The Twilight movies made very few changes to the source novels, but one of the most inspired of these choice alterations was made in the saga’s most underrated sequel Eclipse. The Twilight movies did not have a lot of freedom when it came to diverging from the bestselling novel saga of the same name. Twilight’s fan base was massive and wanted faithful adaptations and, thanks to a canceled Paramount movie adaptation that almost turned the saga into an MTV action movie, author Stephenie Meyer was acutely aware that producers and directors would be happy to take creative liberties with her work if given the chance.
As a result of this, adding minor characters to Twilight and slightly rejigging the order of each story’s events was about all that the directors were permitted to do. In some cases, this proved to be a good thing for the Twilight movie adaptations, as it allowed the movies to provide the faithful adaptation a lot of viewers wanted. However, in some cases, this lack of leeway proved stifling.
For example, the second of Twilight’s sequels, Eclipse, was wise to move away from its source material when it came to the climax of the movie. Eclipse included a battle sequence between the Newborn vampire army and the Cullens (who were allied with Forks’ resident tribe of werewolves), something only mentioned in the novel. Eclipse is the Twilight saga’s most underrated movie, and much of what earns it this status was this dynamic, impactful ending, which is replaced in the novel by a lengthy scene wherein Bella, Edward, and Jacob freeze and argue on a mountaintop to avoid the melee. While this overly long scene still made its way into the movie, the pacing of the third act of Eclipse was immeasurably improved by its added battle sequence.
Why Eclipse Needed Its Ending Battle
Without the added battle between the Newborn vampire army and the Cullen family, Eclipse would have been a desperately boring adaptation. The fight still takes place in the source novel, but it is never described by a POV character and is instead only referenced by characters who were present after the fact. The Twilight books can afford to set Eclipse‘s entire finale away from the action because the book’s narration clues readers into Bella’s internal struggle to choose between Edward and Jacob while the battle rages on miles away.
However, Eclipse’s movie adaptation loses this vital interior narrative, meaning great swathes of this plot line simply consist of the trio trying to pass the time on a snow-covered mountain peak. Eventually, the villainous Victoria attacks the group and is summarily defeated, but this alone hardly provides a compelling end to Eclipse’s story in movie form. Thus, Eclipse was wise to reinstate the battle that was left out by the source novel, depicting the short second life of Bree Tanner, reveling in the action of the plot, and making use of the Twilight saga’s scarce action sequences by ensuring they took place onscreen.