Scream 6: What We Want (And Don't Want) To See

Of all the horror franchises that refuse to die, "Scream" is probably the best of them. The series has had five movies so far and the closest thing it had to a near miss was "Scream 3," a movie that still managed to give Sidney (Neve Campbell) one of her best character arcs in the whole series. The movie's social commentary on the mistreatment of women in Hollywood has also aged like fine wine. 

With the fifth movie being a clear critical and box-office success, the future of this franchise seems stronger than ever. "Scream 6" is already scheduled to release in March 2023, with the seventh installment likely coming a year or two later. Not only that, but "Scream 6" boasts the return of Gale (Courtney Cox), Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), Sam (Melissa Barrera), Tara (Jenna Ortega), Mindy (Jasmin Savoy Brown) and Chad (Mason Gooding), but probably not Neve Campbell as Sidney. This is such a promising dynamic because we're already invested in these characters. The movie doesn't have the same burdens as the last two entries, where they needed to quickly get audiences invested in a largely brand new cast. If any of these characters die, we know it's going to sting far more than any of the deaths in "Scream 4," because of how familiar these characters have become.

But these movies probably can't go on forever; eventually, a movie's going to come along that puts the franchise on another long hiatus. At the same time, it's definitely possible that this recent sequel/reboot will keep things feeling fresh for at least a few more films, depending on how well this next one turns out. With that in mind, here are six things we hope to see when "Scream 6" comes out in 2023, and six things we hope we don't.

What we want: This should be Gale's movie

With the news that Sidney might play a major role in "Scream 7," it's been speculated (by me, mostly) that Scream 5, 6, and 7 will form an unofficial trilogy of sorts, with each film highlighting a member of the franchise's original trio. Scream 5 was very much Dewey's movie: He had a prominent role early on, saved Tara's life, and died in a heroic (albeit, characteristically clumsy) manner. He was then avenged by Gale in one of the series' most gruesome Ghostface deaths ever.

With Sidney likely playing a minor role (if any) in "Scream 6," this movie could be Gale's time to shine. She already has a job in New York City, where the movie takes place, so it makes sense for her to be in the middle of the action from the very beginning. Not only that, but this will be the first movie where her storyline won't center around Dewey. Gale is in an unprecedented period of her life, and hopefully "Scream 6" will dedicate time to explore that.  

Courteney Cox likely won't want to keep doing these movies forever, so they might as well give her a movie where she gets a final spotlight. That doesn't mean she has to die at the end, but she may get a character arc as meaty as what Sidney got in the original trilogy, and only then should the series evolve past her. 

What we don't want: More fake-out deaths

Let's stop with the fake-out kills! First, there was Dewey in "Scream 2," who was stabbed far too many times to believably survive. Then there was Kirby in "Scream 4," who was stabbed twice in the stomach and apparently survived as well, despite her final moments being filmed like a standard death scene. I'm not complaining they survived, of course, because they're both great characters, but if you're not going to kill the character off, maybe don't put them in situations where their survival stretches so much credulity in the first place. 

As great as "Scream" (2022) was, it was perhaps the worst at this. Gale gets shot in the stomach (with, y'know, a gun) and is still strolling around for the rest of the film. (But hey, the paramedics gave her a blanket at the end, and it wasn't the first time she'd been shot in the franchise either.) Chad is stabbed multiple times and is left on the ground outside for what had to have been at least half an hour. The clear implication in the film language was that he'd been killed, but he still gets to share a thumbs up with his sister later as the paramedics take him away. 

The problem with all this is that it hurts the sense of stakes the series has. If multiple stab wounds or a full gunshot to the stomach isn't enough to kill a character (or even incapacitate them), then how do you expect the audience to stay scared? The horror will continue to lose its impact if the main characters' franchise armor stays as blatant.

So in this new movie, if a character gets stabbed a bunch of times in vital organ areas, we hope they actually die. Yes, even if its Sidney or Gale.

What we want: Take advantage of the urban setting

"Scream 6" will take place largely in Manhattan, which is exciting not just because it's where Gale works, but because we've never really seen a "Scream" movie in this sort of urban location before. It will also reportedly take place on or around Halloween, and already the possibilities seem endless. You can easily picture some of the difficulties characters might face if they're trying to stay safe in an area where everyone's wearing costumes, where regular people may be dressing up as Ghostface, thanks to the "Stab" movies. 

