Scream 6 Originally Wasn't Going To Bring Back Hayden Panettiere

It has been 12 years since "Scream 4" arrived to save horror fans from the 11 year break they had to endure after "Scream 3" hit theaters. More importantly, that means it's been 12 years since we've seen Hayden Panettiere's much-beloved character Kirby Reed on screen. Fortunately for fans of the franchise, that all changes with "Scream VI," which will not only take the action to New York City, but it will indeed bring Kirby back for another round with Ghostface.

That wasn't originally the plan, however, as Panettiere revealed in an interview with "Good Morning America." The actor took a four-year break from acting following the conclusion of "Nashville" in 2018, but that break ends with her long-awaited return to the "Scream" franchise. Panettiere explained that she actually reached out to directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett to make this happen:

"I didn't know what I wanted to do next. I did have to take those four years off, and thank god I did. I had to work on myself — my mental health, my physical health, my spiritual health. And then when ['Scream'] popped up and came back around, I was like, 'I want to be a part of that again because I hoped that Kirby was still alive. I willed her back into existence and I called them."

Panettiere went on to explain that she spoke with the duo while they were making last year's "Scream," which successfully revived the series after a big break. "I actually called them [...] when they were doing 'Scream 5' and I was like, "Without me?! Wait. Hold on. I might still be alive, and I could come in handy,'" she said. Turns out, they took that to heart and felt Kirby could indeed come in handy for Ghostface's trip to the Big Apple.

A fan favorite returns

In its day, "Scream 4" was not a huge success relative to the rest of the series, and still ranks as the lowest-grossing entry. Be that as it may, it has truly found its audience over the years, with many fans hailing it as one of the best in the franchise. In particular, people truly adore Kirby, the horror movie loving friend of the killer. Yet, in the movie's climax, she is stabbed multiple times in the stomach and appears to bleed out. Or does she?

Last year's "Scream" included a little Easter egg in the form of a new clip that reads "Interview with Woodsboro Survivor Kirby Reed!" This clued fans into the fact that Kirby survived, teeing up her return in "Scream VI." Hayden Panettiere also discussed her return with Women's Health, detailing her substance abuse issues and postpartum depression, among other things. In that way, Panettiere relates to Kirby, as they both have past trauma they are dealing with:

"We saw Kirby get stabbed, but we never saw her die. We didn't see her rescued either. She has that human trauma, and it's changed her. That's something I can obviously relate to."

"Scream VI" hits theaters on March 10, 2023.