If you know anything about hardcore fans (think Star Trek or Lord of the Rings), you know they generally don’t react well to change, especially when that change comes at them like a runaway starship. Twilight fans are no exception, and they’ve just been hit with a big one: Rachelle Lefevre will no longer be playing the role of the vampire Victoria; instead, the part will be taken by Bryce Dallas Howard.
The news hit the web at around 9:00 Tuesday night, and the fandom was pierced with the screams of a million fangirls. Half of them checked their calendars to make sure it wasn’t April; the other half stared at their computer screens in shock. “I knew I felt a ripple in the twiverse!” one fan quipped via Twitter (Bryce Dallas Howard became a trending topic within an hour of the announcement);
however, not all reactions were as lighthearted. Anger, shock, and sadness seemed to be the most common among fans lucky (or unlucky) enough to get the news first; disbelief came in right behind. Even the fact that the news came from trusted and respected sites like the Twilight Lexicon wasn’t enough to dispel that “April Fool’s” feeling among many a fan. Unfortunately, once the shock died down a few hours later, reality began to sink in.
“It’s wrong to replace her!” many fans raged. “I can’t see anyone else in that role,” others complained. Some started thinking long-term: “Will Ron Howard direct Breaking Dawn?” The reactions have been numerous and varied, but the underlying confusion of the fans’ outcries is clear: why is Lefevre being replaced?
The news came directly from the bigwigs at Summit Entertainment, the studio that produces the Twilight saga. The press release was lengthy and touted Howard’s acting experience in films such as Terminator Salvation and The Village, standard for this sort of thing, but surprisingly, it’s not Howard’s talent that has everyone up in arms. Rather, the too-short explanation of Lefevre’s replacement (“scheduling conflicts”) has left fans feeling shortchanged.
Those who managed to quickly regain control of their emotions went in search of answers. Rumors flooded the fandom within hours: Lefevre wanted to leave; Summit asked her to leave; she’s trying to “buy” a part in another film by giving up her vampire role. Of course, everything is speculation until either Summit or Lefevre decides to make further comment on the issue, but until that time, Twilight fans will be making their feelings known.
“If the fans found out about what [Summit was] up to we would have stopped them like Taylor,” declared one fan, referring to last year’s uproar over Summit’s original intention to replace Taylor Lautner (Jacob in the films) because of his then-lacking physique. (In another drastic change that enraged fans, “scheduling conflicts” also lead to director Catherine Hardwicke leaving the helm of the blockbuster series last December.)
Summit seems to be taking the brunt of the blame in the early hours of this fandom explosion (“This is why I dislike that studio VERY MUCH!” commented a fan), but we can only wait and see if they decide to clear up the issue or not. Either way, they’ve just managed to rile up some very passionate fans who won’t be letting this go for quite some time.
Update 07/29: Rachelle Lefevre has issued a personal statement to Access Hollywood, claiming that she was "stunned by Summit’s decision to recast the role of Victoria."