It’s the rare filmmaker who can claim even a single franchise to their credit, but the late Wes Craven has managed to do it twice. The director who introduced the world to Freddy Krueger in 1984 in the original A Nightmare on Elm Street also, with the help of screenwriter Kevin Williamson, deconstructed the horror genre in 1996’s Scream. That latter film has spawned four sequels, with a fifth due in March 2023.
Just don’t expect Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) to appear in it.
In a recent interview with Collider, Williamson put to rest an enduring fan theory that Macher—who was one half of the serial-killing teenage duo in the original—will rise from the dead. “No, he’s dead,” Williamson said. “I think that started because of the college scene, the frat party scene because [Lillard is] standing in the background.”
Williamson is referring to a scene in Scream 2 (1997), where Lillard can be seen briefly (and barely) during a college dorm party sequence. “He just came to visit the set that night,” Williamson said. Had he been Macher, it's likely Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) would have acknowledged the presence of her former nemesis.
Instead of treating it like an Easter Egg, some fans imagined it was a hint that Stu could return despite being stabbed repeatedly and electrocuted by a television set that had been dropped on his head, which is how he met his demise in the original film. (His co-conspirator, Skeet Ulrich's Billy Loomis, made brief appearances in 2022’s Scream as a hallucination suffered by his daughter Sam, played by Melissa Barrera.)
While Lillard didn’t physically appear in the last Scream, his voice can be heard: Lillard did the voiceover for Ghostface in the fiction-within-a-fiction Stab 8 trailer, and as a guest at a house party held at the Macher household.