Scream 6 Producer Kevin Williamson Had To Do Some Detective Work To Track Down Hayden Panettiere

Of all the characters returning for "Scream VI," perhaps the most intriguing is Hayden Panettiere's Kirby, who was seemingly killed off for good near the end of "Scream 4." But throughout the ten years between the fourth and fifth films in the "Scream" series, lots of fans pointed out that we never officially saw the lights leave Kirby's eyes. So after years of fans pushing for the seemingly impossible request of bringing Kirby back, "Scream (2022)" ended up quietly granting their wish. In a blink-and-you miss it Easter egg, Kirby's confirmed as having survived the second round of Woodsboro killings, and has since apparently been living her best life off-screen. Now she'll be back as a major player in the newest film, as those who've watched the newly released trailer already know.

But for long-time Scream writer and producer Kevin Williamson, getting Hayden Panettiere back for the newest entry in the series wasn't easy. "We couldn't find her. She doesn't have an agent. She had sort of disappeared," Williamson explained in an interview with Variety. His quest to get back in touch with her seemed hopeless until 2019, where his work on his show "Tell Me a Story" got him in touch with some crew members from "Nashville," the country music drama series Panettiere stars in. As Williamson explained:

"I called up my producer in Nashville and said, 'Do you know Hayden Panettiere, by any chance? Because we can't find her!' He's like, 'Oh yeah, let me call her.' And then they called back and it was like, 'Alright, found her!'"

What's Kirby's role?

Williamson has remained quiet about exactly what Kirby's role will be in "Scream VI," which is probably for the best. "There's so much speculation about what her participation is in the movie and I love it," Williamson said. "We should just let it live until the movie."

It's tough to predict Kirby's role in "Scream VI" because her place in the franchise is sort of unusual. She was never in the original trilogy, nor is she part of the new cast of survivors introduced in the fifth film. Things are complicated even more by the fact that Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) basically took over Kirby's role as the self-aware horror buff of the group. These films are usually only big enough for one of these characters, which means that Kirby or Mindy particularly are in a lot of danger.

But then again, it's more than possible that Kirby's changed a lot since "Scream 4." Perhaps the events of that film have soured her on the horror genre, and she's no longer a jaded "Stab" fan like she was the first time around. And if the teaser is any indication, Mindy also seems to be far less flippant about the whole situation in this new movie. Although we have no idea which of these characters — if either — will make it out of the film in one piece, it'll be cool to see these two interact. Perhaps Mindy gets forced into a similar trivia game with Ghostface, and Kirby gets to use her experience in "Scream 4" to help her through it. It's anyone's guess. But after being somewhat sidelined in both of their debut films, we just hope Kirby and Mindy get the focus they deserve.

"Scream VI" releases in theaters on March 10, 2023.