ADAM B. VARY: Last year, I guided my colleague Dan Snierson through his very first experience with a wizard named Harry Potter — Dan had neither read J.K. Rowling’s books nor seen any of the movies, and we both wanted to see what would happen when a Potter newbie watched the final Potter movie. He had fun, I had fun, and I daresay at least four or five readers of our subsequent conversation about the experience had fun too.
And now it would seem the wand is in the other hand, or the the promise ring is on the other finger, or something. Because as I write these words, the final feature film in The Twilight Saga is nigh upon us, but this time, I’m the one who has never read any of Stephenie Meyer’s books nor seen any of the feature films. As I gear up to become the pop-culture guinea pig and see Breaking Dawn — Part 2 with only the second-hand knowledge I’ve absorbed walking the halls of EW, you, Denise Warner, have bravely agreed to escort me through all the vampiric romance and Taylor Lautner shirtlessness. I mean, there will be shirtlessness, right?
DENISE WARNER: You know, I can’t promise shirtlessness. I don’t remember Jacob — Lautner’s character, in case you don’t know — being shirtless in the second half of Breaking Dawn. But I can’t imagine Bill Condon and co. not taking advantage of his physique in some way. I mean, those abs! Regardless, I’m so excited to be your guide on this journey, Adam! From your days here at EW, what have you learned about The Twilight Saga? And what do you think it’s about?
ADAM: When the Twilight books first became a thing in the EW offices in the halcyon days of 2007 — before vampires colonized every corner of our fair nation — I shrugged them off as a teen romance with a mild blood sucking twist. (I personally prefer my teen romances to have a major blood sucking twist, like Angel and Buffy on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) By the time Twilight became a massive cinema phenomenon, well, I figured EW had given the franchise enough attention, and I could focus my energy on catching up on Mad Men and playing Red Dead Redemption. And then, at some point, it just became a point of pride that I’d avoided exposure to Twilight in any form.
But as you noted, one cannot work at Entertainment Weekly and not absorb at least some of The Twilight Saga. So here’s what I think I know: Edward (Robert Pattinson) and his vampire family (do these vampires have actual families?) move to the Pacific Northwest, presumably due to the region’s abundance of cloudy days. He meets Bella (Kristen Stewart) in high school — though I’m not sure why a presumably long-lived vampire is going to high school, but nevermind. They fall madly, desperately, world-shakingly in love. But then people don’t like it, or something, and Edward has to fight to protect Bella, or something. And then Edward leaves Bella because Bella gets a papercut, or something, and that’s when she discovers Jacob (Taylor Lautner), who’s a werewolf and often shirtless. Edward comes back because, well, I’m not sure why he comes back, but I gather it has something to do with Dakota Fanning being evil, or something. And then Edward and Bella get married, and they have sex that is so outstanding that it breaks their bed (I do recall that bit from one of the trailers). And then Bella gets pregnant with a demon vampire-human baby, or something, and when she gives birth, it’s so dangerous Edward has to make Bella into a vampire because otherwise she’ll die.
How’d I do?
DENISE: For someone who has only been exposed through work, you have an incredible grasp on the basic story. I would say you’re about 90 percent correct here. Do you want me to correct you before you see the movie? Or would you prefer to experience it thinking as you do?
ADAM: Well, it’s not like Entertainment Weekly has exactly avoided covering this franchise, so I guess I was bound to pick up some details. What I’m fuzziest on, though, is the actual, you know, plot — what other than the fact that these crazy kids are crazy for each other has made this franchise one of the biggest in recent Hollywood history? I guess there’s only one way to find out!
DENISE: Honestly — I don’t want to spoil too much because I want you to experience this as a Twilight virgin, like Edward and Bella on their wedding night — but there isn’t much plot beyond crazy kids are crazy for each other. Good luck, and I hope you don’t hate it!
Adam and Denise see the movie. Read EW film critic Owen Glieberman’s review here, and the rest of EW’s coverage of all things Twilight here. Naturally, there are SPOILERS throughout the rest of this conversation, which begins on the next page.