Twilight fans who declared themselves “Team Edward” or “Team Jacob” will have to rename their allegiance thanks to nearly 400 pages of bonus content released today from Twilight author Stephenie Meyer in honor of the hugely popular book’s 10th anniversary.
In the new anniversary material, Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, the gender roles of the series’ main characters are reversed, turning Edward into Edythe and Jacob into Julie.
“I wanted to do something fun for the 10th anniversary and the publisher wanted like a foreword and I thought, ‘Well, maybe something more interesting,'” Meyer said today on Good Morning America.
The new story is told through the eyes of Beau, the male equivalent of Twilight star Bella Swan, made famous by Kristen Stewart on the big screen.
It was the character of Bella who inspired Meyer to completely switch things up for the 10th anniversary of Twilight, a book that inspired a series of four books in all that have sold more than 150 million copies worldwide.
Meyer, an Arizona-based mom of three, said on GMA she was inspired by questions she has received from Twilight readers, wondering if the series paints Bella’s character as a “typical damsel in distress.”
“It’s always bothered me a little bit because anyone surrounded by superheroes is going to be…in distress. We don’t have the powers,” Meyer said. “I thought, ‘What if we switched it around a bit and see how a boy does,’ and, you know, it’s about the same.”
“The further you get in, the more it changes because the personalities get a little bit different, but it starts out very similar and really, it really is the same story because it’s just a love story and it doesn’t matter who’s the boy and who’s the girl, it still works out,” she said.
The 10th anniversary bonus material was supposed to be just “one or two” chapters, Meyer wrote in the book’s foreword, but turned into nearly 400 pages after Meyer says she found the re-imagining of the story “really fast and easy” to write.
“I wonder if it will change how people look at Bella a little bit, to see her as him,” Meyer, 41, said on GMA. “I do feel like it’s really very much the same thing so I guess my hope is that maybe the younger readers will be reintroduced because a lot of my readers, you know, they’re all 10 years older now and so there’s a whole new generation.”
Two Twilight characters who escape the gender swap in the new book are Charlie and Renee, the parents of Beau-Bella. Those two were not changed because, according to Meyer in the foreword, “I have a really hard time believing that any judge at that time (or even now) would give a child to a transient, unemployed father over a mother with a steady job and strong ties to her community.”
The 10th anniversary edition of Twilight is in bookstores today and the twist even extends to the book’s cover. The special edition features the cover of the first Twilight book on the front, while the back of the book reveals the special cover for for Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined.
Though Meyer’s original Twilight novel inspired sequels and five blockbuster movies, the author says she believes this will be the only time readers read about Beau.
“I think that this is just one version with Beau,” she said.
When asked if she had begun to imagine Twilight Reimagined as a movie, Meyer replied, “I don’t really see that happening and a lot of the people I’d put in it would be like Grace Kelly so it’s a little too late for some of my first choices.”