A ‘Twilight’ TV Show Is a Great Idea, Actually

Movies


The Big Picture

  • The Twilight TV series has the opportunity to delve deeper into the thought-provoking themes and messages of the original books.
  • The series has the chance to rectify problematic aspects of the franchise, such as the inappropriate portrayal of the Quileute tribe and the toxic behavior of Edward, by avoiding harmful misrepresentations and sparking conversations about consent and abuse.
  • The gothic and gloomy tone of the Twilight franchise aligns with current trends in popular TV shows, making it a perfect opportunity to update and refresh the aesthetic for a new audience. The series can capitalize on the ongoing popularity of YA shows with dark themes and provide an enjoyable escape for fans.


For Twilight fans, it might be difficult to picture anyone but Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner playing the mystical and moody starring trio, but earlier this year, news broke that the Twilight saga is being made into a TV series. Lionsgate Television is currently in the very early stages of the process that will turn the bestselling fantasy books by Stephenie Meyer into a show. At the moment, it seems that nostalgic remakes are all the rage since it was also announced that the Harry Potter franchise will be made into a series, which has sparked controversy — and it is safe to say that there are mixed feelings about whether Twilight should be remade as well. Already having made the remarkable transition from an oft-derided, teen-oriented fantasy franchise to an indisputable cult hit, the Twilight franchise is set to see another transformation, and not only is it definitely a good thing — it’s actually exactly what the franchise needs. Here’s why.

Twilight

High-school student Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), always a bit of a misfit, doesn’t expect life to change much when she moves from sunny Arizona to rainy Washington state. Then she meets Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), a handsome but mysterious teen whose eyes seem to peer directly into her soul. Edward is a vampire whose family does not drink blood, and Bella, far from being frightened, enters into a dangerous romance with her immortal soulmate.

Release Date
November 20, 2008

Director
Catherine Hardwicke

Cast
Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Billy Burke, Peter Facinelli, Elizabeth Reaser, Cam Gigandet

Rating
PG-13

Runtime
120 minutes

Genres
Drama, Adventure, Documentary, Fantasy, Romance


A ‘Twilight’ TV Show Can Use the Source Material to its Full Potential

We first saw the Twilight book series and film series in their heady heyday during the 2000s and early 2010s when “Are you team Edward or team Jacob?” was a crucial question. The films successfully adapted the compelling events from the books to create an addictive world of forbidden love featuring a central love triangle between an underestimated girl, a hunky werewolf, and a smoldering vampire. There is clearly an array of entertaining content to draw upon, but more notable are some surprisingly worthwhile messages which reflect that the franchise is more thoughtful than it may appear, providing quality source material for the series.

It is undeniable that the Romeo-and-Julietlevels of illicit love between Bella (Stewart) and Edward (Pattinson) are engrossing, and the tantalizing question of whom Bella will ultimately choose between Edward and Jacob (Lautner) keeps much of the plot moving, but these shallower romantic themes distract from deeper readings. Against the odds, Bella follows her heart and makes the bold decision to be with the one she loves. By courageously enduring the trials of love, defying the norms of her peer group, and confronting tangible vampiric threats, she is rewarded, eventually becoming a physically strong and talented vampire herself. It highlights that remaining authentic to yourself is key and that the hard work it takes to maximize your true potential pays off. These are inspiring yet substantial themes which a series could explore further, creating a meaningful adaptation.

A ‘Twilight’ TV Show Is an Opportunity to Fix the Films’ Biggest Problems

There’s no question that there were some problematic ideas within the Twilight books and the movie franchise. Arguably the most egregious of these was the appropriation of the Quileute tribe, a real tribe who are fictionalized as shape-shifting werewolves in the Twilight saga. Unfortunately, the saga uses stereotypes to inform their portrayal of these characters, and moreover, the films didn’t even always use actors of Indigenous American descent in their casting. In a new series, this could be rectified, with harmful depictions and misrepresentations avoided, thus changing an integral part of the Twilight story for the better, and showing the Quileute Nation the crucial (and overdue) respect they deserve. Perhaps a real tribe should not be depicted at all in the new series, and if anything resembling an Indigenous American nation is devised, then thorough research must be undertaken, and stereotypes avoided at all costs. In this way, a TV show could be a mindful way forward for the saga.

Another misstep in the existing Twilight franchise was the characterization of Edward. Tellingly used as inspiration for the possessive fan-fiction character of Christian Grey, Edward has a habit of stalking Bella, to the extent that he sneaks into her room at night without her knowledge. This is portrayed as romantic evidence of his irresistible love for her; however, re-evaluations have rightly concluded that this is toxic and controlling behavior, and by its nature is conduct that Bella cannot consent to. A new series creates the opportunity to right these wrongs, and even use it as a chance to have a conversation about consent and abuse. Perhaps Bella could address the wrongness of his actions, and this could prompt Edward to reflect and reform. Either way, this is a chance to improve Twilight‘s ethics, for the greater good.

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Lastly, there is the question of the infamous CGI baby — and her inappropriate relationship with Jacob. Her appearance the subject of many hilarious memes, this horrifying spectacle was intended to be a beautiful, otherworldly half-vampire child. Unfortunately, this was not the case, and CGI baby “Renesmee” (Bella and Edward’s child) looked wholly uncanny and creepy. Nevertheless, however terrifying the unintended results were, the truly appalling development was when adult Jacob “imprinted” on baby Renesmee. Twilight lore says that imprinting involves a shape-shifter meeting their soulmate, and becoming intensely attached to them for life. Although this attachment is supposedly platonic if the person imprinted on is under-aged, the problem is that they have not consented to this devoted attention, and being vulnerable could gradually be manipulated into a romantic relationship as they age — again, with consent not possible. The new TV series could therefore correct this abomination; perhaps they could rewrite the lore to say that imprinting can only occur between adults, and also that the imprinting is always reciprocal. Certainly, a TV show could improve this unwelcome element of the Twilight universe.

With the green-blue tones of the first film being particularly iconic, the existing five Twilight movies really leaned into a deliciously self-indulgent gloomy world of pining teens and angsty emotions. The soundtrack, which looked to rock band Muse as its key reference, along with the stunning misty vistas of North America, and the emotionally-laden acting, all combine to form a fantastically gothic aesthetic. The series could certainly maintain the essence of these visual and audial elements, bringing it into the 2020s and updating it for a new audience who were too young to watch Twilight the first time around.

This theatrically somber aesthetic can also be seen in hit shows like Wednesday, Stranger Things, and in darker moments, Euphoria, all of which have taken the world by storm. Therefore, the upcoming Twilight series could take note of shows such as these, devising an updated version of Twilight‘s signature melancholy, which judging by the ongoing popularity of such YA shows with dark themes, there clearly is an appetite for. Even on TikTok, countless songs from the Twilight soundtrack have trended in recent times, reflecting our desire for all things enjoyably woeful.

The sheer enjoyment of a reckless plunge into a love affair with a deadly vampire is sometimes the escape we need from the heavier things in life. An undercurrent of romance, a flourish of fantasy lore, and the thrill of action scenes are all that is needed for a gripping TV series, which could update and reinvigorate a film and book franchise which, whilst beloved, saw much room for improvement.

The Twilight films are available to stream on Starz.

Watch on Starz



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