Like it or not, the Twilight saga was a phenomenon, both in terms of the movies and the series of books they were based on. They broke every record going at the time, as well as revitalising the young adult genre, and spawned more copycats than you can count. In fact, the later success of YA dystopias like The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner, were all at least in part thanks to Twilight’s success.
That’s without mentioning the thousands of less popular supernatural romances that dominated the shelves following the series’ conclusion, and the film adaptations, such as Beastly, Warm Bodies and City of Bones, that attempted to bottle the same magic formula that Twilight had. It even inadvertently spawned the next blockbuster romance series, since the 50 Shades series began as an alternate universe Twilight fan fiction.
To celebrate ongoing, and admittedly mixed, legacy – we’re counting down the top 10 things you probably didn’t know about the Twilight saga.
10. The first scene rehearsed was a love scene
Actors need to be able to fake whatever emotions the part they’re playing demands, but one thing that’s hard to fake is chemistry. That’s why the casting of two leads is so important to get right, especially when the story in question is a romance.
Edward and Bella are one of the most famous couples in all of literature, as well as having a love story that spans five whole movies. That meant the casting was even more crucial than usual, and the love between the two leads had to be convincing. How did Twilight make sure it had cast the right people?
Well, the director flew Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart to her house the second they were tested together, and made sure the first scene they had to rehearse together was a love scene. Not only that, but she made the two of them rehearse together in her own bed.
9. Bella nearly looked completely different
The Twilight saga catapulted Kristen Stewart into the spotlight from relative obscurity, and the character of Bella is still what most people think of when they see her. However, despite how perfect Stewart’s take on the character seems now, she wasn’t always the front-runner to play the part.
Along with author Stephanie Meyer having a whole list of her dream casts posted on her blog at the time, the director and producers had their own ideas for who should play the iconic teen. In particular, both Jennifer Lawrence and Lily Collins were scouted for the part, though both later went on to make their own mark on the YA genre.
8. Robert Pattinson was a Kristen Stewart fanboy
Despite Twilight already being a record-breaking book by the time the movies were gearing up, not everyone was clued-up on the phenomenon. In particular, both of the movies’ male leads had no idea what Twilight the book was about, and went so far as to say they’d never even heard of it.
So why did they audition? Well, Jacob Black actor Taylor Lautner had an agent that was very enthusiastic about him taking the role, while Robert Pattinson only really got interested when he knew Kristen Stewart was likely to be cast. Pattinson had seen Stewart in an earlier movie of hers called Into The Wild, and liked her performance so much that he decided to take a chance on the vampire love story.
7. The films had an unexpected impact
The Twilight saga broke almost every record that existed at the time, and created a worldwide phenomenon as far as fans were concerned. The fans were more dedicated than that of any other property in recent history, creating their own merchandise, fan fiction and even clubs around the story. In particular, the fans were obsessed with splitting themselves into teams based on who they believed Bella should end up with, with Team Edward and Team Jacob obviously being the most popular.
As for which team won out in the end, the movies and books end pretty solidly in Edward’s favour. However, the fan’s seemed to have a different outcome in mind, since in 2010 Bella and Jacob were the two most popular baby names in America.
6. Both Edward and Jacob were nearly fired
Everyone knew that Twilight was a smart target to adapt into a movie, but nobody could have predicted just how successful it would be. As a result, a lot changed between the first and second film instalments, with the director being replaced and the tone of the series drastically shifting.
Of course, none of the main trio of characters were replaced, but both Pattinson and Lautner came close to handing over their fangs and werewolf tails. Pattinson was threatened with termination over his interpretation of the character, which executives said was too brooding and socially awkward. By contrast, Lautner nearly lost his job for not being ripped enough, since the studio higher ups didn’t think he could bulk up in the short time between filming periods.
5. Both Stewart and Pattinson are down to make a sequel
Though it has been a long time since any new Twilight material has been released, fans have not lost hope in some kind of sequel or spin off. There was even talk of an entirely new series based on a series of books Meyer was writing called Midnight Sun, which would retell the events of the original series through Edward’s eyes.
Meyer might have dropped the idea, but both Pattinson and Stewart are ready if she ever picks it back up. Stewart said in an interview that she would “absolutely” do another movie if she was asked to, and even joked for writers to start sending potential scripts her way. Not only that, but Pattinson said in interview that he’d been preparing for a possible reunion, making sure to moisturise every day so that he was ready to play an immortal 17 year old at a moments notice.
4. Pattinson hated the movies at first
Pattinson might have softened on the movies over time, but he had an entirely different outlook during and immediately after shooting the series. On several occasions he said that Bella and Edward’s relationship was weird and wrong, and that the character of Edward was more creepy and troubled than romantic.
He even came after the author of the source material herself, saying that it felt as though the whole series was her fantasy, and that she’d convinced herself that she was really Bella. He went even further than that, saying that the books felt too private at points, almost as if no-one should have been reading them.
3. The movie has a cameo just for book lovers
Film adaptations of books are a serious double-edged sword. On the one hand, book lovers are thrilled to see the story they love so much being brought to life on the big screen, but on the other hand, any slight deviation from the source material risks losing the trust of the fanbase forever. The Twilight movies were forced to cut a lot out from their book counterparts, and this could have spelled disaster for the franchise.
Thankfully, executives were smart enough to include Easter eggs that would reward loyal book fans for sticking around. These included two cameos by author Stephanie Meyer – one in Twilight, where she sits in a cafe writing on a laptop, and one in Breaking Dawn – where she can be seen sitting in the pews at Edward and Bella’s wedding. Apparently the later scene was so overwhelming for Meyer that she cried through every take.
2. Pattinson went totally method for the first movie
Robert Pattinson might not have liked the character of Edward Cullen, but no-one could claim that he didn’t understand him. In preparation for the first movie, Pattinson committed himself to living in total solitude, isolating himself from those around him and even refusing to talk for weeks on end. He did this to understand the loneliness Edward would have experienced, as the only member of his coven to be living alone without a mate.
The work paid off, since Edward’s ice-cold and even self-depreciating persona became the only version of the character anyone could have imagined. However, he almost took it too far, since some on-set were worried the character was so detached that he barely seemed likeable.
1. Breaking Dawn almost had an R Rating
The last book in the Twilight franchise revolves almost completely around Bella’s pregnancy and subsequent child, so it came as no surprise to fans that Breaking Dawn Part One would include a scene alluding to Bella getting pregnant. However, almost everyone involved in tackling that part of the story was nervous about how to approach it, and they didn’t exactly get it right first time.
In the first cut of the movie, the honeymoon scene was so intense that it earned the movie an R rating in America. Pattinson blamed this on the fact that he was fully naked for the whole scene, and the acting itself was more intense than anyone expected. In the end they had to scale it down, and the final result blends much better with the tone of the rest of the franchise.