Warning: Spoilers ahead from Scream 6!
Scream 6 marked the return of Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby Reed, and in doing so, the sequel explained how Kirby survived Scream 4. Panettiere joined Wes Craven’s 2011 Scream sequel alongside a batch of fellow newcomers who starred alongside the original trilogy’s core characters: Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, and David Arquette. Among that batch, Panettiere and Cox are the only two to appear in Scream 6.
Despite becoming an instant fan favorite, Kirby, unfortunately, got swept up in the 2011 Ghostface killings carried out by her supposed friends, Jill Roberts (Emma Roberts) and Charlie Walker (Kieran Culkin). After falling into a trap that involved Ghostface’s horror trivia, Kirby thought she was saving Charlie, but he tricked her, allowing him to stab her twice in the abdomen. Kirby was last seen in Scream 4 bleeding out, and it wasn’t until a Scream 2022 Easter egg did the franchise reveal Kirby’s survival. Granted, Kirby’s survival details weren’t revealed until Panettiere’s much-anticipated Scream 6 return as an FBI agent.
Scream 6 Explains Kirby Technically Died In Scream 6
For the years that followed Scream 4, there was a debate about whether Kirby survived her stabbings. Once she was confirmed to have lived, the focus shifted to how Kirby managed to survive. In reality, Kirby actually died for four minutes. Kirby showed the others her large scars in Scream 6, but the survival explanation didn’t come up until Sam (Melissa Barrera), Tara (Jenna Ortega), and the group investigated the Ghostface shrine.
While in the abandoned theater, Tara slipped away, and Kirby found her to talk about their shared trauma. During the conversation, Kirby mentioned how she survived Scream 4, saying that she nearly died after being stabbed twice before reiterating that she technically did die for several minutes before being resuscitated. The situation was clearly touch-and-go based on the severity of the injuries. Still, it also was a way to retcon Scream 4 since Dewey (Arquette) didn’t mention Kirby’s possible survival to Jill in the hospital. The explanation was brief, but it certainly solved a major Scream franchise mystery.
Will Hayden Panettiere Return As Kirby For Scream 7?
Even though Kirby recovered from her Scream 4 injuries, she was forced to relive her Ghostface attack through a series of new injuries in Scream 6. After being falsely pinned on the New York City murders, she was attacked by Detective Bailey (Dermot Mulroney) and his kids, Ethan (Jack Champion) and Quinn (Liana Liberato), during Scream 6‘s ending at the shrine. Not only was she knocked out, but she was stabbed in the stomach again. She was also shot at multiple times, but she was evidently wearing a bullet-proof vest. Since she survived yet another attack, there’s a very good chance Panettiere can return as Kirby for Scream 7 or other future installments.
As an FBI agent and Woodsboro ally for Sam and Tara, it would make sense for Kirby to be involved if Ghostface returns following Scream 6. She even told the sisters that she would be there for them if they needed her. With Gale’s involvement limited and Sidney’s presence up in the air, it would make sense for Scream 7 to use Kirby as the main legacy character, especially since her return was met with so much elation. Thankfully, Scream 6 didn’t leave any major questions surrounding Kirby like the case with Scream 4.
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