Warning: Spoilers ahead for Scream 6!For the first time in franchise history, Neve Campbell was absent for a Scream installment, but Scream 6 proved that Jenna Ortega’s Tara Carpenter is a capable replacement for the Sidney Prescott character. With Scream 2022, there was convincing evidence that Melissa Barrera’s Sam Carpenter would take over as the Sidney-esque final girl for the modern reboot. While Sam remains a crucial figure in the current Scream timeline, Scream 6 indicated that she’s not necessarily replacing the Sidney role; her younger sister is.

Campbell had a brief but pivotal role in Scream 2022, helping Gale Weathers (Courteney Cox), Sam, and Tara take down the latest Ghostface killers. Though she acquired a few more stab wounds, Sidney lived to see another day as final girls typically do. Campbell, who has been the face of the Scream franchise since 1996, expressed interest in returning for Scream 6, but unfortunate contract negotiations led to her understandably declining a role to return. While Sidney’s presence would have been welcomed in Scream 6, the sequel solidified Tara’s place as a Sidney-like character.

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Scream 6 Proves Tara Has Turned Into The New Sidney (Not Sam)

Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega in Scream VI. 

There was logic in believing Scream 2022 was setting Barrera as the core focus of the rebooted franchise despite the fact that Campbell was still involved. Sidney will always be the foundation for the Scream movies, but it was clear she moved into the legacy status in Scream 2022 as the focus shifted to Sam and her struggles being the daughter of Billy Loomis (Skeet Ulrich). However, it was Tara who embodied the role of the young woman terrorized by her past who wished to move on and live her life, something that Sidney wished for time and time again.

Like Sidney leaving Woodsboro to attend college in Scream 2, Scream 6 revealed that Tara left behind the tragic events in the hope of becoming a normal college kid in New York City. Both faced a rude awakening when Ghostface killers targeted them and their allies at college, but it showed how Sidney and Tara innocently believed that they had a chance at a normal life again. They might have been aware of the truth about what would be needed to survive, but neither Sidney nor Tara had inherent violent tendencies.

Why Sam Doesn’t Need To Be Scream 6’s Version Of Sidney

Melissa Barrera in Scream VI. 

Sam, on the other hand, continued going down a different path in Scream 6, confirming that she is now open to embracing her violent side. Though Sam didn’t officially become Ghostface by the end of Scream 6, the sequel once again hinted that killing comes easier to her. That violence and struggle with her identity stemmed from her connection to Billy, who she was still haunted by. With Tara around as the Sidney character, it made sense why the more recent Scream movies would want to investigate a new kind of final girl. Sam can still share the spotlight with Tara in future Scream movies but embrace her ruthless side that doesn’t tend to fall into traditional survivor tropes.

Why Jenna Ortega Works As Scream 6’s Neve Campbell Replacement

Custom image of Jenna Ortega in Scream 6 and Neve Campbell in Scream 5.

Sidney still exists in the Scream franchise, and there’s no reason she couldn’t come back for Scream 7 or beyond if Campbell receives the contract she deserves. That said, if Campbell decides that her time in the Scream franchise has ended, the series’ future is still in good hands with Ortega as the Sidney replacement. While Barrera’s character can continue her darker journey, Ortega’s Tara can stand beside her as the fierce but good-natured core character. It also doesn’t hurt to have an actress like Ortega serve as the face of future Scream movies.

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Ortega certainly made a good impression in Scream 2022, but she was primarily restrained as a severely-injured victim for most of the movie. In Scream 6, the actress got a chance to truly shine. Unsurprisingly, she knocked her follow-up to Tara out of the park, considering her success leading Netflix’s Wednesday in the titular role. She also proved her horror capabilities in 2022’s X. With Ortega reportedly considering a major Beetlejuice 2 role, it’s no surprise why Scream would consider keeping a spotlight on Tara to keep Ortega involved for the long-term, just like Campbell’s franchise tenure.

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