It’s been too long since we last saw the former child star, who skyrocketed to fame after starring in “Heroes” and “Nashville,” on our screens.
After a yearslong career break, Panettiere is set to step back into one of her most iconic roles for the latest “Scream” sequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Panettiere will reprise her character, Kirby Reed, alongside stars Melissa Barrera, Jasmin Savoy Brown, Mason Gooding and Jenna Ortega, who fronted the fifth “Scream” installment earlier this year. That movie, directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett and simply titled “Scream,” successfully revived the long-running slasher franchise, pulling in a box office haul of $140 million worldwide.
Courteney Cox is also set to return in the sixth “Scream” as reporter Gale Weathers, but Neve Campbell, who played the horror saga’s original final girl Sidney Prescott, has not (yet!) officially come on board.
Fans have been calling for Panettiere to return, as her character’s death in 2011’s “Scream 4” was left conspicuously ambiguous, leaving many to theorize that she actually survived.
Kirby, an avid horror movie fan and best friend to Sidney Prescott’s teenage cousin Jill (Emma Roberts), took center stage in one of the franchise’s most memorable sequences, as she managed to outwit Ghostface in a deadly round of film trivia. Moments later, however, she found herself on the receiving end of the killer’s blade.
Eleven years later, the character’s fate was revealed during a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter egg in the fifth “Scream.” Panettiere’s face can briefly be seen in a recommended video called “Interview with Woodsboro Survivor Kirby Reed!” while a character scrolls through YouTube.
Plot details about the upcoming sequel are being kept under wraps, except for a vague logline teasing that the new film “continues with the four survivors of the Ghostface killings as they leave Woodsboro behind and start a fresh chapter,” per Paramount Studios.
The currently untitled “Scream” sequel is set to hit theaters on March 31, 2023, with production kicking off this summer.
Panettiere last appeared on screen in 2018, during the final season of ABC’s “Nashville.” She also starred in the 2016 film “Custody” alongside Viola Davis. In recent years, her personal struggles have largely overshadowed her acting career ― particularly her on-again-off-again relationship with Brian Hickerson, who’s been arrested multiple times on domestic violence charges.
In March, she and Hickerson were involved in a physical fight with a group of people outside a Los Angeles bar. A representative told People at the time that Panettiere was “okay” after the altercation.
In the following weeks, Panettiere signed with the management company Mainstay Entertainment, which appears to have signaled a new beginning for her career.