One Twilight Deleted Scene Brought Back A Missing Book Element
Cutting deleted scenes from Twilight's movie adaptations wasted Bella's friendships, which allowed the saga's original novels to deepen her character.
In the original Twilight novels, Bella spends more time with her friends than she does in the movie adaptations of the saga, an issue that one deleted scene could have fixed. It is never easy for the filmmakers to bring a popular book to life onscreen. Fans always have specific expectations of how a character will look or sound, and most books need to be trimmed considerably to get their stories down to feature-film length. However, this problem is markedly worse when the book that is being adapted has a massive fan base.
The Twilight saga was already a publishing phenomenon by the time the original novel’s movie adaptation entered into production, and the subsequent movies took advantage of the saga’s fan base. The Twilight saga made a lot of money at the box office, with the combined total receipts of the five movies coming to over $3 billion. However, even a series of adaptations as faithful as the Twilight movies needed to cut some story elements from the novels for time and pacing. This inevitably angered some viewers and, in some cases, worsened the story of the series by making the characters more one-dimensional than their book counterparts.
Bella’s Friends & Their Deleted Twilight Scenes
While Bella doesn’t get to spend much time with her friends in the finished edit of Twilight, this issue was fixed in the movie’s deleted scenes. Like other teen movies, Twilight’s cut scenes feature leisurely-paced conversations where Bella hangs out with her friends although little of consequence happens. Since the Twilight saga was stretched from two books to four during writing, the novels were accused of padding. As such, it makes sense that these scenes never made it to the screen. However, this was still a shame as these cut scenes (particularly a notable exchange from New Moon) illustrate another side of Bella’s personality.
When she is hanging around with her friends, Bella is more relatable than the awkward, often sullen character she comes across as throughout the rest of the first two Twilight movies. In one deleted scene from New Moon, an acquaintance notes how distracted Bella seems and, instead of brushing her off, Bella confides in her about her struggles to choose between Jacob and Edward. It is a more relatable interaction than her melodramatic relationships with both love interests, and early evidence of Kristen Stewart’s ability to find a human side to any character. Twilight’s next-generation spinoff could focus on Renesmee’s coming-of-age, but New Moon’s deleted scenes prove the saga squandered Bella’s.
Why Bella’s Friendships Deserved More Screen Time
Bella’s friendships deserved more screen time because this would have rooted the character in reality, making her fate more dramatic and impactful. For most of the Twilight saga, Bella is caught between sparkling vampires and a tribe of werewolves who play into some regrettable indigenous stereotypes. She rarely encounters any characters who seem recognizably human and this makes it harder to care about her fate, since viewers never really get to know who Bella is when she’s not the love interest of a supernatural being. Even her love triangle with Mike (which Twilight forgot after his lone movie appearance) reduces Bella to an object of desire and not her own character.
In contrast, Bella’s interactions with her friends in New Moon’s deleted scenes serve to deepen her agency. While Anna Kendrick is funny as Bella’s friend Jessica, she also mostly serves as an over-the-top parody of high school stereotypes who exists in contrast with Bella (essentially, the girl who proves Bella is not like the other girls). New Moon’s deleted scenes, however, show that the Twilight saga could have used Bella’s friends as more than one-dimensional side characters. These supporting stars could have shown viewers who Bella is when left to her own devices, rather than defining her character in relation to Edward and Jacob.
How This Cut Affected The Twilight Movies
Unlike the divisive ending of the Twilight saga, the impact of the deleted scenes that were cut from the adaptations can’t be easily measured. The scenes may have messed with the pacing of New Moon (which admittedly is already one of the slower Twilight sequels), but they could also have made the movie more involving and given viewers a better idea of Bella as a character. Unfortunately, these scenes were jettisoned in the theatrical cut of New Moon and, thus, viewers got a more melodramatic but less impactful take on the story. While Twilight’s adaptations could have relied on their leading lady to ground the plot, the sequel instead opted to lean into incident and not character development.