The Scream franchise won’t be the same after Melissa Barrera‘s firing and Jenna Ortega‘s departure ahead of the seventh film.

Before the shocking dismissal, Scream became a horror staple spanning decades. The first film, which was released in 1996, focused on Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) as she faced off against numerous killers hiding their identity behind the Ghostface persona. The final girl received help from fellow OG Scream characters Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox) and Dewey Riley (David Arquette), which led to the creation of three sequels in 1997, 2000 and 2011.

The franchise was revived nearly a decade after Scream 4 was released. This allowed Scream to bring in new protagonists Sam (Barrera) and Tara Carpenter (Ortega). With the changes came surprising exits, such as Campbell’s decision to part ways with the franchise after filming the fifth installment due to failed salary negotiations.

The shakeups kept coming when news broke in November 2023 that Barrera being vocal about her support for Palestine amid conflict in the Middle East with Israel led to her being fired. That same month, Deadline reported Ortega will also exit due to a conflicting filming schedule with Netflix’s Wednesday.

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Keep scrolling for everything to know about Scream VII:

Who Is Returning?

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Philippe Bossé

Before Barrera and Ortega’s departure, fans were expecting to see both reprise their roles. Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding are the remaining actors who make up the onscreen “Core Four” friend dynamic and will presumably return as well.

Since Sam’s boyfriend Danny (Tom Segarra) was left alive at the end of Scream VI, there was an assumption that he would remain part of the group. Segarra, for his part, confirmed that he had plans to play Danny in more installments of Scream.

Scream VI also left the door open for legacy characters such as Gale (Cox) and Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) to make appearances in the future.

Which Cast Members Will Not Be Coming Back?

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Neve Campbell in ‘Scream 5.’
Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Campbell, who was an OG Scream star, didn’t play Sidney in the sixth film. Despite outrage from devoted fans, it doesn’t appear that Campbell and the studio were able to reach an understanding about her salary, so she presumably won’t be coming back in Scream VII either.

Barrera was the second shocking exit from the Scream franchise. After her firing made headlines, production company Production company Spyglass Media Group denied that Barrera’s pro-Palestine comments caused the decision.

“Spyglass’ stance is unequivocally clear: We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech,” read their November 2023 statement to Variety.

Ortega will not be returning as well because of prior filming commitments.

What Creative Shakeups Have Taken Place?

After Spyglass Media Group secured the rights to develop the fifth film, Tyler Gillett and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin were hired as directors on the project. The duo returned for Scream VI, but the next installment will be helmed by Christopher Landon, who is known for his involvement with Happy Death Day and Freaky.

Where Did the Story Leave Off?

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Philippe Bossé

Scream VI focused on Sam’s state of mind as she wrestled with the revelation that she is the daughter of the first Ghostface killer, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). Reddit trolls started to theorize that Sam was the person murdering her loved ones because of her father’s murderous past. Sam was able to find a way to come to terms with her dad being a killer while refusing to go down the same path.

Meanwhile, Sam’s sister, Tara, tried to leave the past behind after their move to New York City. By the end of the sixth film, Tara found love with her friend Chad (Gooding).

Which Fan Theories Could Be Addressed?

The popular fan theory that one of the original Ghostface killers Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) wasn’t actually dead has been brought up many times since the franchise was revived. Lillard has enthusiastically supported the idea of him coming back in some capacity, and Scream VI kept that option open.

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What Does Melissa Barrera’s Exit Mean for Sam?

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Youtube

Before her firing, Barrera discussed where she would like to see Sam’s story go.

“That’s one of the reasons that, when I read the script for Scream 5, I was so interested in the character. There’s so much potential here of where she could go with her mental health — she’s just unpredictable,” the actress told Digital Spy in June 2023. “I find that that darkness in her makes her that much more interesting to play and to watch.”

Barrera continued: “She’s the hero but she’s also kind of the villain. It’s this contradiction in her that I find fascinating and, if we get to do another one, I would love to see. The writers have done a really good job with her up until this point, so I trust them just to know where to take her [in a way] that will be unexpected and cool for the fans.”