It has been just over 12 years since the first Twilight film exploded across movie screens in 2008. The film franchise, which follows the events of the uber-popular young adult novels, launched the careers of its stars and was notorious for its large and intense fan base throughout most of the early 2010s. It seems difficult now to think of a time when people didn’t know names like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, but that’s exactly what it was like before their portrayals of Bella and Edward made them into international stars overnight.
The series also was responsible for inspiring E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, a romance series that started as Twilight fanfiction and later became a hit book and movie series in its own right.
Many of the fans that were initially drawn to the series as teens may be surprised when they revisit the series as an adult, as there are many details, plot points, and Easter eggs that viewers weren’t able to recognize the first time around. Some of the things older Twilight fans might be able to see now are some of the more nuanced themes of the books, as well as some smaller goofs that appeared in the films that don’t really make sense on a second viewing. These are just a few things we caught when revisiting the beloved series.
Jacob’s awful wig
Before he first appeared in the Twilight series as Jacob Black, Bella’s second love interest and burgeoning werewolf, actor Taylor Lautner was best known for his role in The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl. Jacob wasn’t a major character in the first Twilight film, but one detail stands out during his scenes.
Jacob’s character in the novel (and films) initially has long hair that goes past his shoulders. Since Lautner had short hair, he had to wear a pretty obvious thick black wig for the role. Team Jacob teens might’ve been able to turn a blind eye to the hairpiece when the first film was released, but it’s pretty hard to miss it as an adult. Not only was the wig super noticeable, but Lautner said that the wig also caused many issues on set. Whenever stray hairs would fly into his face the crew would have to cut and start the scene over.
Lautner also said there was mutual hatred between him and his wig, and he didn’t miss it after the series ended. Luckily for Lautner, Jacob’s character cropped his hair after his transformation into a werewolf in New Moon, so he was able to part ways with the wig for the rest of the series. According to Lautner, they even actually gave the wig its own round of applause when its role wrapped.
Bella’s backpack somehow survived the iconic parking lot crash
This is more of a fun "blink and you’ll miss it" goof, but it becomes more obvious when you rewatch the series as an adult. Shortly after Bella first meets Edward at Forks High School, Edward comes to her rescue when a van careens toward her in the school parking lot. In the scene, Bella is shocked at the impossibility of Edward’s actions, from darting across the parking lot instantly to stopping the force of the van with his arm. It’s one of the pair’s first encounters, and also the first hint for Bella that Edward is not your average teenager.
But one detail that bothers viewers is a small prop in this scene. Just before the van spins out of control, Bella is putting things into her backpack which is on the hood of her car. While Edward prevents the van from crushing Bella, it still hits the back of her truck with considerable force. However, when the film cuts to a wider shot of the parking lot as students rush to check on Bella, the backpack is still in the exact place it was before the crash. In a real life scenario, her bag probably would have been sent flying or would have at least fallen to the ground. This was most likely a continuity error, or Bella must have had a super strong magnet in her backpack that held it in place.
Wait, is that Anna Kendrick?
Pretty much all of the actors who appeared in Twilight are significantly more famous now than when they were first cast. While most people knew that the Twilight series catapulted its leads, Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner into super stardom, they might not have immediately recognized other actors that would later become stars in their own right.
One actor who had a role in Twilight before she was famous was Anna Kendrick, who portrayed Bella Swan’s friend, Jessica Stanley. Just a year after the first Twilight film premiered, Kendrick gathered international acclaim for her starring role in Up in the Air alongside George Clooney, as well as a cult following for her roles in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Pitch Perfect.
Bryce Dallas Howard also appeared as vampire Victoria in Eclipse long before she became a household name for her roles in Black Mirror and Jurassic Park. A pre-Mr. Robot Rami Malek also had a supporting role in the Twilight franchise, portraying an Egyptian vampire named Benjamin. Before his role in Twilight, Malek had small parts in films like Night at the Museum, but he would later become a star in his own right with his Oscar-winning portrayal of Queen’s Freddie Mercury in the blockbuster film Bohemian Rhapsody.
