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Kirby would have returned to Scream sooner, but Hayden Panettiere was M.I.A.

"We couldn’t find her," executive producer Kevin Williamson says. "She doesn’t have an agent. She had sort of disappeared."

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Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed in Scream 6
Hayden Panettiere as Kirby Reed in Scream 6
Image: Paramount Pictures/Spyglass Media

One of the most exciting reveals in the new Scream 6 trailer that dropped today has to be a first glimpse at the franchise return of Kirby Reed (Hayden Panettiere). A Scream 4 fan favorite and one of the growing collective of women who have survived their dalliances with Ghostface, Kirby (and Panettiere) seem more than primed for a comeback.

That was always the plan, though. In fact, Scream 6 executive producer Kevin Williamson says she would have been back sooner, but the production team just couldn’t seem to locate Panettiere.

“We’re like, ‘Where’s Kirby?’ We couldn’t find her,” Williamson, who wrote Scream 4 (as well as the 1996 original and its sequel), recalls in a new interview with Variety. “She doesn’t have an agent. She had sort of disappeared.”

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Williamson says that he finally found an opportunity to get her back on board while filming season 2 of his series Tell Me a Story in Tennessee in 2019. During that spell, Williamson met producers who had worked with Panettiere on Nashville—from there, it was all about connecting the dots.

“I called up my producer in Nashville and said, ‘Do you know Hayden Panettiere, by any chance? Because we can’t find her!’ He’s like, ‘Oh yeah, let me call her,’” says Williamson. “And then they called back and it was like, ‘Alright, found her!’”

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Although Williamson is happy to discuss the process of nabbing Panettiere, he remains tight-lipped on how exactly Kirby will make her return to the franchise.

“There’s so much speculation about what her participation is in the movie and I love it,” Williamson gushes. “We should just let it live until the movie.”

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Scream VI arrives in theaters on March 10, 2023.