Eclipse introduced new characters within the universe of Twilight, among those Riley, a newborn vampire ready to create chaos, and there were some big names considered to play this role. Vampires and werewolves are some of the most popular creatures in pop culture and as such have been adapted to all types of media and in different stories that go from pure horror to comedy and even romance, but none can compare to what Stephenie Meyer did with the Twilight series. Over the course of four novels, the series tells the story of vampire Edward Cullen and mortal Bella Swan, who fall in love and have to overcome different obstacles so they can be together
The Twilight books were a big hit and quickly built a loyal fanbase, which expanded when the series was adapted to the big screen. The Twilight Saga was released between 2008 and 2012, with the final novel, Breaking Dawn, being split into two movies, and while it wasn’t safe from controversy and backlash, it was a success and reached its target audience. The Twilight movies helped boost the careers of its main cast, though not without some obstacles and tough moments as the movies (and their performances) were heavily criticized, but they eventually opened many doors for them in their careers. Given the popularity of the Twilight books, many well-known actors were either interested or considered for a role in the movies, and some of them were already known for their work in other franchises.
The most well-known case is that of Henry Cavill, who Stephenie Meyer saw as her perfect Edward Cullen though he was never approached by her nor the producers. When it was time to cast the new characters introduced in Eclipse, specifically Riley, two big names came up as potential candidates, but the role went to someone else.
Twilight: Tom Felton & Channing Tatum Were Considered To Play Riley In Eclipse
The first name said to be considered for the role of Riley was Channing Tatum. This originated when screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg told E! News back in 2009 that she pictured Tatum as Riley in the big battle in Eclipse, and added that the character “really is tragic” as he’s a puppet for Victoria (who was recast in Eclipse) and so “he has to break your heart a little bit at the end” when he realizes what she has done to him, and she felt Tatum “could do that beautifully”. By the time Eclipse was in production, Tatum had three movies coming out: Fighting, Public Enemies, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and the same year the third Twilight movie came out, Tatum starred in Dear John, so even if he had been approached and had shown interest in the role, it’s likely he wouldn’t have been free to take it.
After that, the next name said to be on the list of potential candidates to play Riley was none other than Tom Felton. Although it’s unclear how this originated, Felton was asked about this many times in interviews back then, and he jokingly said he was “ready when they wanted him” before clarifying that he wasn’t sure. Had Tom Felton joined the Twilight universe, he would have been the third Harry Potter star to be part of it, next to Robert Pattinson who played Edward Cullen, and Jamie Campbell Bower who played Caius, who was part of the Volturi coven. At the time, Felton was still part of the Harry Potter franchise, where he famously played Draco Malfoy, and the same year Eclipse came out, he also appeared in the horror movie 13Hrs, had a cameo appearance in Get Him to the Greek, and appeared in the short film White Other.
The role of Riley ended up going to Xavier Samuel, who at the time had appeared in a couple of Australian movies, with Eclipse being his big break. Samuel is still active and has appeared in various movies since then, most notably Fury and Love & Friendship, and will appear in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis in an undisclosed role. The impact of the Twilight phenomenon was such that even the screenwriters shared their ideal casting choices, and in the end, the audience will have the final word on whether Tom Felton and Channing Tatum would have made a better Riley or if Xavier Samuel was the perfect choice for it.