Welcome to the 'Twilight' Renaissance
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Welcome to the 'Twilight' Renaissance

We're living in the golden age of fandom, where social media has allowed stans to interact with their idols on a daily basis. Whether you're a barb, lamb, belieber, or registered bardi gang member, you're probably @-ing somebody. On Stan Stories, we meet the internet's most dedicated followers and delve deep into their obsessions.

A teenage girl moves to a new town and falls in love with her brooding biology classmate. Your average high school rom-com plot, right? Wrong. There's something strange about this guy. He sparkles in sunlight, plays an aggressive game of baseball and spends all of his time with a gaggle of incestuous adopted siblings. Turns out, he's been 17 for... a while.

If the above synopsis sounds like gibberish, well, that's Twilight. The blue-tinted vampire franchise is camp, horny and a little problematic, which makes it perfect fodder for pandemic-era meme creators like the admins behind Twitter's Twilight Renaissance account. Sharing posting duties across their respective time zones in Australia and Canada, admins Sabrina and Ezra May started making content together after bonding over their shared tween twihard experiences. Their memes take a nostalgic yet tongue-in-cheek look back upon a sometimes-cringey pop culture era, one that feels as distant and comforting as a pair of Lita boots clacking past the racks of a Hot Topic store.

Twilight is currently experiencing a resurgence — the movies recently hit Netflix, Olivia Rodrigo is officially Team Edward and Stephenie Meyer is currently cashing in with a new book. We caught up with the pair to learn more about Bella's surprisingly hot dad, the myth of #TeamJacob and why Catherine Hardwicke should have directed all five films.

How did you two meet and end up starting a Twilight-themed Twitter account together?

Sabrina: We met a few years ago through Twitter as we are both big Lady Gaga fans, and then we discovered we also both loved Twilight around the time Midnight Sun was announced. I got the idea of starting a Twilight-themed account in August [2020] and contacted Ezra to see if she wanted to join me. It was so well thought out, we made Google Docs with all of our ideas and then all the memes and posts just came pouring out on our account since then!

Ezra: It was also exciting being close in age, which can sometimes be rare online, because our teenage years were so similar; the pop culture we both experienced was life-changing . Everything from 2006-2011, pretty much.

Were you both twihards in middle school?

Ezra: Oh 100% yes! The first film came out when I began high school and the last one when it ended, so pretty much my entire experience! I can safely say I was the biggest twihard (though I preferred the term "twilighter" because I don't like the parallel to "try hard) in my entire school.

Sabrina: I was definitely a twihard in middle school! I distinctively remember going to Chapters in 2008 to purchase the book and going to the movies that same day to watch the movie. I brought the books to school every day to read them during lunch breaks with my friends and we would just talk about it 24/7. I was known as the "Twilight girl" at school since I had pictures plastered all over my locker and binder.

Team Jacob or Team Edward?

Ezra: Team Edward. Sab, care to back me up?

Sabrina: Of course, Team Edward always!

Was anyone ever really Team Jacob...

Ezra: Yes, my obsession started with the books also, I read each one before each film and I think that's why I'm Team Edward also. There's more exposition in the books, and he's the first one you really fall in love with! I feel that even though Jacob is swoon worthy too, a lot of it was because of Taylor [Lautner]'s abs.

Sabrina: Growing up, I've now also become Team Charlie because he deserved so much better.

Ezra: And I will admit throughout the whole saga I was hardcore Team Bella. I couldn't deal with the division over the boys sometimes!

Your account is called Twilight Renaissance, and there's definitely one happening right now. Have you been dedicated to Twilight all this time, or are you recently getting back into it?

Sabrina: Always been dedicated to Twilight, never stopped having marathons since 2008. Whenever it's gloomy or I'm feeling nostalgic (which is often), I'll watch the movies. Midnight Sun created the perfect opportunity for a renaissance, which is why we decided to create the account. I do want to credit the release of Midnight Sun for igniting a bigger obsession in me though.

Ezra: My dedication never wavered, but life eventually got in the way and I stopped actively talking about it online. I also had a fan account back in the day but oh, the drama! I had to deactivate it and move on. This account was the perfect way to keep promoting it online and keeping it "alive" I suppose, but ironically for me it's not a renaissance because it's always been a part of my life! I listen to the soundtracks every day. Same as Sab, I always marathon the films at least twice a year. Definitely a nostalgia comfort thing, but I also think we've grown up a little and stopped taking everything so seriously. As teens, we got super defensive over certain characters and storylines, but now we look back and realize it was a beautiful love story with funny moments and fantasy elements, and we're done with the drama within the fandom. Now, we look back and celebrate the how cool the films were, with awesome soundtracks!

