The Cut Matthew Lillard Role Scream Fans Never Got To See
Directed by Wes Craven, a legendary filmmaker and horror icon, the 1996 film “Scream” openly played with slasher tropes in a witty, self-referential way. Upon its premiere, critics applauded the film for its ability to effectively lean into and subvert the teen horror narrative while offering a fresh iteration of the genre (via Rotten Tomatoes). Throughout the movie, characters openly acknowledge the existence of other slasher films and discuss the best ways to avoid a grisly death and triumph over a ruthless killer. A commercial and critical success, “Scream” launched a lucrative franchise that continues to this day.
In “Scream,” protagonist Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) strives to resume life as a normal teen while struggling with the recent murder of her mother. During this time, many of her peers are stalked and brutally killed by a masked figure. At one point, Sidney herself is targeted by the mysterious killer and fends for herself until the police arrive. Although her boyfriend, Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich), tries to console her, his dismissal of the situation leaves her rattled. Meanwhile, many of those close to her, including her best friend, Tatum (Rose McGowan), and her boyfriend, Stu (Matthew Lillard), urge her to forget her worries with a house party. During the chaos of the night, the cruel killers make themselves known. Shocked, Sidney fights to protect herself against Billy and Stu, ultimately overtaking them in a bloody skirmish.
Yet, despite his apparent end in the first film, Lillard’s role had the potential to expand within the “Scream” franchise.
Stu was going to be the killer in Scream 3
According to iHorror, while speaking at Scarefest, “Scream” alum Matthew Lillard revealed that the screenwriters had originally wanted him to reprise his role in the third installment. As Lillard explained, the script for “Scream 3” initially had Stu secretly masterminding a series of murderous attacks to wreak revenge against Sidney.
Notably, the first film showed Stu suffering severe blood loss from deep stab wounds. In the climax of the movie, both Billy and Stu purposely injure each other with knives to make it seem as if they are the only survivors of a horrific murder spree. In the end, however, Sidney manages to outsmart their cruel plot. When Stu attacks her, she pushes a television onto his body, which ultimately electrocutes him. Although his death is heavily implied (and, visually, it seems quite obvious that he has been killed), it is never explicitly confirmed. As a result, it appears that “Scream 3” hoped to take advantage of the ambiguity to bring back a popular villain.
However, as Lillard noted at the same panel, the tragic events of Columbine changed the entire narrative for the third film. To avoid depicting on-screen violence against high schoolers, the writers scrapped their plan to have Lillard return and instead reworked a completely new plot. While it would have been compelling to watch Lillard’s Stu make an unexpected comeback, the decision to take a different path seems like a wise decision.