The series so far has taken place in fairly quiet, suburban/rural areas, in big isolated houses or empty buildings. "Scream 6" has the opportunity to embrace a more claustrophobic feel. Give us a chase sequence in a cramped apartment building. Have a character be followed on the subway. Let someone get killed in Grand Central Park. Give us a story that could only possibly work in this new setting.

A Manhattan setting can make things even scarier for the main characters, even if they're already surrounded by potential killers every time they step outside. It also makes things more interesting for the killer(s), who will have to be more creative in the ways they choose to go about chasing their prey, especially if they're trying not to get caught. If they do it right, New York City will be an absolutely vital, unforgettable part of this movie.

What we don't want: More killers

Every time a new "Scream" film is in production, some fans excite themselves over the possibility of the new movie outdoing the original two-killer twist that has since become a staple of the franchise. "What if there was a third ghostface killer?" people always speculate. But if "The Rise of Skywalker" has taught us anything, it's that sometimes listening to the fans is a bad idea. 

Whereas two killers makes sense as a way to explain how Ghostface always seems to have the upper hand in chasing down his victims, three killers veers too sharply into screw-the-audience territory. Looking at "Scream" 1, 2, 4 or 5, the clues for each of the two killers are certainly there the whole way through; but by adding a third killer, they'd basically be making it impossible for any observant viewers to figure out the killers before they're revealed, which is a large part of the fun of these movies. 

It also means there's less time to flesh out the killers, to make each of them memorable. "Scream" (2022) had two of the least memorable killers in the franchise, because neither of them felt like the clear focus and there wasn't enough time to flesh both of them out to the level of Jill Roberts ("Scream 4") or Roman Bridger ("Scream 3"). A third killer's only going to make that issue worse. But on the other hand...

What we want: Switch up the formula

One of the reasons "Scream 4" is still such a fascinating watch is because of its final act. For a moment there, for the first time in the series' history, it looked like the killer had won. Jill is shown being carried away in a stretcher as the apparent lone survivor of the Ghostface's killing spree, and on first watch you could almost believe the movie might end things right there. 

Of course, once Dewey reveals that Sidney's still alive it's obvious that Jill won't get away with it. Still, "Scream 4" switched up the established pattern, and by doing so it established Jill as one of the most memorable killers in the franchise. (It also deservedly launched a new stage of Emma Roberts' acting career.)

"Scream 4" also raised an interesting idea for the future of the franchise: what if the killer actually did get away with it? That was the original ending for the movie after all: Writer Kevin Williamson's initial draft ended with a cliffhanger. Originally, Jill did pulled off her plan, but the script ended with the reveal that there was one other survivor left over from the massacre. It could've been Kirby or it could've been Sidney, and it almost ended before we could find out. 

With that in mind, what if the next killer does in fact succeed? Or what if it seems like there's only one killer this time around, only for the final moments to reveal that the killer had been helped by someone else, who has now escaped detection and will presumably kill again? There's a lot of different ways to go about this, but we hope "Scream 6" is comfortable with switching up the formula in some major way. 

What we don't want: A repeat of Scream 2

With both "Scream 4" and "Scream (2022)" serving primarily as commentaries on the original film, it makes sense that they'd want "Scream 6" to have a lot of parallels to the second. Just as "Scream 2" centered around Sidney and Randy trying to move on with their lives as new college students, "Scream 6" is likely to follow Tara, Mindy, and Chad as college students in New York City. The parallels likely won't end there. Maybe Sam has a new boyfriend, and the new killer takes advantage of her trust issues stemming from the last film. Maybe one of the Meeks twins gets murdered in broad daylight as a twisted homage to Randy's sudden death?

Some parallels are fine, but hopefully this will be a film that isn't too focused on revisiting the beats of a previous movie. We've already had two "Scream" movies in a row that play off our love for the original, so it would be nice to have a sequel that worked on its own. As beloved as the original trilogy is, these new movies shouldn't dwell too much on the past.

