I was 11 years old when the first Twilight film, based on the novel of the same name by Stephenie Meyer, came out in theaters. As a pre-teen girl from Washington state, where the books are set, I quickly fell in love with the sappy romance novel about teenage vampires and werewolves.
Flash forward three years, and I somehow convinced my mom to let me go to the midnight premiere of Breaking Dawn — Part 1. (The fourth book in the Twilight saga was split into two separate parts for the film franchise, of course.) Since the first movie, I had developed a slight Twilight obsession. I disregarded the fact that critics hated the films, or that Twilight had a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, or even that the series had become a punchline about horny teen girls. I still read every book, repeatedly watched the movies, and became invested in the real-life relationship between the two lead actors, Kristen Stewart (Bella Swan) and Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen). I was obviously wholeheartedly Team Edward.
Over the years, Twilight's hold on my life slowly faded. Yet, here I am at 24 years old, once again obsessed — mostly thanks to social media. This month marks the tenth anniversary of the Breaking Dawn — Part 1 premiere, and my love for Twilight has fully resurfaced. But it's not just me. Twilight, you may have noticed, is suddenly everywhere. Over a decade after it was first uttered on screen, Taylor Lautner's iconic line, "Bella, where the hell have you been, loca?" has become a beloved piece of our culture's history.
So why — after all these years — do we still love Twilight so much? And why do millions of people still actively follow its social media pages?
"Twilight is a comfort food," says Sebastian Crank, a social media manager who, along with Eric Dachman, runs the official Twilight Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok accounts for Lionsgate, the studio behind Twilight. It's this feeling of nostalgia that Twilight evokes in so many of us that makes its memes continue to go viral. That, and the duo's humor is extremely self-aware. (The Twilight Instagram bio reads: "the official instagram account of that movie saga you were obsessed with in 2009.")
Crank and Dachman have run Twilight's socials for the last three years, and are responsible for feeding the millions of followers they've since accrued. They know the importance of continuing to provide content for fans. "We've got this active community of Twilight fans, and now there's this resurgence as well, so we want to continue to feed into that community and keep that community growing," Dachman says. Which makes a lot of sense when you look at the hyper-active fan base that has continued to surround the cult classic.
"People love the Twilight movies ten years later for different reasons than they loved it in high school," Crank adds. "They're recognizing what those movies gave to them at a younger age and loving them for that. So now it's more of a 'rainy day outside' nostalgia factor."
For me, the content serves as a reminder of simpler times for my pre-teen self, who fantasized about falling in love. It's also a sweet reminder of Stewart and Pattinson's humble beginnings that launched them into full-fledged stardom (yes, I am still a massive KStew stan).
The key to keeping the Twilight social pages alive is honestly pretty simple. They're not approaching the fandom from a corporate perspective, but rather, they're creating content as actual fans of the movies. They've spent years watching the films, memorizing scenes and quotes, and becoming Twihards. This led to the realization that creating content that "we know the fans will enjoy and stuff that we think the fans would post themselves" would always work best, says Crank.
Social media, including new platforms like TikTok, has paved the way for the "Twilight Renaissance" simply because it's so meme-able. "In many ways, the Twilight saga has its own group of inside jokes," says Crank. "So Twilight is very compatible with TikTok in the sense that it provides a platform to post these inside jokes that haven't really been talked about previously." As someone whose entire "For You Page" was taken over in the last year by clips of Kristen Stewart petting Taylor Lautner in a green bodysuit or Robert calling Kristen a "spider-monkey," I know this all too well.
Kelly Anderson and Melissa Duffy, hosts of the "Another Bite of Twilight" podcast, describe the various sub-groups of fans, and how we all cling to different aspects of the films. "Some people loved Bella and the romance story, some loved Alice, some the Volturi, and some loved the wolves," says Duffy. In other words, we allowed ourselves to connect with the pieces that most resonated with us.
Some of the Twilight cast might not be *quite* as nostalgic as the fans are (remember when Anna Kendrick forgot she was in Twilight or when Kristen Stewart said she's only ever made five good movies?), but the Twilight resurgence has made fans look "fondly back at what the movies did for them when they came out," Crank says.
As for me, the movies bring me back to my childhood home, where I'd watch the movies with my mom, to being a teenager and running down movie theater halls with friends, to having Twilight movie marathons in college where we'd cram six girls onto one bed and laugh at the CGI lovechild of Bella and Edward. It reminds me of living in New York for the first time, when I'd rewatch the Twilight series for comfort.
Many of us can now look at the movies and cherish them for what they were and for what they gave us. We can love them and still laugh at them, knowing, as Melissa said, that we are "laughing at the time period" and appreciating the Twilight films for what they were. Ultimately, though, we love them for what they mean to us now.
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