While the five movie adaptations were faithful to the saga’s source novels, the original cancelled Twilight sequel Forever Dawn would have seen the franchise reduced to a two-book series. Twilight was a massive success upon its publication in 2005, leading to an inevitable movie adaptation a few years later. Twilight’s movie adaptations worked hard to remain as close to the source novels as possible due to the massive fan base that the franchise had amassed, although the best sequel in the series, Eclipse, changed some major plot points.
However, the Twilight saga was not originally envisioned as a four-book series. When author Stephenie Meyer first wrote Twilight, she also wrote a direct sequel to the novel, Forever Dawn, that would have acted as an ending to the saga. Forever Dawn saw Bella marry Edward and get pregnant with Renesmee soon after, in a plot that effectively mirrored the events of Breaking Dawn. Bella still died during childbirth and was revived as a vampire by Edward, and a villain still informed the Volturi about Edward and Bella’s human/vampire hybrid child. However, since the events of New Moon and Eclipse never happen in the Forever Dawn timeline, Jacob’s role was far less significant.
Twilight Was Almost A Two-Movie Saga
If Forever Dawn had been the second and final Twilight novel, there would only have been two movie adaptations of the saga. Since Twilight was the most financially successful vampire franchise ever, this could have completely reshaped the blockbuster landscape of the 2010s. Without Twilight earning more at the box office with each new sequel, studios may not have been eager to adapt other young adult sagas like The Hunger Games and Divergent to the big screen. Meanwhile, it is unlikely that Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson would have become the A-listers they are now without multiple Twilight sequels cementing their status as bankable lead actors.
However, while a two-movie Twilight saga would have been bad for the careers of its stars and could have changed cinema history significantly, that doesn’t mean it would have been bad for the plot of the arguably over-stretched series. Forever Dawn’s version of the Twilight saga is a lot tighter, streamlining from its story by jettisoning the weakest Twilight sequel, New Moon, entirely. Forever Dawn could arguably have improved the critical standing of the Twilight movies if its publication had resulted in a two-movie series, since New Moon received significantly worse reviews than 2008’S Twilight. That said, Forever Dawn also retconned the events of Eclipse, which was the most critically well-liked of the sequels, so the canceled novel’s potential publication would have been a mixed blessing.
How Cutting New Moon & Eclipse Changed Twilight’s Story
Cutting New Moon would have improved the Twilight saga’s narrative flow, since the novel’s plot didn’t add much to the overarching story of the series. However, New Moon was also the book where Bella got to know Jacob, and both the original novel and its movie adaptation use Edward’s absence as an opportunity to establish Jacob as a foil to Edward and Bella’s alternative love interest. Jacob still imprints on Renesmee in Forever Dawn, but this plot point would have been even creepier and more inexplicable if he didn’t have an existing romantic frisson with her mother, as is the case in Forever Dawn.
Not only would losing New Moon have rendered Jacob’s character irrelevant, but the loss of Eclipse would have deprived the Twilight saga of its strongest adaptation. Although the novel version of Eclipse focuses mostly on the romantic rivalry between Jacob and Edward, director David Slade’s movie adaptation also staged the franchise’s most effective action sequences in the darker, punchier sequel. Even without these added action scenes, Edward and Jacob’s battle for Bella’s affection was a big part of the Twilight franchise’s longstanding appeal judging by the popularity of both Team Jacob and Team Edward among the franchise’s fandom, meaning the saga would have suffered without this compelling conflict.
Why Forever Dawn Made Jacob’s Imprinting Even Worse
In Forever Dawn, Edward and Bella’s daughter Renesmee is born earlier, as the novel skips straight to Edward and Bella’s marriage after Bella graduates from high school. This means Edward never leaves Bella heartbroken for multiple months without explanation, which in turn means that she never seeks solace in Jacob. As a result, Jacob and Edward never have to fight for Bella, which makes Jacob’s imprinting on Renesmee even weirder than it already was. The controversial plot point, which saw Jacob mark Renesmee as his mate for life shortly after she was born, was always a divisive twist. Defenders of the imprinting storyline note that it explains Jacob’s interest in Bella, since he was destined to eventually end up with her daughter.
For others, the plot line (a lot like Renesmee’s uncanny valley CGI appearance in Twilight’s movie adaptations) is inexcusably creepy. However, while it is hard to defend the imprinting scene in the context of the five-movie Twilight saga, it is almost impossible to justify the scene in Forever Dawn. If the events of New Moon and Eclipse never happen and Bella never considers leaving Edward for Jacob in this timeline, then there is no reason to explain away Jacob’s attraction to Bella. As such, Forever Dawn’s imprinting scene is simply a moment where a grown adult feels compelled to say that he plans on spending his life with a newborn child, a bizarre and out-of-place scene that is impossible to explain without the (admitted flimsy) justification of the intervening sequels.
Why Forever Dawn Never Happened
While a future Twilight reboot could pick up the story of Edward, Bella, and Jacob where the movies left off, Forever Dawn will never be adapted to the screen. This is because Meyer never seriously considered publishing the two-novel version of the saga, feeling that its mature content would not appeal to her young adult readership. Instead, Meyer promised to reveal excerpts from the unpublished work from time to time, waiting until after the release of Twilight’s sequels to avoid spoiling the saga’s storyline. Since Forever Dawn tells effectively the same story as Breaking Dawn (albeit with a few differences), an adaptation of the novel would be redundant after Breaking Dawn’s two-part movie wrapped up the Twilight franchise.
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