What we want: Let some Scream 5 characters survive

At the end of "Scream (2022)," Gale and Sidney tell a shaken-up Sam Carpenter that she's going to be okay. It's a nice, optimistic moment for the movie to end on. While no character should ever be truly off limits in one of these films, we do hope "Scream 6" doesn't do anything to undercut this closing statement. The long-term stability of the series depends on having more familiar, long-term characters outside of Sidney and Gale, and Sam seems like the perfect candidate to stick around. 

After all, not only is Sam one of the most interesting characters of the series, but there's a lot going on in her backstory that will hopefully be touched on before she dies. Sam's mother, for instance, is someone who's been referenced a lot so far but never shown. She's a woman who had an affair with the original Ghostface killers, Billy Loomis, and she even went to the same high school as Sidney. If they must kill off Sam, they should at least give her some scenes with her mother before they do.

On a similar note, as much as killing off Mindy would make a nice parallel to Randy's death in "Scream 2," ultimately it would seem like a waste to kill her off without at least giving her more substantial material first. Same goes for Kirby, who many fans are likely deeply curious to see how she's been spending the past twelve years since her near-death experience. 

That's not to say that all three of these characters should be off-limits, exactly, but "Scream 6" should work on building up more long-term character arcs for future sequels.

What we don't want: The return of a former killer

I trust the writers far too much to believe this to be a real concern, but just in case: please don't listen to the fans that want Stu to return. Even though the character's been confirmed dead for 26 years now, there are still fans pushing (seemingly without irony) the idea that he might still be alive, and that he might return for a later role. Yes, this was part of the original plan for "Scream 3," but there's a good reason the writers chose to cut the storyline: It would've been terrible.

Stu's actor, Matthew Lillard, has himself expressed interest in returning to the role. "I mean... it was just a TV? Right?" he tweeted about the character's death scene. "You'd think he'd SURVIVE?" Likewise, Emma Roberts has also expressed a desire to return to the Scream franchise. "I feel like I wasn't done with Scream," she said, despite the fact that her character was electrocuted and then shot in the head. 

Luckily there's been no sign of either actor being on set for "Scream 6," so it looks like the writers are certainly sharp enough to understand just how lazy this sort of the story development would be. However, they did listen to fans when it came to the resurrection of Kirby, who seemed pretty clearly dead in her final scene. Kirby's resurrection isn't quite on the same level as bringing back Stu or Jill, but it is a worrying sign that the franchise might grow a little too comfortable with bringing back seemingly dead characters for nostalgia's sake.

What we want: More chase sequences

One of the best scenes in the series so far was Gale's chase sequence in "Scream 2." All alone and trapped in an unfamiliar, unique setting, Gale is forced to avoid the killer through sheer stealth and quick thinking. The chase scene is only two minutes long, but it feels so much longer due to how tense and creative it is. 

The first two movies are filled with stuff like this. You've got Sidney being chased around her and Stu's house, Sarah Michelle Geller's death in an empty sorority home, that nail-biter scene where Sidney and Halley (Elise Neal) have to escape out of a police cruiser by crawling over a seemingly unconscious Ghostface in the front seat. 

But as the series has gone on, there's been less of an emphasis on exciting chase sequences in favor of faster surprise moments. The scariest kill in "Scream 4" was when the killer jumped out of Olivia's (Marielle Jaffe) closet. The closest thing to a chase sequence in "Scream 4" was when Sidney's fired publicist Rebecca (Allison Brie) was murdered in a parking garage, but it lacked tension because Rebecca was firmly established as someone the audience wasn't supposed to like or care about. Here's hoping "Scream 6" returns to the long, suspenseful chase scenes of the early movies.

What we don't want: Conveniently abandoned buildings

This is a little nitpicky, but one thing a lot of fans noticed in the last two movies was how conveniently empty (or inconveniently, for the victims) the hospitals were during important moments. In "Scream 4," a bruised up Jill is able to leave her hospital bed and go to Sidney's empty room without any detection. In "Scream" (2022), there's a whole chase sequence in the hospital where not a single nurse or doctor is anywhere to be found. The movie sort of explains this by saying they've been moved to a private section of the hospital, but this section doesn't look private so much as full-on abandoned. There's not a single nurse nearby? Not a single security guard?

