DALLAS — At this past weekend's TwiCon, thousands of fans had fun meeting the stars, participating in "Twilight"-themed classes and even dressing up for a Volturi masquerade ball. But between all the smiles, there was the inevitable talk of scandal — thanks to recent fanbase-rocking news involving exiled actress Rachelle Lefevre.
"I can't believe they'd replace her," marveled Nicole McDuffie, 29, a fan from Alabama who said she was upset at Summit Entertainment's announcement that "Eclipse" would feature a different actress in the role of Victoria. "I'm very disappointed."
"It'll be weird to have someone else replacing her. It just won't be the same," agreed 14-year-old Page Watkins from Lakeland, Florida. "It'll be totally different, and not like the first one."
Bonnie Newkirk of Salt Lake City, a "Twilight" grandma, shared the teen's disappointment. "[Lefevre] won't be in too much of 'New Moon', but [Howard] will be in a lot of 'Eclipse,' " Newkirk pointed out.
"We heard that she had a scheduling conflict, so she wouldn't be in 'Eclipse,' " McDuffie said, citing the recent public battle of press releases. "We also heard that her side of it is that they told her they don't want her to be in 'Eclipse.' At this point, I don't know what to believe, other than that ['Eclipse'] is Victoria's movie. 'Eclipse' is the culmination of what Victoria is trying to accomplish and the end of her."
"For me, I know it's part of Hollywood," reasoned Adrian Therrell, 36, of South Carolina. "But it makes me mad at the studio. I don't know that it's their fault, but I'd rather have her."
Others, however, stuck up for the studio that has given them the franchise they love so much. "I'll always see [Lefevre] as Victoria," said Karen Bender, 21, from Phoenix. "But I do trust Summit with their casting decisions overall. ... I'll still support the movies, but it's tough."
"I'm a little disappointed. We'll see what happens," said her sister Karen, 21. "It sounds like it's going to be a legal battle."
"You never know the truth about these things," Karen Newkirk of Hurst, Texas, said of the squabble between the two parties. "[Lefevre's] reality might be different than the studio's reality."
Meanwhile, some expressed hope over Lefevre's replacement, a Golden Globe-nominated actress with an impressive pedigree.
"I've seen her movies. I like her. I think she's a good replacement," Therrell said of Bryce Dallas Howard. "But I would much rather have Rachelle, just because she's already been the character — and you form bonds with characters."
Many expressed concern that watching November's "New Moon" would be an uncomfortable experience, because they'd know the actor had left the series under such circumstances.
"It's going to be disappointing [watching 'New Moon']. Because when I first saw 'Twilight,' she was my favorite character," Karen Newkirk said. "She was the one that embodied her character best from the books. She was a lioness, the way she moved, everything about her seemed to capture that character. It's going to take away from 'New Moon,' knowing that 'Eclipse' is coming next, and we know what's going to happen, but it's not going to be the same [actress]."
"They'll still be promoting 'New Moon' for another year, which she is in," added Karen Bender, hoping fan favorite Lefevre will continue to appear at events like the one this past weekend. "So I hope she still shows up at cons and stuff."
"I will accept [Howard], but I'd prefer to have Rachelle," added Watkins, who said she saw the first "Twilight" in theaters 16 times. "It's disappointing. But whatever they produce, we'll love it, because it's 'Twilight.' "
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