Edward can be pretty creepy and possessive
Since vampires don’t sleep, it only makes sense for Edward Cullen to break into Bella’s house and watch her sleep, right? Edward encroaching on Bella’s privacy rubbed us the wrong way when we first encountered the series as a teen, but is straight up creepy and gross to us as an adult. It would be weird if they were already in a relationship, but they weren’t even dating at this point! This is often the first bit of evidence given when discussing how unsettling Edward’s behavior is throughout the series.
Robert Pattinson’s film depiction of Edward doesn’t exactly help his ominous image either, as he spent most of the first Twilight film intensely staring at Bella. Bella reads Edwards’ mannerisms as mysterious, and they inspired millions of teenage readers to fall in love with him, but if he were a real person he’d be covered in giant red flags.
He’s also super possessive and controlling of Bella, and consistently leaves her out of major points of decision-making in their relationship. When Bella is attacked by a fellow member of Edward’s coven, he decides for her that their relationship is too dangerous for Bella. Rather than letting Bella assess and accept any risks for herself, Edward puts the situation solely in his control, which ultimately ends up sending her into a depressive spiral.
The entire series is a metaphor for abstinence
A huge plot point in the Twilight books is that while Bella wants to sleep with Edward, he refuses to do so until they get married. Repressed desire also exists in other forms in the Twilight saga: the Cullens naturally desire human blood but cannot drink it, while Edward is naturally drawn to Bella because she’s the only person who can resist his ability to read people’s thoughts. Edward’s reasoning for not wanting to sleep with Bella has to do with his superhuman vampire strength: He believes his desire is dangerous for Bella, and that he could actually hurt her by succumbing to his desire. Twilight‘s messaging is just about as subtle as Coach Carr’s from Mean Girls: sex is dangerous and can lead to death.
Edward’s views are not that surprising given some context about his creator. The author of the Twilight books, Stephenie Meyer, is a devout Mormon and has said that her characters exhibit her own beliefs and feelings about premarital sex. Even actor Robert Pattinson, who portrayed Edward in the films, agreed that despite the steamy chemistry between him and his co-star Kristen Stewart, the movie’s themes are very chaste.
The different Victorias
Victoria was one of the longest running antagonists for Bella and the Cullens throughout the series. In the first film, her mate James is killed by the Cullens after he attempts to kill Bella. Victoria managed to slip away amidst all the chaos at the end of the first film, but came back looking for revenge in New Moon. During the first two films, Victoria was portrayed by Rachelle Lefevre, who reportedly prepared for the role by pretending to be a cat to match Victoria’s agility and demeanor.
When the third film, Eclipse, was announced, it was assumed Lefevre would reprise her role as Victoria. However, the part was recast due to a scheduling conflict between Eclipse‘s shooting schedule and Lefevre’s commitment to shooting the movie Barney’s Version. The two films’ schedules overlapped by 10 days, and Summit — the studio behind the Twilight films — was unable to change the shoot to accommodate Lefevre.
The role eventually went to Bryce Dallas Howard, who had previously turned it down because it was too small a part. Lefevre was understandably upset by the whole series of events, but Summit was not willing to budge in its decision to recast.
Edward recreated the book cover in the movie
The cover of the novel Twilight is a dramatically lit image of two hands holding an apple. Apples are traditionally a symbol of the forbidden fruit of knowledge and, by extension, sexual desire. Stephenie Meyer also confirmed that the apple on the book’s cover was a deliberate biblical allusion. Themes of "forbidden fruit" are consistent throughout the Twilight series, and many characters are drawn to or desire things or people they cannot have.
If you watch closely, actor Robert Pattinson recreated the now infamous Twilight cover during a scene in the first film. In the scene, Bella (who is scripted as very clumsy in the books and films), drops an apple to the floor. The apple then bounces off Edward’s foot and perfectly lands in his two palms. The whole thing happens in just a few seconds, but super attentive fans were able to notice and appreciate this Easter egg.
Can vampires get tattoos?
