There's A Theory That Stu From 'Scream' Is Still Alive, And It's Not As Dumb As It Sounds

The Scream franchise has undoubtedly earned its place as the king of meta slasher horror. When the fandom reignited with the release of Scream (2022), fan theories have come back out of the woodwork, from the third killer theory to the (unlikely) idea that Dewey is actually an evil genius feigning innocence

Up until the January 2022 release of Scream 5, one particular theory took on new life thanks to none other than Matthew Lillard, who played Stu Macher in the first film. The actor theorized that Stu managed to survive his on-screen death in the first Scream film - but could that really be possible? Well, surprisingly, there’s some pretty compelling evidence that Stu could be out there…somewhere.

Fair warning, there are SPOILERS ahead for all films in the Scream franchise.

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  • Matthew Lillard Believes Stu Could Have Survived His Injuries
    Photo: Scream (1996) / Dimension Films

    Scream has long been known for its twists and turns, an ever-evolving chimera of a story that excels at defying expectations. Even the first film alone does an admirable job of keeping us guessing until the very end. You can’t fault Lillard for presenting the idea that Stu might still be kicking. In fact, he even took to Twitter saying, "I mean... it was just a TV? Right? You’d think he’d SURVIVE?”

    While the original Scream writer, Kevin Williamson, disagrees with this theory, instead claiming that Stu will only "live forever" in our hearts, there’s evidence of plans to bring Stu back in the sequels.

  • Lillard Appeared In The Background Of 'Scream 2'

    Lillard Appeared In The Background Of 'Scream 2'
    Photo: Scream 2 / Dimension Films

    A fun cameo Easter egg, or the subtle groundwork for a Stu return? Some fans insist that Matthew Lillard's brief background appearance in Scream 2 proves that the allegedly deceased character is watching over the events of the sequel. The moment is perhaps even a subtle passing of the torch, as the uncredited Lillard hugs Mickey (Timmothy Olyphant), who is later revealed to be Ghostface.

    It’s truly a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo, so it’s hard to say if this was an intentional clue or just fan service. Either way, it adds to the catalog of possible evidence that Stu is still alive.

  • 'Scream 2' Originally Ended With Another Ghostface Watching Sidney From The College Bell Tower

    'Scream 2' Originally Ended With Another Ghostface Watching Sidney From The College Bell Tower
    Photo: Scream 2 / Dimension Films

    For those who believe Stu survived the events of Scream, one potential ending for Scream 2 could serve as evidence of this, especially if Lillard's earlier appearance in the film was, in fact, Stu back from the dead. Originally, just before the credits rolled, the audience was intended to see a third, mysterious Ghostface watching Sidney from the college roof. Could this be Stu, biding his time until he can strike again, perhaps in the next installment of the Scream franchise?

    Scream 2 itself suffered from a lot of issues with script leaks, even leading to dummy scripts being written to try and protect the killer’s identity. With all the rewriting and swapping that went on, it’s hard to say what was actually planned and what wasn’t.

  • Reportedly, Stu Was Meant To Reemerge In 'Scream 3,' But The Idea Was Scrapped

    Reportedly, Stu Was Meant To Reemerge In 'Scream 3,' But The Idea Was Scrapped
    Photo: Scream 3 / Dimension Films

    Perhaps the most compelling piece of evidence that Stu was meant to survive (at least at some point) is his deleted Scream 3 role. While the film was released in 2000, it wasn’t until a 2010 interview that Lillard revealed the original plan for Scream 3: Stu would have been revealed as the mastermind behind the film's events, manipulating high school students from behind the bars of his prison cell. 

    Things changed, however, when the tragic Columbine High School shooting took place on April 20, 1999, while the film was being written. It was ultimately decided the plot should be altered in light of the tragedy, and Stu was written out. He was replaced with Roman Bridger, Sidney's illegitimate half brother and the actual mastermind behind all the previous killings in the franchise.

  • 'Scream 3' Might Still Hold The Key To Stu's Secret Survival

    'Scream 3' Might Still Hold The Key To Stu's Secret Survival
    Photo: Scream (1996) / Dimension Films

    Scream 3 presents an interesting angle to consider, as the film reveals that its killer, Roman, is actually responsible for orchestrating the original killings in Scream and Scream 2. Roman  shows Billy the footage of Billy’s father with Maureen, toppling the first domino in the string of murders that take place in Woodsboro and Sidney’s college. 

    Given Roman's "mastermind" status, it’s not hard to imagine that he had perhaps been in Woodsboro the night of Stu’s party, disguised himself as a medic or a police officer, and carried an injured Stu away to safety where he could heal from his wounds and plan his revenge.

    But would Stu literally spend decades planning another string of killings? Perhaps not, though it is clear from his exuberance in Scream that Stu enjoys the hunt and kills for fun. A character like this may very well leap at the chance to have some bloody fun again.

  • Matthew Lillard Does, In Fact, Return For The Fifth 'Scream' Film

    Matthew Lillard Does, In Fact, Return For The Fifth 'Scream' Film
    Photo: Scream (2022) / Paramount Pictures

    Despite Stu not appearing in Scream (2022), Matthew Lillard makes several cameos. He joins several of the original cast members, including Drew Barrymore and Jamie Kennedy, for a touching voice-over tribute to the late Wes Craven when the film's characters toast their slain friend, also named Wes, during the party near the end of the movie. 

    Lillard also provides the voice of an unseen guest who says, "Cool house, Freeman!" Filmmaker Tyler Gillett explained that he and co-director Matt Bettinelli-Olpin included the dialogue as a meta joke, since the party scene takes place in Stu's old house.

    But perhaps the most exciting cameo for Stu-heads is Lillard's voicing of Ghostface in the in-universe horror movie, Stab 8. He plays the flamethrower killer who exclaims, "This sh*t is lit!" Maybe this is merely a fun way of putting Lillard behind the mask once again - or maybe it's a clue for what’s to come in Scream 6.