Maybe Scream 7 Should Just Be About the Horror of Trying to Make Scream 7

Horror fans everywhere were majorly conflicted this week when news broke that Scream 7 was back on, with star Neve Campbell returning along with series co-creator Kevin Williamson as director. The idea of Campbell coming back after appearing in Scream VI was hugely exciting, and yet you couldn’t help but feel it was a desperate, and likely expensive, move to make fans forget just how poorly the studio treated previous star Melissa Barrera, who was fired over comments advocating for Palestine on social media.

Buried under that understandable conflict is the question of what, exactly, Scream 7 will be about. We have absolutely no idea, mind you. It could very well just be the next story set in that world. We could learn that Ghostface decided to give up on the Carpenter sisters (remember Jenna Ortega ias also not returning, who played Barrera’s sister) and once again go after the series’ original Scream Queen, Campbell’s Sidney Prescott.

But let’s be honest: that sounds dumb. You can’t make two movies starring two awesome, powerful, deeply-connected-to-the-franchise sisters and then simply write them out. I mean, you could, but it would be very boring. What might not be boring is Scream not just going back to its roots, but uprooting those roots, and making a movie about the reaction to making a movie.

At its heart, the Scream franchise has always been about a love of movies. Movies motivate the killers, influence the victims, and play a major role in every plot. Being a savvy movie fan adds an extra layer of enjoyment and understanding to the films. So, embrace that and have Scream 7 be about making Scream 7. Not Stab, the in-universe movie version of the series. Scream. Our Scream. Actual Scream. Neve Campbell could play herself, the star of the Scream franchise who didn’t come back for the sixth film because the studio didn’t want to pay her enough—but just got a big fat check for the seventh one because the studio fired the previous star. However, she isn’t sure about the current direction and recruits her long-time friend and collaborator, Scream architect Kevin Williamson, in an attempt to save his beloved franchise from disaster. It’s a receipe for success except not all the fans are on board with the idea. They’re conflicted about it. Some are, maybe, even violent about it. And maybe one, or many, decide the best course of action is to go full Ghostface to cut the series—literally—off at its source.

Campbell in Scream 5.

Campbell in Scream 5.
Image: Paramount

Admittedly, this idea calls to mind many other similar films. Wes Craven’s New Nightmare for one, in which Nightmare on Elm Street star Heather Langenkamp played herself, returning for a new Freddy movie, only to be stalked by Freddy in our reality. (It was also, coincidentally, the seventh film in the Nightmare franchise.) It was a meta-precursor to Scream and a fitting, ahead of its time end to that iteration of the franchise.

Scream itself has also touched upon some of these ideas. Scream 3 was about the behind-the-scenes making of a Stab movie, and the fifth film, Scream, was ultimately about fans angry about the direction of the franchise. So maybe this idea is a bit too on the nose or overdone. And yet, it would be a way for not just the studio, but the principals, to pull the fans in and put some closure on all the controversy around the project, while also providing a fun commentary.

If the film is anything like this—and again, we’re just speculating—you could even start to fantasize about who the dream killers would be. Barrera and Ortega? Unlikely but excellent. Williamson himself? That would rule. The Radio Silence guys, upset their successful work was so unceremoniously swept under the rug? Or maybe even Mason Gooding and Jasmin Savoy-Brown, two cast members who were still down to come back but once Barrera and Ortega were gone, lost their choice franchise gigs. And don’t even get me started on Matthew Lillard or Jamie Kennedy finally finding a way back into the franchise as themselves, disillusioned at how they didn’t get to be part of the later sequels.

Great. Now I have a few years of telling myself not to be disappointed if this isn’t the idea.

There’s no word on when Scream 7 will be in theaters, but we’d guess early next year. Do you like the idea of a meta-upon-meta New Nightmare approach? Would you prefer something more straightforward? Or do you just not want the movie to happen at all? Tell us below.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.