SCREAM VII Loses Director Christopher Landon in Latest Production Struggle

Christopher Landon has just dropped the bombshell – he's stepping down from the director's chair for Scream VII and leaving the project entirely.
Scream 6, Scream VII

Christopher Landon has just dropped the bombshell – he’s stepping down from the director’s chair for Scream VII and leaving the project entirely. Talk about a storm hitting hard; the Scream franchise is dealing with not just one, but a bevy of setbacks. The leading ladies, Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega, are also making headlines for no longer being on board with the iconic horror franchise. It’s turbulent times for Scream VII, and everyone is left wondering what’s in store for the much-anticipated sequel. 


Landon, the creative force behind films like Happy Death Day and Freaky, got candid on Dec. 23 via social media platform, X (formerly Twitter), where he stated, “I guess now is as good a time as any to announce I formally exited Scream 7 weeks ago. This will disappoint some and delight others. It was a dream job that turned into a nightmare.” The nightmare Landon could be alluding to might involve the unexpected departure of Barrera and Ortega – a situation he’s openly expressed frustrations about on social media in the past.

Scream VI
L-r, Hayden Panettiere (“Kirby Reed”), Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Mindy Meeks-Martin”), Jack Champion (“Ethan Landry“), Melissa Barrera (“Sam Carpenter”), Jenna Ortega (“Tara Carpenter”), Mason Gooding (“Chad Meeks-Martin”) and Courteney Cox (“Gale Weathers”) star in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream 6.”

Spyglass, the production company taking on the Scream franchise, has yet to comment on Landon’s announcement. It’s becoming evident that internal issues within Spyglass and the cast/crew of Scream VII are at play. The details of these struggles remain a mystery as we only have rumored whispers. 

Scream VI
L-r, Mason Gooding (“Chad Meeks-Martin”), Jenna Ortega (“Tara Carpenter”), Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Mindy Meeks-Martin”), Devyn Nekoda (“Anika Kayoko”) and Melissa Barrera (“Sam Carpenter”) star in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream VI.”

Melissa Barrera, who played the lead role in both 2022’s Scream and Scream VI, was initially set to reprise her character in Scream VII. However, Barrera was fired from the project after she took to social media to express her views on the Israel-Hamas War. Spyglass decided to drop Barrera as executives saw her post as antisemitic and crossed the line into “hate speech.”

When this was announced on Nov. 21, Landon immediately expressed his frustrations on X sharing, “This is my statement: 💔 Everything sucks. Stop yelling.” He later deleted that post adding later, “This was not my decision to make.” The news of Barrera’s firing, initially reported in late November, is now revealed to have occurred in October, contributing to the ongoing trend of delayed updates surrounding Scream VII.

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In less than 24 hours after Barrera’s departure, Spyglass delivered another blow by announcing that Jenna Ortega would no longer be part of Scream VII. Unlike Barrera, Ortega wasn’t fired but had to relinquish her role due to scheduling conflicts with her Netflix TV show, Wednesday, in which she is featured as the lead role going into a second season.

While scheduling conflicts stand as the confirmed reason for Ortega’s exit, swirling rumors suggest there might be more to the story. Some sources hint at Ortega requesting a more substantial financial contract, a negotiation Spyglass allegedly refused. Other speculations even claim that Ortega might not have agreed to join the sequel in the first place. It’s important to note that these are mere rumors, lacking full confirmation at this point. Similar to the news about Barrera’s termination, it’s reported that Ortega had already been out of the project for months before the official public announcement. 

Jenna Ortega

It seems Scream VII is in limbo with no leads and no director attached. This car crash of a production is particularly tough for fans to watch as everything seems to be falling apart. The original 1996 Scream, directed by the legendary Wes Craven, became an instant classic, a cornerstone of pop culture at that time, and carved out a significant following among horror film fans.

Over the years, the franchise has struggled to recapture the magic of the original as it aged and damaged with each unsatisfying sequel. However, the 2022 reboot, Scream, and its sequel, Scream VI, injected new life into the series. Directed by the filmmaking collective Radio Silence, these films marked a resurgence for the franchise, boasting impressive box office numbers.

The 2022 Scream raked in $137.7 million globally, and Scream VI went on to set a box office record for the franchise by earning nearly $169 million. With these successes, passing the helm to Landon for Scream VII felt like a promising return for Craven’s beloved creation. Now, with uncertainties surrounding the cast and director, fans are left anxiously awaiting the fate of the horror series.

Scream VI
L-r, Dermot Mulroney (“Detective Bailey “), Jenna Ortega (“Tara Carpenter”), Jack Champion (“Ethan Landry“), Hayden Panettiere (“Kirby Reed”), Jasmin Savoy Brown (“Mindy Meeks-Martin”), Melissa Barrera (“Sam Carpenter”) and Mason Gooding (“Chad Meeks-Martin”) star in Paramount Pictures and Spyglass Media Group’s “Scream VI.”

The tail end of Landon’s resignation announcement tugged at my heartstrings. The filmmaker expressed, “I have nothing more to add to the conversation other than I hope Wes’ legacy thrives and lifts above the din of a divided world. What he and Kevin created is something amazing and I was honored to have even the briefest moment basking in their glow.”

In an era bombarded with sequels, prequels, and remakes, it often feels like production companies lose sight of the original essence—the very reason fans fell in love with a film in the first place. Film is undeniably an art form, and in the case of Scream, it’s vital to recognize that the original masterpiece was crafted by an icon, Wes Craven. His work deserves not only acknowledgment but also profound respect, safeguarding it from being stepped on or muddled in the pursuit of sequels or reboots.

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The one shimmering light in Scream VII is the writer attached to the project, James Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt is a powerhouse in Hollywood and took on the Scream reboot and Scream VI. Although faced with the challenge of starting afresh amidst the exit of key creative figures, there’s beauty in the potential of rebuilding. With that in mind, I hope Spyglass and Vanderbilt can find a way to bounce back from these hard-hitting waves that have flooded Scream VII

Who would you like to see star or direct Scream VII? What’s your favorite Scream movie? Do you think Vanderbilt can continue to save the aging franchise? Let us know on social media and keep following The Illuminerdi for more news and movie content. 

SOURCE: Christopher Landon X Account, The Hollywood Reporter, The Hollywood Reporter

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Gabe Rios

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Gabe Rios spent his youth in the blue-carpeted aisles of Blockbuster. He rented stacks of DVDs with his father every weekend. Favorites included The Matrix, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Seven, and The Big Lebowski. This passion soon became an obsession with film, writing, and all things pop culture. Today, Rios writes for The Illuminerdi, has been a casting director for a handful of indie projects, and is in the process of creating a feature film.