Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen in close-up, staring intently

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

With the 2020 release of "Midnight Sun," fans of "Twilight" were called back to Forks, Washington. This time, readers re-lived the events of the Stephenie Meyer’s smash "Twilight" through the eyes of brooding vampire Edward Cullen, painting a more detailed picture of how the sparkly series hero ended up with Bella Swan.

Of course, Robert Pattinson played Edward in the five films of the "Twilight" series (even if he almost lost the role during production), and it launched his career higher than a spider-monkey climbing a Pacific Northwest tree. The self-effacing British star has since taken to joking about his time as the sparkling vampire, but he clearly looks back fondly on the stepping stone that launched an A-list career that has since given him the opportunity to do everything from losing his mind alongside Willem Dafoe in black-and-white to playing "The Batman."

While some may feel there have been moments where Edward went too far, and others may think he’s a cool, calm, vampire (as presented by Bella), "Midnight Sun" and Meyer (in interviews, as well as on her personal website) have revealed much more. If you’ve only seen the "Twilight" films, you’re still in the dark — never a good place to be when there are vampires afoot. Read on to find out everything you never knew about Edward Cullen.

How Edward Came to Be

Author Stephenie Meyer

Edward, and the start of the entire "Twilight" universe, came to Meyer in a dream. She can even remember the day it happened.

"I can say with certainty that it all started on June 2, 2003," the author says on her website. "I woke up … from a very vivid dream. In my dream, two people were having an intense conversation in a meadow in the woods."

That dream fascinated her in a way none ever had. "Never before, never since," she remarked in an "Oprah" segment from 2009. "It was really a one-of-a-kind thing. I’m just glad I didn’t waste it."

Meyer wrote down everything she could remember, and it became the thirteenth chapter, "Confessions," from the original "Twilight." She continued on from there, writing the book’s conclusion before she wrote the beginning.

"From that point on, not one day passed that I did not write something," Meyer recalls in the same website entry. "On bad days, I would only type out a page or two; on good days, I would finish a chapter and then some." As a stay-at-home mother, she was busy with her kids during the day, causing her to write more at night so she wouldn’t be interrupted.

For her lead vampire’s name, Meyer turned to the classics. "I decided to use a name that had once been considered romantic, but had fallen out of popularity for decades," she says on her website. "Charlotte Bronte’s Mr. Rochester and Jane Austen’s Mr. Ferrars were the characters that led me to the name Edward."

Who Meyer Had in Mind

Henry Cavill circa 2009

When Meyer was writing her novel, she had a different leading man in mind. Her original face for Edward was a young Henry Cavill.

"Indisputably the most difficult character to cast," she wrote on her blog in 2007, putting in a plea for Cavill. "Edward is also the one that I’m most passionately decided upon."

By the time "Twilight" was finally going to be filmed, however (it was famously shopped around town and declined by all the studios), Meyer felt her first choice might be a bit too old for the role.

"The most disappointing thing for me is losing my perfect Edward," she laments in the post. "Henry Cavill is now twenty-four-years-old … I propose that Henry play Carlisle!"

With Cavill out of consideration for the leading man, but perhaps a possibility for the Cullen patriarch (spoiler alert: he never appeared in a "Twilight" movie), 2007 Meyer suggested the likes of Logan Lerman (lead of the "Percy Jackson" films) and Tom Sturridge, known for "Like Minds" and "Being Julia."

While Meyer may not have considered Pattinson initially, fans thought he would make a good vampire. In the same blog post, Meyer included a list of the most popular fan casts sent to her. Pattinson was on the list for Edward, albeit second behind Hayden Christensen.

His Human Life

Carlisle turning Edward

As a human, Edward Anthony Mason was born on June 20, 1901, and became a vampire in 1918 at the age of seventeen. When Bella meets him in 2005, he’s been frozen as a 17-year-old for 87 years, technically making him 104 years old. Before the turn, his eyes were green, not the amber they often are in the series (instead of the red they’d be if he consumed human blood).

