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How Neve Campbell made her way back to the 'Scream' franchise

What brought the horror franchise's final girl back to Woodsboro after salary disputes, controversy.

Neve Campbell
Neve Campbell in 2011's "Scream 4." (Phil Bray/Dimension Films)

Neve Campbell is heading back to Woodsboro.

The actress, 50, who solidified her stardom as the cursed-but-triumphant heroine Sidney Prescott in the Scream series, announced on Instagram Tuesday that she is returning to the franchise to star in Scream VII.

Campbell, who originated the role of Prescott in the classic 1996 horror film, is resuming her role following several setbacks for the movie, including star Melissa Barrera's firing, Jenna Ortega's departure and director Christopher Landon's exit.

Here's a look at how Campbell found her way back to the fan-favorite film series following years of salary disputes, rumors and controversy.

June 6, 2022: Campbell announces she won't be in Scream VI, citing a salary dispute.

"Sadly, I won't be making the next Scream film," Campbell says, explaining that the offer presented to her "did not equate to the value I have brought to the franchise."

"As a woman I have had to work extremely hard in my career to establish my value, especially when it comes to Scream." Calling it "a very difficult decision to move on," she expresses her gratitude to fans. "You've always been so incredibly supportive to me. I'm forever grateful to you and to what this franchise has given me over the past 25 years."

Neve Campbell
Neve Campbell in Wes Craven's "Scream 3." (Joseph Viles/Dimension Films)

August 2022: Campbell opens up to People about the salary dispute. She admits "it was sad" not to return for the sixth installment but says her exit was "truly" over salary "negotiations."

"I did not feel that what I was being offered equated to the value that I bring to this franchise, and have brought to this franchise, for 25 years," Campbell explains.

"As a woman in this business, I think it's really important for us to be valued and to fight to be valued," she says. "I honestly don't believe that if I were a man and had done five installments of a huge blockbuster franchise over 25 years, that the number that I was offered would be the number that would be offered to a man. ... And in my soul, I just couldn't do that."

November 2022: Following Campbell's announcement that she wouldn't be returning to the franchise, Scream VI star Jenna Ortega confirms Sidney Prescott would still be referenced in the upcoming film.

Ortega tells Entertainment Tonight that it's "very clear, there’s references to Sidney, of course." Citing a "protectiveness in the script" and a "respect" for Campbell, Ortega says "we want the best for her. She's missed and thought of."

March 2023: Scream VI opens in theaters March 10. Its filmmakers share how they deal with the absence of Campbell's character in the new film.

Instead of leaving her whereabouts untouched, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin tells Entertainment Weekly that the character Gale Weathers, played by Courtney Cox in the film, says that Sidney and her husband Mark are "somewhere safe" because "she deserves to have a happy ending."

"For us, you can't make a Scream that doesn't have Sidney's presence in it somewhere," he says. "It just felt like we had to make sure that the characters dealt with that in a real, honest, heartfelt way. And the way that it's dealt with in the movie felt right to us."

September 2023: Scream creator Kevin Williamson, who wrote the scripts for Scream, Scream 2 and Scream 4, says he'd pay to have Campbell return to the franchise.

In an interview on the “Happy Horror Time” podcast, Williamson says that he knows "exactly where [Campbell's] coming from” when she turned down the offer.

“I know her well. I love and adore her, and that’s what she did and it’s great for her. I love everyone involved with Scream and all I can say is pay her the money," Williamson explains. "Yes, you heard it, everyone. That’s what I would do. I would give her the money.”

Nov. 17, 2023: During an appearance at Monster-Mania Con 2023, Campbell weighs in on the decision to kill off David Arquette's beloved Scream character Dewey.

“I thought it was tragic and I don’t usually like to criticize the writing in these projects,” Campbell says. “But I was really disappointed in their choice to get rid of David [Arquette]. Dewey’s such a wonderful character, and I think we were all in love with him and I think we all felt pretty sad about that. Which of course is the reason they do it, because it has more impact, but now I miss him. I want to see more of him.”

Nov. 21, 2023: Melissa Barrera, who played Sam Carpenter in Scream VI, is fired from Scream VII after sharing dozens of pro-Palestinian posts on her social media accounts amid the Israel-Hamas war, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Spyglass Media Group, which owns the Scream franchise, condemns Barerra's posts, saying in a statement that it has "zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech.”

Nov. 22, 2023: Just one day after Barrera's firing, Jenna Ortega exits Scream VII. Her departure from the franchise is said to have been unrelated to Barrera's statements. Sources told the Hollywood Reporter that no deal was in place and the actress was asking for too much money.

December 2023: Director Christopher Langdon, who was slated to direct Scream VII, announces on X that he "formally excited" the project "7 weeks ago." He calls the experience "a dream job that turned into a nightmare.”

January 2024: Campbell says that she would consider returning to the Scream franchise “given the right circumstances."

On the BAFTA Tea Party red carpet, Campbell explains that while it didn't feel right "several years ago," she would now actively consider returning to the franchise. During the same red carpet appearance, Campbell discusses the troubled franchise's struggles in the wake of the departures of Ortega and Barerra.

“It’s sad to me that they’re struggling at the moment. I would imagine that the people at the top are spinning a little bit, trying to make the right decision,” Campbell told IndieWire. “I think I would imagine people want to do the right thing. I would hope. I love this franchise. I love it for [director] Wes [Craven]. I love it for all the people who’ve been involved and even the newer cast. I would hope it doesn’t fall apart.”

March 2024: Campbell announces her Scream return. The actress shares the news in an Instagram post showing a script labeled "Untitled Scream 7." In the caption, Campbell writes, “Sidney Prescott is coming back!!!!”

“It’s always been such a blast and an honor to get to play Sidney in the Scream movies," Campbell posts on Instagram Tuesday. "My appreciation for these films and for what they have meant to me, has never waned. I’m very happy and proud to say I’ve been asked, in the most respectful way, to bring Sidney back to the screen and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”