For those who haven't heard, it's the 10 year anniversary of Twilight. You know, that divisive vampire love story that has had people torn on the quality of the book — and the intelligence of fans of the book — since it came out in 2005. That still-ongoing debate is not the point of this article, and I will not be weighing in there, sorry. The point is that Oct. 5 was the 10 year anniversary of Twilight, and, in honor of it, Stephenie Meyer has written a gender-swapped version of Twilight starring Beaufort "Beau" Swan and Edythe Cullen. If you just spat your orange juice all over the screen in shock, wipe off the screen and keep reading because it's true. According to Entertainment Weekly, the "442-page reimagining of the novel" is called Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined. So, are we going to see gender-swapped Twilight become a film franchise on par with the original quartet?
While there are currently no plans to give Life and Death a movie deal, I'd say that the chances that it might get a film option in the future are pretty high. After all, Twilight turned Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson from relatively small name, though well respected, actors into internationally famous figures who had to adjust to an entirely new standard of living practically overnight. The franchise brought in billions of dollars, and is every bit as steeped in pop culture as Harry Potter and The Hunger Games. (Remember Team Jacob and Team Edward, guys? Remember all the jokes about sparkling vampires?)
Even better, Life and Death aims to correct a lot of things that people originally found lacking in the book series. According to Meyer in the foreward of the novel, the gender-swap was meant to "underscore her position that Bella isn’t a 'damsel in distress'" but instead a "'human in distress,' or as Meyer calls her, 'a normal human being surrounded on all sides by people who are basically superheroes and supervillians.'" In addition, the book was also an answer to those who complained that Bella was "too consumed with her love interest, as if that’s somehow just a girl thing." In addition, apparently Beau has less of a chip on his shoulder than Bella Swan, which might perhaps mean that Beau's narrative might feature him complaining a lot less about his human friends and about his rich vampire girlfriend buying him cars and throwing him birthday parties? Maybe?
Whether or not Meyer will be successful at combating the haters, or whether making Beau a different version of Bella will only unintentionally imply that all of the problems with Twilight lay with the fact that Bella was a girl and not a boy, still remains to be seen, but, if Life and Death is enough to convert former anti-fans of the novel who pretty much only read the books to complain about them, then why wouldn't it become a film series? It seems like Hollywood would be totally willing to take a chance on a book that they already know has a built-in fanbase, but is just different enough from the previous film adaptation to be an entirely new potential franchise. Besides, Meyer hasn't written a proper novel since The Host in 2008 (unless you count the novella The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, or the encyclopedia The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide). To say her fan base has been waiting to spend their money on something is probably a severe understatement.
On Tuesday, on Good Morning America, Stephenie Meyer said that she doesn't "really see [a film adaptation] happening," so that should be that. But, basically, turning Life and Death into a movie is a cash cow franchise waiting to happen. Personally, I'm curious to see a story that romanticizes and obsesses over a smart, strong, sophisticated, sparkling female vampire named Edythe Cullen the way Bella romanticized and obsessed over the smart, strong, sophisticated, sparkling Edward Cullen. I'm even more curious to see the gender-swapped versions of the Cullen family and, even better, the gender-swapped, all-female-except-for-Leah werewolf pack. Basically, it's Twilight if most of the people with superpowers, evil and good, are women — even if it means the loss of a female viewpoint character. Sign me up.
Image: Summit Entertainment