He lived in Chicago with his parents Edward (yup, he’s a junior) and Elizabeth. His father was a lawyer, giving Edward and his mother a pretty comfortable life, though there was concern that Edward would be drafted the minute he turned eighteen to fight in World War I. However, the Spanish influenza took its toll on the world’s population, and Edward’s parents died.

Before her death, Elizabeth caught on that their doctor, Carlisle Cullen, was able to heal those that no other doctor could. She asked him to save her son, and he did, turning him into a vampire. Edward was the first of the Cullen/Hale coven to be turned by Carlisle, but he wasn’t the first of them that the doctor met. "In 1911, Esme broke her leg falling out of a tree she’d climbed," Meyer told the Twilight Lexicon in 2006. "She was treated by a Dr. Cullen." Carlisle didn’t meet Edward for another seven years, making his future "wife" the first of the clan he met.

Early Life as a Vampire

Edward as a young vampire

While Edward has largely complied with Carlisle’s "vegetarian" vampire diet (his favorite "food" is deer), he did become unruly for a time during his early days. From 1927 to 1931, Edward began sucking human blood, which certainly feels like an act of defiance.

He used his ability to read minds to his advantage, choosing to only feed on humans that he felt were evil, making himself the judge, jury, and executioner. With this mindset, he thought he was taking care of the truly horrible people of the world. "The Official Illustrated Guide" shared that the first human he went after was Esme’s ex-husband, who was abusive to her in her human life.

After a few years, Edward felt he had taken too much human life and there was no way to repay that debt. Though he felt justified in the lives he took, his actions still weighed heavily upon him. The vampire went back to Carlisle and Esme, turning back to the "vegetarian" lifestyle he was raised on, and he’s maintained it ever since.

Potential Love Interests

Rosalie and Tanya

Before Bella, there were two women that Edward could’ve made his betrothed. While one remains a family friend, the other became his adopted sister.

After turning Esme, she and Carlisle worried that Edward was lonely because he was constantly disguised as their son or Esme’s younger brother. When the vampire-turned-doctor came across Rosalie Hale, abused and left for dead in the streets of Rochester in 1933, he had no hesitation in giving her an immortal life. He felt she could be to Edward what Esme was to him.

Sparks simply never flew between Rosalie and Edward. Just two years later, Rosalie found her match in Emmett, who had been mauled by a bear in Tennessee. However, the two do have something in common: Rosalie was defiant in her early days as a vampire as well, taking the lives of the men who had abused her.

Tanya, one of the Cullens’ friends from Denali, was also romantically interested in Edward. When he left Forks to get away from Bella, he went to her family, and she thought it was because he wanted to be with her. "You thought that I’d changed my mind," he says to her in "Midnight Sun" (on page 29). "I feel horrible for toying with your expectations, Tanya."

Edward didn’t mean to get her hopes up. He just wanted to get away from Forks. Despite this misunderstanding, the two remained friends, with Tanya even attending to Edward and Bella’s wedding.

How His Telepathy Works

Edward and Bella at baseball

Edward’s telepathy is not as selective as it seems in the books and films. "Midnight Sun" revealed precisely how it works, including who else besides Bella is exempt from his vampire mind trick.

"Several hundred of these voices I ignored out of boredom," Edward tells the reader on the first page. "Only four voices did I block out of courtesy rather than distaste: my family, my two brothers and two sisters … I tried not to listen if I could help it." He goes on to explain that he can only read thoughts that are in the front of someone’s mind, and is unable to dig deeper.

Bella gives the vampire several firsts, including being the first mind he can’t read. There’s something that protects her mind from him (and Aryo in "New Moon"), and it intrigues and frustrates him. It causes the usually calm and collected teenager-turned-vampire to make mistakes, including misreading her several times during one of their first conversations.

