The Twilight Saga boosted the careers of its main cast, among those Kristen Stewart, whose career post-Twilight has had a bit of everything, and has finally managed to leave Bella Swan behind. Vampires and werewolves have been the subject of many books, movies, TV shows, and more for decades, but nothing can compare to what Stephenie Meyer did in her Twilight novel series. The books followed the problematic romance between vampire Edward Cullen and mortal Bella Swan, who had to overcome a series of obstacles so they could finally be together literally forever.
The Twilight books became a worldwide phenomenon, and it wasn’t long until Hollywood set its eyes on them and brought them to the big screen. The Twilight Saga was released between 2008 and 2012, with the final book, Breaking Dawn, divided into two movies. The saga gave a face to all those characters fans knew from the books, and while most of the cast weren’t exactly newcomers when they were cast, the Twilight movies certainly gave their careers a big push. The leads of the saga were Robert Pattinson (who played Edward Cullen), Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan), and Taylor Lautner (Jacob Black), who had to endure a lot of criticism during their time in the Twilight universe, but as years have gone by, most of them have turned their careers around, as is the case of Kristen Stewart.
Stewart’s career began in 2001 in the drama movie The Safety of Objects, but her breakout role was that of Sarah Altman in Panic Room, in 2002. However, Bella Swan made her a widely known name, and while the Twilight Saga was quite demanding, she was still able to work on other projects, as were Adventureland, The Runaways, Welcome to the Rileys, Snow White and the Huntsman, and On The Road, but none of them reached the same success as the story of Edward and Bella. Once the Twilight Saga came to an end, Stewart stayed away from big-budget productions and blockbusters and focused on smaller projects, mostly independent movies, as were the dramas Camp X-Ray and Clouds of Sils Maria, for which her performances received critical acclaim, the complete opposite from the reaction to her time as Bella Swan.
Stewart’s next project was Still Alice, which was also a hit with critics, and helped her continue rebuilding her career post-Twilight. After that, Stewart’s streak of critical success hit a bump when she starred in American Ultra, Anesthesia, and Equals, but regained the praise of critics with the movies Certain Women, Café Society, and Personal Shopper. Stewart found her place in independent cinema with stories with a strong dramatic base rather than big-budget movies whose main concern is bringing back big box office numbers, which also helped her change the image the audience had of her. However, she made a return to big productions with Charlie’s Angels and the sci-fi horror Underwater, which even though failed to connect with critics and viewers, still got her a lot of praise. Independent movies gave Stewart the freedom that Twilight never did to show her range and the emotional depth she can bring to her characters, which viewers doubted she was capable of after how plain Bella Swan is, which isn’t Stewart’s fault at all but that of the writers.
All these different roles post-Twilight have changed the perspective that critics and viewers had of Kristen Stewart as a one-dimensional actress and have given her the chance to show what she can do with her craft, which has opened a variety of doors for her. It’s unknown if Kristen Stewart will make a full return to blockbusters at some point, but it’s not like she needs to do so, as she has found her place in smaller productions with well-structured stories and characters that have more depth than the one that made her a famous name.