The First ‘Twilight’ Script Had FBI Vampire Hunters and a Track-Star Bella Swan

Twilight is known as a pretty angsty movie that has a brooding Edward Cullen (literally) thirsting after the new girl, Bella Swan. It takes place in the rainy town of Forks, WA and it’s really close to the events of the book. But originally the script looked a lot different, to the point where it was an unrecognizable story. 

For the most part, the ‘Twilight’ movies are pretty faithful to the books they’re based on

Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) in 'Twilight.'
Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) in ‘Twilight’ | Summit Entertainment LLC 2008

Edward Cullen Doesn’t Think of Bella Swan by Her Name in ‘Midnight Sun’ for a Reason

Unfortunately for fans of YA novels, movies made from this genre of books can sometimes turn out badly. Movies adapted from any genre of book can take a turn for the worst, even if the book was fantastic. But for young adult books-to-film, it’s definitely risky. 

With Harry Potter a great success story, Twilight came and hoped to do something similar: please original fans of the novels and create an even bigger franchise than before. And it pretty much succeeded. Twilight premiered in 2008 and launched a massive phenomenon that grew bigger than the New York Times Bestselling book it’s based on. 

And the movies are basically faithful adaptations of the Twilight series. There are definitely scenes and conversations taken out for time’s sake or fluidity on camera. But nothing major was added and the events all happen in the same order. However, the original script was a completely different story. 

The very first script took a lot of liberties with the story

The first book came out in 2005, but the rights for the movie were propositioned in 2004 by Paramount Pictures’ MTV Films according to Entertainment Weekly. Stephenie Meyer told Media BLVD Magazine in 2008 that they came to her six months before she put out Twilight but that it was not the same Edward and Bella love story. 

”They could have put that movie out, called it something else, and no one would have known it was Twilight,” Meyer said.

What was so different about it? Think of a Twilight with a Charlie’s Angel vibe. At least that’s what director Catherine Hardwicke told the Los Angeles Times in 2008 before the film came out. 

“The very first thing in the script said that Bella was a track star. She’s obviously not a track star so the first moment you’re like whoa,” Hardwicke said. “And then she’s sitting in a diner with James and the bad vampires in the first couple pages. Wow, that doesn’t make sense.”

Strange, right? It gets weirder. According to the director, there was an FBI organization tracking James, Victoria, and Laurent, or basically any “bad” vampire. Apparently, the end of that first script had the FBI chasing the vamps in the ocean on jet skis. Yep. Jet skis. 

Hardwicke noted it was “cool enough” to get her attention but it wasn’t Twilight

“I went out and read the book and was like, ‘Whoa boy. Throw the script away and let’s start over,’” Hardwicke said. She did note that, to be fair, Twilight hadn’t come out yet. MTV and Paramount hired someone to write it based on the bare minimum plotline it sounds, and it seems like they were just making a teen vampire action-drama. 

“The idea of Twilight was only a jumping-off point and they did their own thing after that,” she said.

Director Catherine Hardwicke liked the ‘fascinating’ intrigue of the story

Luckily for Twilight fans out there, Hardwicke did take another look at it and then screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg was brought on to develop the script from the actual book. And now they have The Twilight Saga as they know it today; a classic that’s engrained in Twihards’ heads forever. 

Hardwicke told the LA Times that the aspect of Twilight that intrigued her was the “idea of this human girl falling in love with a vampire.” Definitely, a somewhat modern-day Romeo & Juliet, if only for the star-crossed lovers bit. 

“And this vampire family seemed very fascinating. Vegetarian vampires — what does that mean?” Hardwicke continued. “They’re fighting their true nature and Edward is struggling with his nature and tortured by his feelings. And all the sexual tension was there where you just felt like the closer he got to her the greater chance he would kill her. That’s pretty exciting.”