When Charlie Swan races to the school after Bella’s near-miss with a van, Edward realizes the chief of police isn’t slow as he previously thought. "I’d always taken him for a man of slow thought," the vampire remarks to himself. "His thoughts were partially concealed, not absent. I could only make out the tenor, the tone of them." A father-daughter duo with minds that Edward can’t read? Maybe it is a genetic trait.

His Initial Reaction to Bella

Edward and Bella in Biology class

Edward’s initial reaction to Bella is anything but polite or charming. He describes the first time he smells her as being hit "like a battering ram." At points, he’s quite graphic about what he wants to do to Bella — and the rest of their biology class.

The reader gets an inside look at how many different plans the vampire has to end Bella’s life and eliminate all witnesses. "I mapped it out in my head. I was in the middle of the room," Edward contemplates in "Midnight Sun" (page 14). "The right side would be the lucky side; they would not see me coming." Spoiler alert: he doesn’t go through with any of his ideas, but it takes every ounce of his strength not to.

"I would make it enough," he decides. "Just enough time to get out of this room full of victims, victims that perhaps didn’t have to be victims." He was still considering isolating Bella after class, guiding her back to his car under the ruse of a forgotten book. He does go to his car after class, but not with Bella.

When Did He Start to Love Bella?

Edward and Bella at a school dance

Although his family may have accepted that he’s going to love Bella when Alice foresaw it, Edward emphatically denied he would ever fall in love with a human. "I don’t have to follow that course," he told Alice. "I’ll leave. I will change the future."

The first sign that Edward’s feelings for Bella may have been romantic came when he found himself jealous of other men. In particular, the brooding vampire realized Alice’s vision was right when he became jealous of Mike Newton, who asked Bella to the girls’ choice dance. Mike ultimately missed the mark, but Edward was forced to understand that he couldn’t change the future, despite everything he’d tried – running away, staying away, and then outright ignoring Bella, all to no avail.

If Meyer could change anything, Edward would’ve shared his feelings with the human sooner.

"He definitely would have [said "I love you"] after he saved her in Port Angeles," Meyer told Bustle in 2020. "I feel like if I had the freedom to rework it instead of just telling his side, there would have been some fun changes." This means the vampire would’ve said it four days before it happened in the meadow. Could that small change have fundamentally altered the story of Bella and Edward?

He’s a Matchmaker

Angela in Twilight

While Edward struggled with his own love life, he made magic happen for those around him (just not Mike). With the help of his brother Emmett, he gave Angela something she wanted as thanks for being one of the only minds he could tolerate listening to, especially when he was keeping tabs on Bella from afar.

Angela really liked Ben, a guy in her friend group. Like many, Ben showed an interest in Bella when she arrived, causing Angela to feel insecure about her crush, based on Edward’s insight. That just would not do for the vampire. "There was no reason for her broken heart. What a wasteful sorrow," Edward decided as he listened to her thoughts. "Why shouldn’t this one story have a happy ending?"

In a perfectly-timed interaction before Spanish class, he implied to Ben that he was interested in Angela and, although she was interested in Ben, the vampire didn’t see him as a threat. "He thinks he’s better than me," Ben thought to himself in the pages of "Midnight Sun." "I’ll show him."

Of course, the vampire was never interested in her, but his feigned interest gave Ben the motivation he needed to make a move. With friends like these, who needs a dating app?

When He Decided to Leave

Bella's birthday party in New Moon

While many think the disastrous birthday party Alice had for Bella at the beginning of "New Moon" was the reason Edward left, it was only the catalyst that reinforced a decision he had made months prior.

When Bella was sedated from the injuries James inflicted, the vampire realized he had to leave his human love interest, but he wasn’t strong enough to do it. "I prayed to her God for the strength I would need. I knew I wasn’t strong enough in myself," Edward says in "Midnight Sun." "I had to learn the strength."

"Until you’re healthy, until you’re ready," he convinces himself. "Until I find the strength I need."

