When Twilight was released in 2008, it dominated pop culture, spawning more spoofs, imitations, and vampire erotica than any one person could keep track of. The film became one entry in a five-part series of movies that only got more expensive and melodramatic with each installment. While Twilight is no Battleship Potemkin, its script provides a fascinating blueprint of how to kick off a mega-successful franchise that enraptures huge swaths of moviegoers. How do you tell a narrative about a century-old vampire falling in love with a high schooler and make it not only not garishly creepy but in fact a love story that’s swooned over by millions? Let’s break down the Twilight script for its structure, characters, and romance to find out.
Twilight Script PDF Download
Click to view and download the entire Twilight script PDF below.
WHO WROTE Twilight SCRIPT?
Written by Melissa Rosenberg
Melissa Rosenberg is a television writer, producer and screenwriter. Before adapting Twilight into a motion picture, she worked on several television shows, including Party of Five, The O.C., and Dexter. She was the Twilight writer for all five installments, and most recently worked on Jessica Jones.
STRUCTURE OF TWILIGHT SCREENPLAY
Here is the story structure for the Twilight plot:
Through voiceover, Bella tells us her current situation: she’s moving to Washington to live with her dad, who she barely knows. We see her first day of school and are introduced to all the characters who will become her friends.
Bella lays eyes on Edward (and the rest of the Cullens). She’s immediately intrigued.
Plot Point One
After a rocky beginning to their relationship, Edward saves Bella from a car crash. This a) solidifies their bond and b) reveals to Bella that Edward has otherworldly powers.
Bella tries to figure Edward out, while simultaneously falling in love with him. Edward continues to be a weirdo, but is clearly obsessed with her. Meanwhile, Bella develops relationships with friends at school.
Bella confronts Edward: she’s discovered he’s a vampire. It’s a breakthrough, as now all the cards are on the table. Bella knows his secret, and their feelings for each other are made known.
Plot Point Two
The infamous baseball scene. Evil-vampire James sees Bella and clearly wants to devour her. According to Edward, the hunt is on.
The Cullens try to protect Bella from the homing missile that is James. Bella has a falling out with her father in order to protect him. But the efforts are in vain...
James lures Bella to her old ballet studio. He injures her and sucks some of her blood before Edward and the Cullens enter and beat him up. To save Bella from becoming a vamp, Edward is forced to suck her blood– what he’s been avoiding this entire time.
Bella is saved, and after the dust settles she and Edward go to prom, madly in love. She’s patched things up with her dad and she’s told her mom she’s staying in Forks. All is well. Or is it?
What is Twilight About?
Twilight setting is crucial
Twilight’s stylization is one of its most memorable qualities: the lush backdrop, the deep greens, the pallid skin. Take it from Bella’s teacher, Mr. Molina: “Green is what? Good!”
One might think the visual style would come from directorial decisions, but in her script Melissa Rosenberg emphasizes the setting and visual tone.
We imported the script of Twilight into StudioBinder’s screenwriting software to take a look at how Rosenberg describes the setting.
This is just one of the many lengthy descriptions of Washington Rosenberg inserts in the script of Twilight. The number one rule of screenwriting is to write economically — say what you need to say and nothing more. So why would Rosenberg spend so much space describing scenery?
Because Washington is not a randomly chosen setting: it is crucial to the Twilight plot and themes.
Its ecologically and meteorologically as far from Arizona as possible, so Bella’s move into a strange new world is visually emphasized. It’s constantly dark and raining — establishing the dark tone of Twilight and also explaining how the Cullens are able to be out and about during the day: no sunlight. The emphasis of wilderness is also key, as the Cullens hunt for animals for their food.
Rosenberg shows us that a screenwriter can have a say in the visual style of a film by devoting time to describing scenery and color.
Twilight characters say what they mean
There is almost no subtext in any of the dialogue in the script of Twilight — every character in the film says exactly what’s on their mind. Normally, this wouldn’t be an ideal approach to dialogue writing, since it’s usually more interesting for a character's lines to have subtlety and ulterior motives.
But in Twilight, this heart-on-the-sleeve approach to dialogue works to its benefit. Think about what the Twilight script needs to accomplish in just 103 pages: establish a wide cast of characters who will recur in the next four films, build a once-in-a-lifetime romance between its leads, establish the world of vampires and the rules that come along with it, create an action plot-line with a scary antagonist, tell a compelling father-daughter arc, and much more.
When you need to get all of this across, you need your characters to get right to the point. Let’s look at this interaction between Bella and Edward on page 34, when Bella is still trying to figure Edward out.
Here we see Bella very clearly outlining who Edward is: “You’re not bad. You can be a jerk, but it’s like this… mask. To keep people away.” Put this in third person and this could be Edward’s character description.
Additionally, Edward even admits that he’s constantly lying about his identity, so any guesswork the audience would have to do about what’s true and what’s a lie is completely taken away.
This kind of dialogue can be pretty stilted and uninteresting, but for a film like Twilight that has to move so quickly and raise emotions so high, it’s necessary. Remember, we need to believe that Bella would die for Edward halfway through the film.
Another great example of the blatant outlining in dialogue can be found in the film’s midpoint turn, when Bella tells Edward he’s a vampire.
All famous Twilight characters’ quotes have the subtlety of a vampire-operated baseball bat. Say what you will about them, but that’s a big reason why they’re memorable. A few notable Twilight quotes:
- “It's an extraordinary thing to meet someone who you can bare your soul to and accept you for what you are.” - Edward
- “About three things I was absolutely certain. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him — and I didn't know how potent that part might be — that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.” - Bella
- “I dream about being with you forever.” - Bella
- “You'd better hold on tight, spidermonkey.” - Edward
Twilight Movie Script
The Twilight ending tries too much
The problem with stuffing so much plot into such a short amount of time is that certain aspects are going to feel rushed. This is what happens when the Twilight plot enters its third act, when James sees Bella and decides he’s going to hunt her because she’s the most dangerous game.The break into Act Three already lays a shaky groundwork for what is to come: James is an underdeveloped antagonist and his motives don’t really make sense. Let’s take a look at the pivot to Act Three on page 78.
Twilight has been very explicit throughout its first two acts, but the ending to the pivotal baseball scene is confusing. It’s not clear why Dr. Cullen is panicked until the next scene, where Edward is given clumsy expository dialogue to explain why they’re running away.
This confusion perhaps arises because James is such a half-baked character. We don’t know much about him other than that he’s vaguely evil (he eats humans). So, instead of understanding what is going on when he and Edward glower at each other, we’re informed after the fact why James is so dangerous. This diffuses the tension in the scene and makes the break into Act Three feel very manufactured.
This is a problem that’s hard to avoid for a script moving at such a break-neck speed. But if we knew more about James going into this baseball game, the tension would be much higher, and we would understand why running away from him is so important. As it is now, it feels like a late addition to a story that had its mind in other places.
Most of the rest of the Twilight ending feels equally rushed and confused. The real heart of Twilight, the evolution of Bella and Edward’s relationship. But it is jettisoned by a shoehorned series of action sequences and a rushed confrontation between Bella and her dad (which, like James, seems to be pretty unmotivated).
But the film ends back in its comfort zone: Bella and Edward one-upping each other with big, melodramatic professions of love. That’s the stuff that made audiences come back for more.
Read and download more scripts
Highschool drama, romance, and vampires: the Twilight movie script delivered goods. If you want to continue reading screenplays, we have similar titles like Frozen, Casablanca, and Back to the Future in our screenplay database. Browse and download PDFs for all of our scripts as you read, write and practice your craft to become the next great screenwriter.