Scream 2 Leaked A Dummy Script That Had A Fake Killer

Wes Craven's 1996 slasher film "Scream" was an effective horror movie, but gained a great deal of cultural and critical traction for its metaphysical commentary. The characters in "Scream" were old enough to have been raised on the slasher movies of the 1970s and 1980s, making them able to recognize when they were themselves enmeshed in a slasher movie-like scenario. When the killers are eventually revealed, they admit to being inspired by their favorite horror movies. "Movies don't create killers," they say, "movies make killers creative." 

Although "Scream" could have easily been the final slasher movie ever made — it effectively deconstructed the genre once and for all — it was a massive hit, leading to no small number of imitators and a long string of sequels that have become just as weary as the Roman-numeraled '80s slashers the 1996 original was lampooning. "Scream" was released in Los Angeles on December 18, 1996, and its first sequel, "Scream 2," hit theaters only 364 days later. 

The "Scream" movies are all whodunnits, with the identity of the killer or killers revealed right at the end. As such, keeping the actual end of the "Scream" movies was of paramount importance to the studios. Because a "Scream" sequel was in high demand, and the internet was just becoming savvy about finding scripts and publishing them online (the internet was the Wild West in 1997), Dimension Films took many precautions to make sure the scripts weren't leaked to the public. Sometimes script pages were printed on red paper to prevent photocopying (red appears as black on Xerox machines). And, yes, fake scripts with fake endings were written to throw off any potential pirates. 

In a 2022 interview with IndieWire, screenwriter Kevin Williamson revealed details of the fake "Scream 2."

Which one is better?

There is a contingent of "Scream" fans who have begun to declare that "Scream 2," also directed by Wes Craven and written by Kevin Williamson, is better than the original. "Scream 2" certainly turned out better than a hastily constructed sequel had any right to be, but let's not go nuts, eh fellas? 

"Scream 2" continued the horror meta-commentary laid down by the first film, and the characters, recognizing that a rash of killings has once again begun, realize they might be in a sequel. And sequels, of course, follow their own set of rules. Also, in true sequel fashion, "Scream 2" required an ending that at least matched the famed it-was-actually-two-killers-all-along twist ending of the original. Williamson revealed in the IndieWire interview that one of the potential killers would have been a familiar face ... but only in a fake script that was never going to be filmed. The dummy was written deliberately to throw off any pirates and script thieves. He said: 

"We were sending the script out without the last 75 pages to do our best, but we knew it would come out. So my team wrote a dummy script, my assistant wrote it, and we had a fake script with Dewey as the killer, and we leaked the fake one. [...] So by the time the real one got out there, there was no fuss, no one cared."

Dewey, of course, was the goofy former sheriff played by David Arquette. In "Scream 2," Dewey had survived an injury and was now a little more off-balance than he had been. It would have been quite a twist. Only it was never going to be. 

The REAL leaked script

/Film, however, has an inside track on the matter. One of the site's writers, William Bibbiani, revealed that he was one of the people who read the leaked "Scream 2" script back in 1997, and it seems the fake movie wasn't quite what Williamson said. The script that Bibbiani read had quite a more dramatic ending. 

In "Scream 2," the killer was a character named Mickey (Timothy Olyphant), a creepy film school student who aimed to blame horror movies for his homicidal impulses, give interviews, and lift himself into media stardom. He was abetted by reporter Debbie Salt (Laurie Metcalf) who was, in fact, secretly the mother of the first film's killer. She merely wanted revenge. In the leaked script that Bibbiani accessed, the character of Derek (Jerry O'Connell), Sidney's loving boyfriend, was revealed to be the killer, and he was to be aided by Hallie (Elsie Neal), Sidney's best friend. After those two had been dispatched, Debbie Salt would reveal that she had been behind them the whole time. THEN, once Debbie Salt was killed, the man falsely accused of murdering Sidney's mother in the first film, Cotton Weary (Liev Schreiber), would go after Sidney for his own revenge. 

This fake script was previously written about at /Film, and we have been careful to communicate that the Derek/Hallie script was always a fake and not the original draft. Some rumors at the time said that "Scream 2" was rewritten only after the Derek/Hallie script was leaked, but this was not so.

So either Williamson is misremembering the fake script, or ... perhaps there were multiple fake scripts. Seeing as Williamson didn't write the dummy "Scream 2" himself, it's entirely possible he's merely wrong.

Am I going mad, or did the word 'think' escape your lips?

In a 2022 interview with Collider, Kevin Williamson admitted that "I think Dewey was the killer" in the draft his assistant wrote. Perhaps there was a Dewey-is-the-killer draft of "Scream 2," but, as of this writing, it hasn't been located. Williamson's full Collider quote was as follows: 

"There was so much interest in the story that we wrote three different endings because when we were passing out the script for casting, we stopped it at page 75 or 80, and we wouldn't let anyone read the ending. Or, if they wanted to read the script, they had to come into the office and read it and then leave it. And Wes was very, very careful about who could and could not read the script. And then what happened was, I was [thinking], 'This is gonna get out. This is going to leak.' So what I did was, me and my assistant at the time, he wrote a dummy script and had a dummy ending. I think Dewey was the killer."

He seems less sure there. It can be stated with confidence that Williamson didn't write any of the dummy scripts. 

A scour of online screenplay databases reveal certain "early drafts" of "Scream 2," but those require subscriptions to read, and the actual screenplays cannot be verified as early drafts, leaks, or mere fan pages constructed to keep rumors perpetuating. And, yes, there are likely fans who added pages of their own to "Scream 2" specifically to muddy the waters. Until Williamson produces a copy of these dummy scripts himself, anything found online should be taken with a grain of salt. 

Justice for Randy.