Jenna Ortega exits Scream VII due to scheduling after Melissa Barrera fired

Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera in Scream

Jenna Ortega has officially exited Scream VII just hours after news broke that her co-star Melissa Barrera had been fired by Spyglass over pro-Palestine comments.

The two actresses starred in the reboot of Wes Craven’s franchise as sisters Sam and Tara Carpenter in Scream (2022) and Scream VI (2023).

Both had been scheduled to return for Scream VII, directed by Christopher Landon, which was confirmed to be in development in August.

Neither Jenna Ortega nor Melissa Barrera will return for Scream VII. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

However, now the film is undergoing a full creative rejig after Spyglass lost both stars in just one week.

Deadline confirmed on Wednesday (22 November) that Ortega had dropped out of the seventh film in the Scream franchise due to a scheduling conflict with her other projects.

Ortega is also set to star in season two of Netflix’s Wednesday as well as Beetlejuice 2 – both of which, had to halt production due to the lengthy SAG-AFTRA strikes this year.

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While Beetlejuice 2 had just one day left of production when the strikes began, Wednesday is scheduled to begin filming in Ireland next summer.

But, while sources point to Ortega’s busy schedule as the reason behind her exit from the horror franchise, fans can’t help but note the coincidental timing.

Just one day before Ortega’s departure was announced, Spyglass confirmed that they had fired her co-star Barrera over pro-Palestine comments she had shared on social media.

A still from upcoming movie Scream 6 shows actor Jenny Ortega with long dark hair sitting down in a subway train looking worried
Jenna Ortega played Tara Carpenter in the previous two Scream films. (Paramount Pictures)

Barrera is the latest celebrity to make headlines for their stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict since tensions reignited in the region following the terrorist group’s attack on 7 October, which saw 1,200 Israelis killed.

According to the official United Nations Humanitarian site, as of 10 November, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reported 11,078 deaths since 7 October, almost half of whom are children. The latest report from Associated Press says health officials have since lost the ability to count the dead.

On her Instagram story, Barrera shared support for an immediate ceasefire, images and videos of the destruction in Gaza, and labelled the ongoing attacks on Palestine as “genocide and ethnic cleansing”.

In a statement to Variety about Barrera’s dismissal, Spyglass made their stance “unequivocally clear”.

A spokesperson said: “We have zero tolerance for antisemitism or the incitement of hate in any form, including false references to genocide, ethnic cleansing, Holocaust distortion, or anything that flagrantly crosses the line into hate speech.

Scream star Melissa Barrera stopped from franchise after Israel-Palestine remarks.
Scream star Melissa Barrera was dropped from the franchise after Israel-Palestine remarks. (Getty)

“In the wake of the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attacks and Israel’s subsequent attacks on Gaza, Barrera has been posting on her Instagram about the conflict, accusing Israel of ‘genocide and ethnic cleansing’ and distorting ‘the Holocaust to boost the Israeli arms industry’.”

Barrera’s firing has been met with intense backlash from Scream fans, who are now threatening to boycott Scream VII, and calling on Barrera’s castmates to walk.

Landon, who is set to direct Scream VII, reacted to the news in a now-deleted post, writing: “Everything sucks. Stop yelling. This was not my decision to make.”

Fans have pointed out that Ortega has been vocal in her support of Palestine for years, having signed an open letter calling for an immediate ceasefire just last month. Now, many are raising questions on the timing of the Wednesday star’s exit from the franchise.

Now, after losing their two leading ladies, Variety reports that Spyglass is undergoing a full reboot of Scream VII and searching for two new protagonists.

Among those in the running to possibly make a return to the franchise are OGs Courtney Cox and Neve Campbell – the latter of whom pulled out of Scream VI due to a salary dispute – and Scream III star Patrick Dempsey. For now, Spyglass has no comment.

Scream VII is currently slated to hit cinemas in 2025, but with casting and re-writes on the cards, Landon and his team are up against the clock.