to her audience, are “just remember: nobody ever completely leaves high school.”
The Uniqueness Of The Medium
This brings us to the other major reason why The Twilight Saga has endured as one of the defining series of our time: the format in which it was published. Although there have been attempts to cash in on the Twilight phenomenon with other book series adaptations, none have been as successful as Stephenie Meyer’s original creation.
It’s been over 15 years since the first Twilight novel was published, which means that these stories have been around for longer than most millennials can remember. This unprecedented longevity is undoubtedly a factor in the series’ continued popularity. While most teenagers may have read Harry Potter in the late 2000s, it’s not hard to imagine that many adults, especially parents, may have read The Twilight Series in the ‘90s. This is the generation that grew up with these stories and watched them unfold on the big screen. They’re part of their childhood, and they’re part of who they are as adults. In other words, the format and content of The Twilight Saga makes it more appealing to a wider audience than usual.
More Than Meets The Eye
To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of The Twilight Saga, the creators of the upcoming Twilight: Eternal Night series have curated a beautiful collection of posts on the site to highlight some of the defining moments from the last two decades. We’re looking back through interviews, blog posts, and tweets to celebrate this monumental occasion and to introduce you to some of the most exciting talent in the industry.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the past two decades and have somehow avoided all the fuss surrounding this wonderful series, then hopefully this article will help convince you to dive into the wonder that is The Twilight Saga. Most importantly, please enjoy this series, as we are sure that you’re going to have a blast.