New Moon Rumor Roundup

New Moon is scheduled to hit theaters on November 20, and we know all you Twi-hards are probably already counting down the minutes until the first midnight showing. We thought it might be nice to help you out with the wait by rounding up all the rumors surrounding New Moon, let you know which ones have already been debunked, and which ones still have both Team Edward and Team Jacob in suspense:

Old Rumors:

Taylor Lautner won’t be returning as Jacob Black.

Verdict: False! Despite some concern that Lautner wouldn’t be able to convincingly pull off the drastic physical changes Jacob goes through in New Moon (to be fair, they’re not exactly natural human changes), director Chris Weitz has decided to keep the original cast intact. Just be prepared to see a beefed-up Lautner ... on stilts.

Vanessa Hudgens might play Leah Clearwater.

Verdict: Laughably false! This rumor might have made more sense if Catherine Hardwicke had been returning to direct New Moon, seeing as how Hudgens appeared in Hardwicke’s Thirteen (along with Nikki Reed, who plays Rosalie in the Twilight films). But even if someone had been looking to place the squeaky-clean High School Musical star in the film, it’s hard to think of a role that could’ve been a bigger stretch for her than angry, bitter Leah (especially if you think of how Leah’s character develops when we get to Breaking Dawn).

Billy Burke won’t return as Bella’s father.

Verdict: Mercifully false! Burke’s refreshingly droll performance as Chief Charlie Swan was a delightful surprise that truly brought one of the book’s most underdeveloped characters to life. I would’ve been incredibly sad to see him go.

Dakota Fanning is playing Jane.

Verdict: Hopefully. The pint-sized, angelic-looking menace of the Volturi clan is one of the trickier roles Weitz will have to cast, but Dakota definitely at least looks the part. Negotiations have been reported as “ongoing” for months. With filming set to begin in March, we should get a final decision soon.

New Rumors:

Madonna will be part of New Moon.

Verdict: Kind of, sort of, maybe. Although earlier rumors that she was scheduled to appear in the film have been squashed (if anyone has any idea what role they possibly could have been thinking to cast her in, please enlighten me in the comments section), there still seems to be a possibility of her contributing music to the soundtrack. I wonder what emo-loving Twilight author Stephanie Meyer thinks about that.

New Moon and Eclipse will be filmed back-to-back.

Verdict: False, but there will be some overlap. Summit Entertainment has already announced that Eclipse, the third film in the Twilight franchise, will be released on June 30, 2010, a mere seven months after New Moon hits theaters. This means Robert Pattinson better not relax on any sunny beaches during his break between films. It won’t be long before his skin will need to be at its pastiest again.

Chris Weitz has already been fired from Eclipse.

Verdict: I know it sounds harsh, but it’s pretty much true. In order to hit that June 30, 2010, release date, Eclipse will have to begin shooting while New Moon is still in post-production. Weitz can’t be in two places at once; therefore, a new director will need to be hired to helm Eclipse. It seems to me that Summit is taking a big risk here. What if the fans love what Weitz does with New Moon and become angry that he was never given the chance to return for Eclipse? (Easy solution: Summit can keep things in the family by hiring Chris’ brother/frequent collaborator, Paul Weitz, to direct Eclipse!) On one hand, it makes sense to rush a little bit so the young stars don’t change too much in appearance between films (except for poor Taylor Lautner, who has the opposite problem). But on the other hand, I think Summit’s true motivation to churn out these films at lightening speed is to cash in as much as possible before the next fad moves in and vampires become passé.

And finally, for those of you who need a refresher on what this whole Twilight thing is all about, I leave you with Twilight: The Puppet Saga.

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