Following confirmation that the character was still alive in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Easter egg in this year’s Scream, it’s been confirmed that actress Hayden Panettiere will reprise her role of Kirby Reed for the next sequel. Panettiere played the role of the film-obsessed character in 2011’s Scream 4 but her fate was left ambiguous at the end of that sequel. 2022’s Scream, the fifth in series, made it clear that she survived however. The Hollywood Reporter brings word that Panettiere has closed a deal to return for the next film in the series which will start shooting this summer. Since the beginning Scream has been a franchise built on legacy characters, so the return of another will help bolster the next chapter even more.

News on the sixth Scream movie, which is without an official title as of yet, continues to pour in. Earlier this week came word that cast members Jenna Ortega, Melissa Barrera, Mason Gooding, and Jasmin Savoy Brown, who all made their franchise debut in the new film, will return for the next sequel. Directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett will also be returning for the new film as well which features a script by written by James Vanderbilt and Guy Busick. No other cast members, like Neve Campbell or Courteney Cox, have been confirmed yet.

Scream fans will likely be anticipating some scenes between Panettiere’s Kirby with Jasmin Savoy Brown’s Mindy Meeks-Martin, the film-obsessed equivalent character introduced in the 2022 movie. While making the fifth film there was talk of bringing back Panettiere, along with filmmaker Rian Johnson for a cameo.

“We did talk about it, and we really wanted to. We had a Zoom with Hayden and we really wanted to try to find a way to get her into the movie,” producer Chad Villella shared with The Wrap. “In fact, in that YouTube section of the movie, that was initially going to be a clip of Rian Johnson, talking about making Stab 8 with Woodsboro survivor Kirby. But we weren’t able to get all the pieces in place in time to get it into the movie. So we had to quickly pivot and Hayden was totally understandable about all that. But, we wanted to get some nod to Kirby being in the movie, and then we did get her voice to lend to the ‘to Wes’ toast.”

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The new Scream is currently slated to hit theaters on March 31, 2023 with cameras expected to begin rolling this summer. What are you hoping to see in the next entry in the series and how do you think Kirby will fit into it? Sound off in the comments below and let us know.