The Scream horror franchise has experienced a resurgence in recent years, with Melissa Barrera and Jenna Ortega leading the cast in a series of reboot films.
However, both actresses have now left the upcoming Scream VII, casting doubt on future plans.
According to Deadline, Ortega's departure is due to scheduling conflicts, and discussions about her exit reportedly took place before the recent American actors' union strike, which began in July.
The publication reports that Ortega will be too busy filming reshoots for the upcoming Beetlejuice sequel as well as season 2 of Wednesday, which is set to begin production in Ireland in April 2024 and will run into the summer.
In 2022's Scream (aka Scream V) and this year's Scream VI, Ortega played the character Tara Carpenter, the younger sister of Melissa Barrera's Sam Carpenter, as they find themselves hunted by a new incarnation of the terrifying Ghost face killer.
While Deadline may have reported that Ortega's departure from the Scream franchise is due to scheduling conflicts, fans of the film series are sceptical, believing it to be too coincidental that her exit was announced the day after her co-star Melissa Barrera was fired over social media posts on the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict.
Numerous fans took to X to express their doubts about the timing of Ortega's departure, with one commenting, "You really expect me to believe Jenna walking less than 24 hours after Melissa's firing is a coincidence, when she herself is also openly pro-Palestine?! GET REAL!!!"
Another fan added, "Her scheduling conflicts with Scream had been rumoured for months, so that's nothing new. But her leave officially being announced the day after Melissa Barrera is wrongly fired seems too timely to be a coincidence. They're not telling the full story."
Others questioned the sudden announcement, suggesting it as a cover-up for Ortega's decision to leave the franchise following Barrera's dismissal.
One fan commented, "I don't know about scheduling conflicts. Just sounds like a good cover for her deciding to drop out of the film the day after her friend and co-star Melissa Barrera was wrongfully fired."
Another fan sarcastically remarked, "They just happened to figure out the schedule the day after Melissa Barrera got fired. What a coincidence."
Amidst the speculation, one fan simply stated, "Scream is nothing without Jenna Ortega and Melissa Barrera."