The first Twilight movie had a very different plan when the film was in its earliest development stages — a plan that could’ve easily tanked the franchise as a whole. Based on the romance fantasy series by Stephanie Meyer, the Twilight saga rose to monumental success during the late 2000s and early 2010s. Comprised of four books, the story followed everyday teen Bella Swan to Forks, Washington, as she fell in love with the affluent vampire Edward Cullen and slowly became part of his clan. Meyer’s story also included werewolves and an entire vampiric history that spanned centuries, but the sole focus was the love between Bella and Edward.
The Twilight book series had garnered such a following that it was decided in 2004 that Paramount Pictures’ MTV Films would tackle a movie version of the saga. After three years of development, the rights were then acquired by Summit Entertainment, who would create the Twilight movies as they are known today. Summit’s version of the tale spawned five films and grossed over $3.4 billion worldwide, proving that Meyer’s story was an outright commercial success. However, had Twilight remained in the hands of Paramount, the ending result could’ve been disastrous.
Twilight’s Original Movie Plan Was Very Different
The first movie plan drafted by Paramount departed from Meyer’s Twilight book in enumerable ways, so much so that it would’ve undoubtedly tanked the budding franchise. First off, the creative team wanted to turn Bella Swan, a normal clumsy high school girl, into a track star and formidable vampire hunter. There are really no vampire hunters in Meyer’s universe to speak of, with conflicts happening between vampire covens, and it’s unclear why Paramount wanted to take this strange Buffy-esque turn when the story was, at its heart, a romance tale. With this action-forward focus in mind, their Twilight film also included Bella being involved with the FBI.
Other Twilight changes included some serious character deaths, such as that of Charlie and Carlisle. While the point behind Carlisle’s death remains unclear, Charlie (who survives the series) was meant to die in the first film, and his death would be used to fuel Bella’s fire, so there would be a narrative reason for her to hunt down the vampire villains. Other bizarre pieces of the unmade version of the movie have been revealed over time, such as the fact that there was a proposed scene in which the villain vampires flee from Bella and the FBI on jet skis. Thankfully, Paramount’s adaptation of Twilight never saw the light of day.
Twilight’s Original Movie Plan Would’ve Been A Far Worse Movie
Charlie and Bella Swan in Twilight New Moon
It goes without saying that Paramount’s original Twilight movie plan would’ve been far worse than what Summit Entertainment and Catherine Hardwicke came out with. Firstly, Paramount would’ve done major damage by alienating avid fans with their highly divergent version of Bella Swan’s vampire story. Stephanie Meyer’s book series was at the height of its popularity when the films were in development, and it’s a wonder that the studio decided to honor these fans by separating so comically far from its source material that the story is only reminiscent of its predecessor in the names of the characters alone.
Second, Paramount’s proposed ideas for Twilight and the Cullen family were just flat-out bad. A movie about a high school girl who is simultaneously a track star and vampire hunter, working with the FBI and chasing vampires down on jet skis sounds like the plot of a low-budget horror-comedy. While it’s clear that the studio wanted to take the Twilight series in a direction more akin to the powerhouse series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the heart of the story would be ignored in an action/adventure setting, and their version of Twilight would’ve assuredly been a major flop upon release, killing any idea of a franchise whatsoever.
Twilight’s Original Movie Plan Wouldn’t Have Led To Such A Huge Franchise
Edward & Bella pose as the cast of Twilight look on.
When Catherine Hardwicke’s first Twilight movie hit the screens in 2008, it was just what fans of the books had been waiting for — a faithful adaptation that highlighted the best points of Meyers’ story. What wasn’t known, initially, was just how big that franchise would become. Twilight grossed $35.7 million on its opening day alone, prompting Summit Entertainment to announce that production would begin on New Moon. It’s hard even to picture what Paramount originally had in mind for the Twilight saga, where the story would’ve gone, if there would’ve been the same amount of movies, or if it would’ve followed any of Meyers’ narrative threads.
It’s safe to say that Paramount’s rendition of a Twilight franchise wouldn’t have even come close to the saga as it’s known today. Based on what’s known about their original movie plans, it’s doubtful that even one sequel would’ve been made, let alone a whole series. Between alienating a presold audience and running with a story that’s so dissimilar to its source material that it’s hardly recognizable, there’s no doubt that the Twilight franchise wouldn’t have become what it is now if the original Paramount version of the movie had come to fruition.