A Beloved Scream Character Almost Died In The First Movie

You know that old saying about how history is written by the victors? The same holds true for the "Scream" franchise, though each new installment and each new villain behind the Ghostface mask has only left an even more traumatized band of survivors to tell their stories and set the record straight. The 1996 Wes Craven original instantly set the template for all the sequels that followed in its wake, putting Neve Campbell's Sidney Prescott, Courteney Cox's Gale Weathers, David Arquette's Dewey Riley, and the rest of its poor characters through a nonstop bloodbath at the hands of the masked killer(s). With the fifth "Scream" now in theaters, both fans and the returning cast of hardened heroes are taking the opportunity to reminisce about the roots of the popular slasher series and, in this case, the paths not taken.

As you might expect from these movies, the alternate history of this franchise is largely made up of decisions to pull the trigger on major character deaths or not. The idea that "nobody is safe" has almost become a cliché by now, with horror fans primed and ready to expect any of their favorite characters to end up biting it at any given moment, but the original "Scream" apparently could've gone even further in breaking the hearts of viewers everywhere. Looking back at the recurring characters who've, against all odds, survived each and every one of their encounters with masked and robed serial killers, it's hard to imagine one of the core cast members failing to make it out of the first movie. According to Courtney Cox, however, that was on the table at one point.

In an interview with PEDESTRIAN.TV, Cox reveals that none other than the fan-favorite Deputy Dewey Riley almost met his untimely demise. 

"I was actually with one of the producers not long ago and there was a time, I think it was in the first 'Scream,' where David's character Dewey was gonna be killed off, then they saw how he came across and people loved him so they scrapped it."

Given the expanded role David Arquette has continued to play in the sequels, we're nothing less than thrilled that Wes Craven and the entire creative team reversed course on this one. Never underestimate the power of the masses to help shape the fates of beloved characters!

What's Next for Scream?

Not only did fans apparently hold the fate of Dewey in their hands, but the same holds true for where the "Scream" franchise goes from here. The recently released sequel is already proving that horror remains bulletproof in a pandemic, taking over the #1 spot at the box office last weekend from the (no longer) unstoppable might of "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Clearly, audiences remain hungry for these movies and characters, even if the latest film was made with the more overt intention of passing the torch from one generation to a much younger one. We won't go into any in-depth spoilers about "Scream" and how it ended, but franchise regulars Neve Campbell and Courtney Cox are already looking ahead to what the franchise might still have in store moving forward.

When asked about the future of "Scream," Cox offers a healthy dose of common sense, "I would imagine that the audience will want more films." Campbell goes even further, stopping just short of confirming that more sequels have been the plan all along. "I think the intention is for more films to be made. They've brought in this fantastically talented and enthusiastic young cast who could carry it on and I think audiences will be invested in them."

That new cast includes Jenna Ortega, Jack Quaid, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Melissa Barrera, Dylan Minnette, and more ... though surely not all of them make it through the film unscathed.

"Scream" is currently playing in theaters.