Brooding blood suckers? That’s so passé.
Edward Cullen may find some competition as a new “Twilight” heartthrob makes his debut when “New Moon” comes to theaters Friday, Nov. 20.
Audiences around the world have been preparing for this moment in Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” saga since they finished the second novel in its series.
Distraught teen Bella (Kristen Stewart) has developed into quite the daredevil since her pretty-boy vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) decided from the start of the novel he was not good enough for her and ran away.
Ultimately depressed and seeking an adrenaline rush, she ends up sprawled on the side of the road, bleeding after crashing her motorbike. To the rescue comes Jacob (Taylor Lautner), Bella’s childhood friend, who’s beefed up in the past year and is starting to feel the effects of his werewolf urges.
Essentially, a love triangle ensues between Bella and her supernatural men—a fantasy some find irresistible.
“Jacob’s role is definitely going to take a lot of attention away from Edward,” said John Carroll University freshman Maddie Messner. “It’s going to make it more exciting for the people who don’t like Edward.”
According to Kat Johnson, administrator of QuileuteWolfPack.com, the saga’s fan Web site, this love triangle is “not the equilateral kind.” “It’s true that Bella loves Jacob, but that love is not comparable to the love she has for Edward,” Johnson said.
New Moon has brought out the competitive side of “Twilight” fans—since being published in 2006, “Twilight” aficionados have chosen to be either on “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob.”
“There are a lot of ‘Team Edwards,’ but I think that will be okay because that will allow for some more competition,” said junior Ciara Mastin.
Amanda Belcher, Public Relations representative of the fan site “Twilight MOMs” believes that Jacob won’t have a crucial impact on Bella and Edward’s relationship.
“Jacob is the character who helps bring Bella back to life when she’s literally given up after Edward’s departure,” Belcher said. “But that doesn’t take away from Bella’s relationship with Edward and the pain she continuously feels without him there.”
Both men in the film have their pros and cons. While Edward is a brooding immortal whose skin sparkles in the sun, we can’t forget that he’s an insanely jealous vegan who feeds on animals’ blood and, according to Bella, feels like “icy, hard marble.”
Jacob is an adventurous high-schooler and gifted mechanic who can transform at will into a werewolf and is half-naked most of the time due to his supernatural transformations. However, aside from not being Edward, his drawbacks include involuntarily phasing into a gigantic wolf when angered, and having a mane the size of the lion’s from Narnia.
“I think Jacob will bring in a new, different crowd of people because he’s more human and more realistic than Edward,” said sophomore Emily Day.
Due to major physical changes in the character of Jacob from “Twilight” to “New Moon,” director Chris Weitz considered replacing Lautner in “New Moon” with an actor who could more accurately portray the larger Jacob.
In an attempt to keep the role, 17-year-old Lautner began working out the day filming finished for “Twilight.”
According to Lautner in the newest issue of Entertainment Weekly, he was eating every two hours and incorporating intense weight training and isometric exercises seven days a week to pack on over 30 lbs. of muscle.
“Taylor’s determination and dedication as an actor was reiterated with his near year-long workout regimen just to win back the role of Jacob from any other candidates,” said Johnson. “Weitz would never have been able to find a better Jacob Black than Lautner.”
This dramatic plot shift may not fare well for “New Moon.”
“Most of the audience is crazy for Edward, but I think people will still appreciate the film because there’s such an expansion of the cast this time around,” said Day.
“I think the audiences who love Edward are going to have to adapt to Jacob being in Bella’s life.”
Ultimately, the love triangle in “New Moon” is about picking a team.
“I remain team Edward because they are undoubtedly meant to be together,” said Belcher. “Edward is Bella’s soul mate—the person who is able to complete her and help her grow.”
Yet, love triangle or no love triangle, the “Twilight” saga still remains a much anticipated series.
“It’s the mysticism and the idea that you can live in a world that is so like ours but still is not because there are these fictional elements,” said Mastin. “That’s what really draws people in.”