Sabrina: The pandemic is definitely part of the reason why people are revisiting Twilight. It gives us a sense or comfort and nostalgia. Personally for me, it was a better time back in the day. As I always say, "it's been downhill ever since the last Twilight film was released." Twilight also being added to Netflix and being accessible is another reason I would say. Seeing the entire saga trending in the Top 10 just shows how powerful the movies still are today.

For a long time Twilight got a lot of hate, such as with the "still a better love story than Twilight" meme. Do you think people are over that now?

Ezra: Yes! Back then you were either a hardcore fan or you hardcore hated it, but either way, you were obsessed. There was something different about it, even if you dragged it all day long, you couldn't escape it. It was too unique to ignore.

Sabrina: That phrase irritated me so much as a teen. If you wanted to annoy a Twilight fan, thats all you had to say! It doesn't bother me as much today. Twilight was life back in the day, but once you learn not take the movies so seriously, the hate doesn't bother you so much. There are definitely things to criticize in the saga, but back in the day it was generally hated because the movies were geared to teenage girls.

Something that really comes across with this account is the fact that even if you're a Twilight megafan, you probably do think the movies are pretty funny and camp. They're obviously riddled with plotholes, not-amazing acting and kinda problematic storylines — is that part of the charm at this point?

Ezra: Yes for sure. Firstly, it's pretty damn hard to adapt a book to film, some of the fantasy stuff doesn't translate quite as well — but the films offer different things that the books can't. And we also love the fact that the cast weren't out to making an Oscar-winning saga, they just wanted to make something cool and real, and they did. I think it's important to remember that the first Twilight was being made on a budget, it was essentially an "independent" film. The fandom really brought it to the level it did.

Sabrina: Many of the memes we post are from lines in the movies that have become huge jokes within the fandom and the public in general. However, back in the day, as a 13 year old, I never thought much of "Bella, where the hell have you been loca?" as a joke but today, it's the funniest thing ever. I often see people referring to Twilight as a comedy and I'm pretty sure if you go into watching the movie with that in mind, you will likely enjoy it more. And I always tell people to read the books first, there's so much more depth to everything. The movies just don't capture that.

I'm always obsessed with those interviews with Rob and Kristen where they seem confused by the plot.

Sabrina: Their interviews are so funny. One of my favorites is the interview with Rob and Kristen for Cineplex where they're promoting Breaking Dawn part 1 and Rob just reveals the entire plot from part two by accident.

Ezra: A classic! I always believe the books and the films should be appreciated separately, and with our account, we want to embrace all aspects of it, even parts people see as lame or whatever.

What's the best book, and what's the best movie?

Ezra: That's a toughie. This is possibly controversial but think my fave book is Eclipse, and my fave movie is New Moon… funny enough I couldn't say the same vice versa. But the best book/film overall is Twilight.

Sabrina: Best book? Twilight. Best movie? New Moon, this is an unpopular opinion but I believe it had the best book to movie adaptation. It has the best soundtrack and it truly captured how broken Bella was during the entire book. Also that scene with Victoria running through the forest as "Hearing Damage" plays? A cinematic masterpiece. Sab and I both really love New Moon the film. It's ironic seeing as how we're Team Edward and he's hardly in it. But the Romeo and Juliet parallels are everything.

Ezra: Also, the first film blew up so quick, when New Moon premiered the following year, I really was able to process everything and become a deeply passionate fan.

Sabrina: As a teen, I actually hated New Moon because Edward was hardly in it. But as I grew up, I've learned to truly love and appreciate it.

Ezra: Yes, and the whole film is a total mood! Bonus points for Bella's hair. Her best hair in the saga.

I didn't realize that there's Twilight hair discourse.

Ezra: Oh most definitely. Bella, Edward, and Alice in particular. But overall hairstyles peaked in New Moon. The following films were affected by actors' side projects…

Sabrina: Everyone's hair is beyond inconsistent in the entire saga! The biggest issue I think is Bella's wig in Eclipse (which you can tell its obviously a wig) and Edward's sideburns in Eclipse as well. Esme's hair is drastically different in every single movie as well, its always changing colors.

