How ‘Scream 6’ Brings Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby Back for Another Round
Thought she was dead? Think again!
Hayden Panettiere has returned to the Scream franchise, making her one of the few actors to make multiple appearances in the series despite not starring in the first film. Panettiere’s Kirby Reed was introduced in Scream 4 and hasn’t been seen since. But who is Kirby, exactly, and what does she mean for the larger, ongoing story of Scream?
Spoilers ahead for Scream 4!
Who is Kirby Reed?
Kirby Reed was a student at Woodsboro High in 2011 during the events of Scream 4 (marketed as Scre4m); she was best friends with Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) and Olivia Morris (Marielle Jaffe) and a member of the Woodsboro High film club. Kirby is a horror movie fan who prides herself on her trivia knowledge and genre savviness. In many ways, she was Randy and Tatum rolled into one; that plus Hayden Panettiere’s electric performance made her one of the most memorable parts of the pseudo reboot.
How did Kirby survive Scream 4?
Those who have seen Scream 4 might be confused by Kirby’s appearance in Scream 6; she was stabbed and left for dead at the end of her debut film. However, it was only two stabs (which isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of Scream killings) and the police arrived at the scene shortly after. Wes Craven had initially planned to bring Kirby back in the sequel, and many fans held out hope that she survived.
Scream (2022) later confirmed her survival with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it easter egg: When Richie Kirsh looks up fan reactions to the much-maligned Stab 8, viewers can look to the YouTube suggestions sidebar and see an “Interview with Woodsboro Survivor Kirby Reed.” This confirms Kirby’s survival and shows that she’s seemingly gotten the fame that her former friends Jill and Charlie were willing to kill for.
How does Kirby fit into Scream 6?
New clips reveal that Kirby is now working as a special agent for the FBI, using her media analysis skills to analyze suspects’ web patterns, which seems to have put her in the path of the newest Ghostface.
Kirby’s inclusion seems to set her up as a mentor to the younger survivors, much like Sidney in the previous film. Part of me hopes for a Final Girl Support Group where Gale and Kirby are acting as protectors / counselors to the Carpenter sisters and the Martin-Meeks twins.
However, it should be noted that Scream isn’t always kind to returning characters; many fear that Gale Weathers is the next character on the chopping block, but I wouldn’t put it past them to bring back Kirby just to kill her, too.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what horrors are to come.
(featured image: Paramount Pictures)
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