Warning: This article contains minor spoilers for 2022‘s Scream.
Moreso so than many other slasher franchises, Scream makes us care about its characters, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when they’re murdered by Ghostface. In a few cases, fans have loved the victims so much that they’ve harbored hope that maybe they would be revealed to have survived their apparent deaths. Now that the latest Scream movie is here, we can officially say it goes ahead and makes one of these fan theories canon.
In Scream 2022, Jack Quaid’s Richie is shown to be watching YouTube videos about the Woodsboro killings and the Stab films based on them. As pointed out by u/ObligationRelevant71 on the r/Scream subreddit, if you look closely during one shot, you can see that one of the suggested videos on Richie’s screen confirms that a beloved character from Scream 4 made it out alive. Namely, Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby Reed!
As you can see via the image above, the YT video title reads “Interview with Woodsboro Survivor Kirby Reed!” While Kirby is stabbed by Ghostface killer Charlie in the 2011 film, we never actually see her die so fans had been keeping their fingers crossed that Panettiere might return for this new entry in the saga. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but at least this very sneaky easter egg makes it clear that she’s still out there in this universe somewhere.
This is a pretty big deal as it retroactively makes Kirby the real final girl of Scream 4 as she’s the only one of her friendship group to survive that bout of killings. It also leaves the door open for Panettiere to reprise her role if Scream 6 ends up going ahead. What’s more, it’s worth pointing out that a video further down discusses a fan theory that Stu Macher likewise survived the first film, which seems to be a nod to Matthew Lillard’s assertion that Stu isn’t dead.
Scream has opened to strong box office this weekend, breaking horror movie records for this time of year.