I feel like we also need to talk about the blue tint, which you make a lot of memes about. It's so funny once you notice it.

Ezra: I'll let Sabrina take this as she is the expert on this phenomenon! All I'll say is no other film has done it like this and no other film ever will.

Sabrina: The beloved blue tint. One of the reasons that makes Twilight so great. I cannot emphasize how much I wanted the entire saga to be in the blue tint, up until the moment Bella opens her eyes as a vampire. I personally believe if Catherine Hardwicke had directed all the movies, she would have done this. It would have been such a great contrast between how Bella sees the world as a human and when she opens her eyes as a vampire, everything is so different and much more clear.

Ezra: Filmmakers don't often take a risk to color-grade an entire film in one palette, but Catherine really wanted to create this cool toned, mossy landscape and she did it so beautifully. The handheld camerawork also contributed to that feeling of coming into a new world, exactly the way Bella felt learning about the Cullen family. This blue tint really put Forks, Washington on the map. We joke about it, but really it's a cinematic choice that will go down in history. We are so lucky to have experienced it as a generation.

We are so lucky to have experienced the baseball scene. If you could change anything about the Twilight books or movies, what would it be?

Sabrina: Since you mentioned the baseball scene, I've always wanted a second baseball scene in Breaking Dawn part 2 with Bella as a vampire. It would have been so epic! Just more scenes in general with Bella as a vampire, it was so short-lived in the movies because of Renesmee being the centre of the plot. Also would have loved the movies to explore more into Alice's backstory. And since we're on this topic, I still want the rest of the books in Edward's POV.

Ezra: There's not much I would change honestly! Obviously we would've loved to Catherine Hardwicke directing all of the films, but it wasn't meant to be. And each director put their own spin on it which is cool. Also there are some deleted scenes that should've been in the film, and some parts of the books that didn't make it to the film. Just minor things, really. I think the flaws of each movie make them much more iconic, to be honest. Like we could've had a fast-paced New Moon but we got a super slow, depressing overdramatic art piece that became a whole mood that we didn't understand until we turned 21.

I wish I could change her naming the baby Renesmee.

Ezra: Oh you did not just disrespect Resumé!

The account posts about old Twilight merch a lot, and we also recently had that moment where Olivia Rodrigo's Twilight bag went a bit viral. Do you guys have any cool merch that you've held onto since high school?

Ezra: My treasured item is a branded baseball I got with the DVD release of the first film. I also have trading cards, and the jewelry of the whole Cullen clan.

Sabrina: Oh how I wish Hot Topic still sold merch. Most importantly, we need the soundtracks on vinyl more than ever! I still have tons of merch left, I never threw any of it out. It's sitting on my book shelf.

Do you think we see the influence of Twilight in current pop culture? If Edward had died of the Spanish Flu and we never met him, what would society look like?

Ezra: I would not be who I am today. I suppose there would always be something else, but the impact would not be the same. So many franchises have come and gone, but I don't feel any have captured the high school and relationship experience in the same way. For example, Harry Potter leaned much more into fantasy and Hunger Games wasn't set in high school so much.

Sabrina: Definitely! I was watching Schitt's Creek last night and they mentioned Breaking Dawn. I've also noticed Twilight has a huge following on TikTok as well, and with Olivia Rodrigo openly posting about Twilight I think it will continue to have influence on pop culture for many more years.

Ezra: I feel like the overall uniqueness and campiness of Twilight is on such a huge scale that it's hard to compare it or envision pop culture without it. Even vampire-based flicks from the 80s can't compare, they were either full camp or gory but not with the same balance of romance. We have a lot of thank Olivia Rodrigo for, she was born in 2003 (literally five when Twilight premiered) but has an old school soul which is why she celebrates Twilight and even with her music is bringing back Avril Lavigne and other early '00s icons back to the forefront. She has taste.

Last question… what would you say to Stephenie Meyer if you met her on the street?

Ezra: "Stephenie, thank you for bringing your dream to life and gracing us with Bella and Edward's love story. It truly changed mine and so many others' lives!" Then I'd faint, probably.

Sabrina: I want to know if she's aware that Twilight has become such a meme on the internet and what she thinks about that.

Photo courtesy of Lionsgate