Admittedly, there are some things you just have to accept when watching a "Scream" movie. You have to accept that Ghostface's height in the first 90% of the film will rarely have any bearing on the height of the eventually-revealed killer. You also have to accept that there's no such thing as a forensics team in this universe, otherwise none of these killers' plans would work out even if they pulled it off without a hitch. 

That said, the movies should still try their best to cut down on the required suspension of disbelief as much as possible. New York City is a famously well-populated place, so there better be some good reasons for if a character ends up completely alone in a public area. 

Want we want: More satire

One of the things that makes every "Scream" movie worthwhile, even if it may have some questionable storytelling decisions, is the strong satirical angle. Say what you will about "Scream 4," but the commentary on reboot culture was definitely on point, and everything about Jill's motives has only rung more true with time. Say what you will about "Scream (2022)," but the commentary on requels (a movie that's half-reboot, half-sequel) and the skewering of toxic fan culture was definitely a lot of fun. 

The original trilogy had a ton to say about both the horror genre and the way the media exploits real life tragedies. Every single movie of the series hasn't just been centered around the question of who's going to survive, who's going to be revealed as the killer; they've all been centered around some kind of skewering of modern American culture. We're hoping "Scream 6" follows through on that trend.

What's going to be the big target of this new film? Personally, I hope it's the true crime community. It's been well-explored how Hollywood exploits real-life tragedy, but what if "Scream 6" focused on the internet's obsession with being armchair detectives, collectively investigating real life cases on their own regardless of how much they end up violating real people's privacy to do it? Perhaps the killer is someone who "did their own research" and came to the conclusion that the last Ghostface killing was staged?

I'm just spitballing here. As long as "Scream 6" doesn't lose the series' trademark satirical approach, it's going to be a worthwhile addition to the franchise. 

What we don't want: Jokes that undercut the tension

This is tricky, because these movies have always walked that tight line between horror and comedy. On paper, it really shouldn't be possible for the characters to both seem aware that they're in a horror movie and for us to care so much about their well-being. In the original "Scream," when Randy's yelling at the character on TV to turn around while he himself needs to turn around, that's a moment that should've broken the movie. But somehow it didn't, and the movies have only leaned further into the meta humor from that point on. 

But with "Scream 3" and "Scream 4" especially, the series leaned a little too hard into the comedy, resulting in a movie that simply wasn't that scary. Whereas "Scream 3" at least had the benefit of being more consistent in tone — it wasn't really trying to be a horror movie in the same way the previous films were — "Scream 4" felt tonally unbalanced. Its opening sequence was 90% meta jokes, and even during death scenes a lot of the characters would get in a quippy line, something that completely undercuts the idea that these are real people whose deaths will be mourned. It was sort of like an R-rated version of Marvel's quip problem.

"Scream" (2022) was a welcome return to the tone of the original two movies. There was plenty of meta humor, but the franchise still took itself seriously when it needed to. We hope "Scream 6" goes in the same direction. 

Either way, things look promising

There's been a lot of controversy around the production of "Scream 6" so far. Not only was there a depressing pay dispute with Neve Campbell, but the incredibly fast pace of production may be putting some fans on edge. It's usually not a good sign when a sequel comes out within 14 months of the previous film, mostly because it often leads to a rushed script and an overall rushed production.

However, it's worth remembering that "Scream 2" had a similarly fast production schedule, being released slightly less than a year after the original. Everything about the writing process for that movie was deeply chaotic, but we still ended up with what many would argue to be one of best horror sequels of all time. 

And as much as the production company lowballing Campbell reeks of Hollywood's traditional sexism, it's worth keeping in mind that the creative team aren't the same people in charge of the salaries. With the franchise clearly moving away from Sidney in "Scream" 4 and 5, she likely wasn't going to have a major role in "Scream 6" anyway, and that's okay. After all, the writers have a strong enough cast of characters already that they no longer need to center a film around upending Sidney's life yet again. If you're worried about the quality of "Scream 6," there are still plenty of reasons to hope for the best.