These are the words Edward used to galvanize himself as Bella woke up. From that point forward, he knew he was leaving when the moment presented itself, but Edward nonetheless continued to feed into the fantasy that they were going to be together forever.

After an uneventful summer, things came crashing down during the party, as Bella cut herself on some wrapping paper; Jasper, unprepared for the sudden smell of human blood, instinctively almost jumped her. Realizing he could never keep her safe, Edward became more despondent than ever.

His Six Month Absence

Edward leaving Bella

After leaving Bella in the meadow and removing any traces of himself from her life, Edward went off on his own. In a snippet of "New Moon" from his point of view that Meyer published on her website, he described where he was as a "dark attic crawl space, full of rats and spiders." He wasn’t living a life of luxury away from her; he was living a life of darkness and squalor (and most likely feeding on rats).

While that may have been his location when he heard about Bella’s "death," Edward had his productive streaks when he was away. He tracked James’ lover Victoria across the United States, and spent some time in South America and Mexico. He was doing anything he could to keep himself from going back to her, even though she was "always behind the lid of [his] eyes."

"Edward finally realizes the intensity of Bella’s feelings for him," Meyer discussed on her website. "He learns a lot through this experience, the most important being that Bella’s feelings for him are an exception to the human rule."

How He Felt About Renesmee

Renesmee as a baby

Edward’s initial reaction to Bella being pregnant was anything but positive; eventually, however, he grew into the fatherly figure fans might have expected him to become.

After the lightbulb went off in his head, his emotions flashed from shock to disbelief to nearly taking away Bella’s agency in the decision. His feelings made sense — after all, there should not have been a way that, as a vampire, he could impregnate a human. But, per Meyer, "…fluids still exist in male vampires, which carry genetic information and are capable of bonding with a human ovum."

Although her husband didn’t agree with the choice, Edward tried his best to support it, even though it was destroying him. "I’d seen him angry … and once I’d seen him in pain," Jacob would describe in "Breaking Dawn." "But this — this was beyond agony [on Edward’s face]." Through Jacob’s eyes, the reader could see Edward’s suffering. In these moments, the vampire understood her desire for a child, but still saw the unborn baby as an "it." He would only begin to come around after they figured out what the baby wanted to eat, and his wife’s condition improved again.

After Renesmee was born, Edward was completely won over. Like the rest of his family, he worked to protect her from the Volturi and ensure her future. While Edward may not have been thrilled about Jacob being in the picture, he clearly cared for his daughter and her well-being.

His Relationship with Jacob

Bella, Renesmee, Edward, and Jacob in the forest

Edward and Jacob’s relationship has always been complicated; they went from acquaintances to enemies and back again, before finally landing on in-laws.

Jacob was the one who brought Bella to the surface after Edward’s departure. They shared a bond, which caused the immortal teen to be jealous when he returned in "Eclipse." At times, the shapeshifter seemed like the only person who could help, which was difficult for the vampire to deal with. When Bella was freezing in a tent on the side of a mountain, for instance, it was Jacob who kept her warm, and Edward had to accept that.

When Bella became pregnant, the dynamic of their relationship changed drastically, even more so than in "Eclipse."

"You connect to her on a level that I don’t even understand," Edward begged Jacob. "She might listen to you."

Of course, she didn’t, but it was worth a shot. Later on, much to Jacob’s surprise, he and Edward weren’t on the same side anymore. They disagree on how to handle the baby, though Jacob (quickly) would come around.

When it became clear Jacob had imprinted on the half-human half-vampire, Edward seemingly accepted that the wolf would always be in his life. While Bella was not pleased about the situation, Edward’s feelings about it seemed to persuade her. The two may never have an ideal relationship, but by the end of "Breaking Dawn," they seemed to have buried their differences. With Meyer making plans to write another "Twilight" book set "five or ten or fifteen years after the end of ‘Breaking Dawn’," perhaps someday fans will get the opportunity to see where this story goes next.