The anatomy of vampires in the Twilight films is pretty straightforward. The skin of vampires is impervious to sharp objects, a la Luke Cage, they sparkle in direct sunlight, and they don’t have blood running through their veins.
The only thing supposedly sharp enough to break vampire skin is vampire teeth, which are used throughout the Twilight films as weapons against enemy vampires (and as medical instruments in Breaking Dawn).
So if vampire skin cannot be broken, how does James have a tattoo in the first Twilight film? While fans may not have thought about it too much when they reveled in the films for the first time, it definitely doesn’t make sense upon closer inspection. If a scalpel couldn’t break a vampire’s skin in Breaking Dawn, a tattoo needle definitely wouldn’t be able to place ink in the skin.
The answer to this mystery is pretty straightforward: the actor who portrayed James, Cam Gigandet, had a tattoo, and the film didn’t think it was necessary to cover up. James’ tattoo wasn’t exactly an important element to his part of the story, so the creators of the Twilight film just decided to let it slide.
Imprinting is super weird
There’s a lot going on in Breaking Dawn: Part 2, but there definitely should have been more screen time devoted to discussing how Jacob, Bella’s longtime friend and former love interest, imprinted on her newborn baby. A lot of Jacob fans simply wrote his newfound protectiveness and bond with Renesmee off as "romantic," but it’s a bit more than just concerning.
Jacob’s reveal that Bella’s baby is his soulmate is a moment that’s been the subject of countless memes and analysis, but a lot of people who watched the films as teens have even more questions about this plot twist now as adults. Even if Renesmee grows up faster than normal humans, wouldn’t Jacob be essentially grooming her from childhood? What’s the exact science behind imprinting? Why doesn’t anyone else in the Cullen clan see any major issues with this? Does Renesmee have any agency in this huge part of her life at all?
In the films, Jacob’s imprinting on Renesmee is kind of just explained away by saying it’s "a wolf thing." That might have been enough to teenagers watching the film the first time, but definitely would earn more scrutiny from those same viewers today.
Stephenie Meyer’s cafe cameo
While Stephenie Meyer was a household name by the time the first Twilight film was brought to movie screens, not a lot of people were familiar with what Meyer looked like. Little did fans know that they could easily find the creator of their favorite series right within the film adaptations.
Towards the end of Twilight, there’s a scene where Bella and her father are eating at a local Forks diner. The camera shows a woman sitting at the diner counter typing away at a laptop. Super attentive fans were able to recognize this anonymous writer as Stephenie Meyer, but it was subtle enough that more casual viewers might have missed it.
Meyer also had a second cameo in Breaking Dawn: Part 1, during Bella and Edward’s wedding. Breaking Dawn’s wedding scene had huge hype leading up to the film’s release, and when Bella walks down the aisle, you can see Stephenie Meyer standing among all the other wedding guests at the ceremony.
Although Stephenie Meyer said she had to be talked into participating in the film shoots, her fans probably appreciated seeing their favorite author on screen.
How did the Cullens not get caught?
According to the world of Twilight, keeping the existence of vampires secret is crucial to any vampire’s survival. The Volturi, a large coven of Vampires who reside in Italy, are recognized as the official leaders of vampire society and enforce the rules that are used to maintain secrecy.
Vampires in the Twilight universe are expected to follow the Volturi’s laws, and those who break the rules are typically punished with death. Such rules included avoiding direct sunlight, since vampire skin would sparkle and quickly draw the attention of any humans nearby.
However, despite the Cullens carefully adapting their lifestyle to keep a relatively low profile within Forks, there are still plenty of times where a reasonable person should have said, "Hey, those Cullens are a bit off."
For example, while the Cullens explain to Bella that they settled in Forks because of how constantly rainy and cloudy the climate is, there are still a few times that the vampires were exposed to direct sunlight in front of other humans. When Bella sees the Cullens for the first time, they all sit down at a cafeteria table together by a window, where a tiny bit of sun filters in through the glass, and you can see a bit of light on Alice’s arm. You’d think that for people whose lives depend on avoiding the sun they’d sit further away from windows.