Scream 6’s Ghostface Killer Reveal Confirms We Can Move On From Sidney

By moving away from Sidney Prescott and giving more backstory to its central killer, the latest entry in the Scream franchise changes the rules for the better.

Scream 6 Ghostface Killer
Photo: Paramount Pictures

This Scream 6 article contains spoilers.

There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to successfully make a Scream movie. For instance, number one: you must involve Sidney Prescott. No Sidney equals box office death, okay? Number two: you must always have two killers who are connected to Sidney or her mother Maureen Prescott. The sin factor! It’s a sin. It’s an extension of number one. And number three: never, ever, ever under any circumstances say, “I know who the killer is.” Because you won’t be right.

By this point, the rules that Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) lays out for slasher movies (using Halloween as a target text) can be applied to the Scream franchise itself. Six movies in, the series has established a vernacular so clear that, even after Wes Craven‘s passing, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett can take over for Scream 2022 and still feel a piece with previous entries.

But with Scream 6, the series breaks the rules in order to give its new cast and creators room to tell their own story. Some of those breaks are obvious, like the absence of Sidney (Neve Campbell) and moving the story away from the California setting to the East Coast, following Tara (Jenna Ortega) to college in New York, along with her half-sister Sam (Melissa Barrera) and friends Mindy and Chad Meeks-Martin (niece and nephew of Randy, played by Jasmin Savoy Brown and Mason Gooding, respectively).

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Scream 6 not only gives us a set of Ghostfaces who don’t care about the Prescotts, but also add depth to the new cast’s history. In the final moments of the movie, we learn that the Ghostfaces are nerdy shy guy Ethan (Jack Champion) and Quinn Bailey (Liana Liberato), who seemed to die in a previous Ghostface attack. In a first for the series, we also get a third killer in the form of Quinn’s father, Detective Wayne Bailey (Dermot Mulroney), who masterminded the attacks with his daughter and his son, Ethan.

But the real twist is what the trio reveals about Richie Kirsch (Jack Quaid), one of the two killers in Scream 2022. Where he presented himself in that movie as Sam’s Stab-ignorant boyfriend, we learn that he’s actually obsessed with the movies and the purest example of toxic fandom. During his crazed monologue at the end of Scream 6, Wayne explains that he is in fact Richie’s father and that Ethan and Quinn are his siblings. While revenge is certainly part of their motivation, the trio also wants Sam to embrace her lineage as the daughter of Billy Loomis and become a killer.

In addition to changing Richie’s familial relations, the twist shows us the extent of his fandom. Early in Scream 6, the protagonists discover an empty theater that serves as something like a Ghostface Bat-cave. It contains artifacts from the previous Ghostface murders, such as the TV that killed Stu Macher (Matthew Lillard) and the coat worn by Nancy Loomis (Laurie Metcalf) — as well as the masks, hoods, and knives of all of his predecessors.

The Ghostface-cave serves to set up the culmination of Richie’s plot, in which Sam takes her father Billy’s costume and becomes a killer herself. More importantly, it gives the Scream franchise exactly what it needs to survive nearly three decades after the original: compelling motivations and backstories for the new cast, a history separate from Sidney Prescott, and, of course, its own set of rules.

Scream 6 is out in theaters now.