How the Twilight Saga Became an Icon Not Only for Teenage Girls but for the Entire Generation

7 months ago

The first film of The Twilight Saga was released in 2008. Just imagine, the iconic question “How long have you been 17?” has already turned 15 years old in 2023. But even though many people watched the vampire saga with disdain in the beginning, now it is a never ending source of memes and nostalgia. How have The Twilight Saga managed to keep the love of the audience for so many years? Let’s find out in this article.

The story seemed too shallow to the audience.

After release, Twilight was immediately dubbed a “teenage story.” And it’s no wonder. The movie theaters were filled with schoolgirls for the most part while older people believed that this franchise didn’t really deserve this crazy love of fans. But it wasn’t only the movie that was criticized, the book was criticized as well. Stephen King, for example, said that “Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn.” And even ordinary readers whose comments we found online were not fond of the book either.

  • I read them all so that I could have an opinion on them, and god they were terrible. I’m usually a fast reader, but it took me months to get through them, especially the last book, because every second or third page I’d have to put the book down and go “What the heck ?” © FortLagomorph / Reddit
  • When Twilight was at its peak, I would occasionally use excerpts of it in class, and invite my seventh graders to find the comma errors. © Digger-of-Tunnels / Reddit
  • I thought Twilight was badly written... then I read Fifty Shades of Grey. © Unknown author / Reddit

The movie characters were mocked online.

You probably remember multiple jokes about Bella Swan’s emotional range that appeared online. Viewers laughed at her “always open mouth” and the lack of any emotion on her face. The main character seemed empty to them, and some viewers genuinely wondered why all guys around her fell for her.

  • Can someone explain to me what exactly all these men are seeing in Bella Swan? I listened to all audiobooks like 4 times already and I’m still not finding it like mamma has no personality, no character, no rizz, and some serious mental health problems. © Yalaeinhorn2704 / Reddit

Edward, played by Robert Pattinson, was generally more loved by the audience, but still the actor has been labelled as not cool enough for the role a couple of times. According to some fans, Robert didn’t look like the book vampire at all. It’s funny, but about 3 days after the actor landed the role, fans even sent a petition against this choice and attached Robert’s bad photo with the words, “THIS is Edward.” It got up to 75,000 signings, but surely this petition wasn’t successful.

  • Both Robert and Bella were stale in the movies. Maybe because of how boring the actors are (Robert became a way better actor later on), but they both played the characters like cardboard. © Maleficent-Leg-9307 / Reddit

The series was criticized for its anti-feminist message.

According to some viewers, the girls in this franchise exist only to fall in love with their men. And it’s not just Bella: other female characters also exist as an appendix to their beloved. For example, Rosalie once said that the only thing worth living for is to “have been allowed to marry someone who loved me and have pretty babies.” And while Bella is struggling to choose between human and vampire life, Rosalie argues that it’s not necessary to search for some meaning in life, it’s enough to fulfill that societal female prescription.

Did you notice how Bella spends her free time? She mostly stays home and cooks dinners for her father. Likewise, Emily cooks meals for the entire wolf pack nonstop. At the same time, the male characters of the series are self-sufficient, cool and ambitious.

But then everything changed.

Twilight was considered a girls movie from the very beginning and wasn’t taken seriously. But nowadays it’s no longer a shame to watch a girls’ movie, it’s not even a guilty pleasure. When the movie was released, people seriously debated whether it was shameful for a real man to watch Twilight. But now even popular bloggers happily watch the vampire saga and record video reactions.

Previously it was believed that movies targeted at female audiences were too silly to appeal to men. But are stereotypical “male” action movies where characters can spend hours punching each other in a car park, much smarter? The truth is that times are changing, and there is no longer a clear division between “male” and “female” movies. In 2023, it is absurd to be ashamed of your movie tastes.

  • Twilight partly shaped my taste in music, and there’s also great visual. There’s no shame in enjoying something that is not liked by everyone© Fair_Ly / Twitter

The movie has suddenly become feminist.

Suddenly Bella turned from an ordinary girl who preferred to hide in the shadow into a symbol of girl power. No, nothing has changed in the series, but the audience unexpectedly found something in the main character that they haven’t noticed before. For example, at the end of the saga, Bella takes her fate in her own hands and consciously gives up her human life for the sake of a vampire life. Also, throughout the series, she plays a significant role in bridging human community and vampire community.

Besides, Twilight has become the first movie to prove that girls’ movies can earn a lot of money at the box office, that they can become blockbusters even with the almost complete absence of a male audience. And if it weren’t for Twilight, we might not have seen The Hunger Games, where the story also revolves around a female character.

Some of the actors made a great career in movies thanks to the vampire saga.

The Twilight Saga became a breakthrough for the starring actors, but some of them have long got rid of their vampire image, having played in many dramatic movies. For example, Robert Pattinson proved to have a great dramatic talent by starring in the movies like The Lighthouse and The Batman. And the audience doesn’t mention his lack of emotions or beauty in the comments anymore.

  • I continue to be in awe of Robert Pattinson. I come from being a teenage Twilight fan to a grown-up who did not expect to still be rooting for him. Dude’s fantastic! © Oapy / Reddit
  • I was impressed very much with Patterson’s acting range in The Lighthouse. © NemesisExecution / Reddit

Jackson Rathbone, who played Jasper, is also quite successful: his after-Twilight career has been going up. In 2023, for example, he has starred in three major projects, and even shared a film set with Mickey Rourke once.

While some of the actors may not be popular in movies, but finally feel comfortable with themselves.

© The Twilight Saga: Eclipse / Summit Entertainment and co-producers, Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection / East News

Taylor Lautner, who played Jacob, also moved away from the image of a werewolf, stopped going to the gym and lost his 6-pack for which his character was adored. But we are very happy for the actor, because now he is comfortable with his own body and does not exhaust himself with workouts. However, he has almost disappeared from the screens, and his new movies receive mostly negative reviews. But who knows, maybe we’ll hear about him again.

By the way, his wife’s name is Taylor too. And she took her spouse’s last name. So, she’s Taylor Lautner now too.

Plus, people love to be nostalgic.

We all tend to look back with a good deal of sadness and recall our childhood and youth. We enjoy nostalgia for cultural phenomena of the noughties, like fashion, movies, or TV shows. Thus The Twilight Saga has become another symbol of a bygone beloved era over time, along with subcultures and many other things. And now many people tend to rewatch the saga to go back in time and feel young again.

And do you remember the soundtrack? All the hits of the time by Paramore, Muse or Linkin Park were there. And if in the year of Twilight’s release, we used to cringe and say, “The music is great, but the movie is so bad,” 15 years later both the picture and the soundtrack are perceived as a whole, and as something that is good to remember.

And here’s 10 actors who could have played in The Twilight Saga if the filmmakers decided to follow Stephenie Meyer’s recommendations.


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