What happened to Kirby in Scream 4?

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Image via Dimension Films

Hard to believe it’s been 11 years scream 4 debuted in the theaters. Not only did the film bridge the 11-year gap between the third and fourth installments and bring back the iconic characters of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell), Dewey Riley (David Arquette) and Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), it also introduced a younger cast Characters like Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts), Charlie Walker (Rory Culkin) and fan-favorite character kirbyplayed by Hayden Panettiere.

While the fourth installment may not have reached the same heights as the original film or its 2022 sequel, it’s still considered a valuable installment by fans. It breathed new life into the horror genre and relied heavily on the use of technology to take its meta-confidence to a whole new level and propel the franchise into the 21st century.

It’s filled with all the twists and turns that you would expect from one Scream movie, plus a few more for good measure, but perhaps the biggest twist of all was how much people fell in love with the character of Kirby. To this day, she’s still considered one of the best characters in the franchise, which is saying something considering she came four films after the original.

With scream 6 lurking around the corner, it’s time to take a look back at their history. Especially since she will return in the next film.

But wait, didn’t Kirby die at the end? scream 4?

After Sidney Prescott returns to Woodsboro on the 16th anniversary of the original murders, a new killer donning the Ghostface costume begins killing the students at Woodsboro High. As the body count mounts, Dewey and Gale work together to find out who the new killer is, while Sydney works to protect her cousin, Jill.

Kirby is introduced to us as one of Jill’s best friends. She’s perceptive, scathing, and for lack of a better word, badass. In the third act of the film, Jill, Kirby, Charlie, and Robbie (Erik Knudsen) go to Kirby’s house, where Ghostface begins to terrorize them.

Charlie ends up being taken away and tied to a chair in the backyard – a callback from Steve (Drew Barrymore’s boyfriend) from the first film – and Ghostface calls Kirby and tells her that the only way to save Charlie’s life is to look at the horror film to answer trifles. She names iconic horror movie titles in quick succession – arguably the best scene in the movie – and runs outside to unseat Charlie.

Except that Charlie is one of the Ghostface Killers and stabs Kirby in the stomach. She must bleed and die. However, those who paid close attention to the sequel to the film Scream (2022) will have noticed a carefully placed Easter egg confirming their survival.

YouTube thumbnail of Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere) in
Image via Paramount Pictures

in the Scream (2022)the camera catches a glimpse of Richie’s (Jack Quaid) cell phone while he’s in the hospital watching stitch 8. The screenshot above shows a YouTube thumbnail with a picture of Kirby and the caption: “Interview with Woodsboro Survivor Kirby Reed.”

Kirby actually survived the second Woodsboro murders, aka the “Woodsboro Massacre Remake,” making her the sole survivor and likely a huge plot point scream 6.

Panettiere himself confirmed the ambiguity of Kirby’s death in the scream 4 Blu-ray commentary track with Wes Craven and Emma Roberts. “By the way, can I confirm that in your contract with Bob (Bob Weinstein), you certainly weren’t supposed to die on screen?” asked Craven Panettiere.

“It wasn’t me!” said Panettiere. “I spoke to him when I was out of the country and it was supposed to be like, um, ‘oops, we’ve got a heartbeat’ at the end of the film, which…” Here Craven interjected to say, “But I’m I noticed that you never stop moving after your last scene, you’re still moving…”

“Well, everyone says that,” Panettiere said. “They always ask me, you know? My friends say do you die do you die and I said well you just have to wait. I never spill the beans, I’ve always loved seducing her – teasing her with it. And in the end everybody says oh I’m so disappointed that you died and I said but did I do that? … It’s Hollywood, you never really saw me die, and if you never really see me die…”

“You could live,” Roberts said. “Kirby’s resilient too,” Panettiere replied.

scream 6 is slated to premiere in theaters on March 31, 2023, and thanks to Hayden Panettiere, so does Kirby Reed. Perhaps the fan-favorite character’s return will soften the blow of losing Neve Campbell as Sidney Prescott.

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