Scream VI’s Hayden Panettiere Praises Fans Who ‘Came To My Rescue’ With Campaigns For Kirby

The horror genre is a tried and true one in the film world, which has been experiencing a renaissance for years now. One of the most beloved franchises within the genre is definitely Wes Craven’s Scream, which revitalized slashers when the 1996 original hit theaters. We’re just a few days away from the release of Scream VI, which features Hayden Panettiere’s long-awaited return from Scream 4. And the Heroes alum has praised fans who “came to my rescue” with campaigns for her character Kirby Reed.

Hayden Panettiere’s Kirby Reed was a fan favorite character when she debuted in Scream 4, and she got some really iconic sequences throughout its runtime. In the years since its release, fans debated if she might still be alive, and campaigned for Kirby’s  return. As you can see in the video above, I had the privilege of speaking with the cast of Scream VI ahead of its release, where I asked Panettiere what it’s been like seeing fans give her so much love. She responded honestly, saying it was:

Amazing, so inspirational. I needed it so badly. And they came to my rescue, honestly. For them I went knocking and was like, ‘Please bring me back! Because there’s more to be done.’

How sweet is that? While Scream fans obviously love Hayden Panettiere and her character, it sounds like the feeling is actually mutual. Because she’s seen all the support online, and it seemingly meant a great deal to the 33 year-old actress. Sometimes scary movies really can bring people together!

Hayden Panettiere’s comments about feeling rescued and buoyed by the Scream fandom might make a great deal of sense for those who have been paying attention to her personal story. She recently revealed a struggle with depression and substance issues, bravely showing her scars to the public in the process. Additionally, her brother Jansen recently passed away suddenly. I have a ton of respect for her for doing the grueling press tour for Scream VI during this trying time. 

Hayden Panettiere as Kirby in Scream VI

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Later in our same conversation, I asked Hayden Panettiere what her process was like finding Kirby again. After all, she’s got a specific swagger and sense of humor that fans adored in Scream 4. She further explained the strong emotions that come with her character, saying:

It felt like coming home, honestly. I found myself in Kirby in Scream 4. And we’re very similar, very alike. And when she came back, I wanted to bring that back and make sure that the same Kirby survived, and is that same lioness that she’s always been.

As one of the fans who had long-hoped for Kirby’s return to the Scream and was never convinced that she actually died in the fourth movie, it’s such a joy to see her back for Scream VI. And given Hayden Panettiere’s feelings, the moment seems all the more significant. Horror fans are just built differently.

Scream VI will hit theaters on March 10th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.