8 Things That Wouldn’t Exist Without Twilight

4 minute read

It’s been 10 years since Twilight was published. This might feel like forever ago for vampire fans, but the decade is a drop in the bucket for the always popular undead. The first book in Stephenie Meyers’ four-part saga hit bookstores on Oct. 6, 2005, eventually dominating bestseller lists with more than 100 million copies sold. But beyond the numbers, there’s no doubt Twilight has had a serious impact on pop culture. From tribute fiction to endless memes, here’s what would never have made it big without the help of the Cullen clan.

Fifty Shades of Grey

The Twilight saga famously inspired amateur writer and mother Erika Mitchell to publish fan fiction under the pen name E.L. James. Her sexy series has many similarities to the original: Set in Seattle, the mousy, nervous Anastasia Steele falls for a brooding, gorgeous man who can’t commit. The major difference? Just a little something called the Red Room of Pain. Fifty Shades went on to become a bestselling trilogy, with a follow-up called Grey selling more than 1 million copies in four days. The highly anticipated movie adaptation of the first novel hit $500 million at the box office, cementing the series as a true pop culture phenomenon.

“Back to December” by Taylor Swift

Jacob Lautner’s fame skyrocketed when he was cast as Jacob Black in the film version of Twilight, which debuted in 2008. But he hit the mainstream after he reportedly dated Swift until December (see what she did there?) in 2009 after the two appeared in the movie Valentine’s Day. Swift has never confirmed that the Speak Now track is about the Twilight star, but did admit it’s an apology “about a lesson [she] learned too late.”

Anna Kendrick

Long before she snagged an Oscar nomination for Up In The Air, the actress played Jessica Stanley, Bella Swan’s best friend in the Twilight films. She’s described as a “chatterbox” in the series and is even valedictorian of her graduating class in the film version of Eclipse. Kendrick is now the bonafide star of movies like Pitch Perfect, and known for her honest and hilarious Twitter feed as well as her chart-topping rendition of Cups.

A Heartbreaking Celebrity Breakup

Twilight fandom went into overdrive when it became clear that the romance between Twilight actors Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart might exist off-screen, too. But news about the couple reached a fever pitch in July 2012 after Stewart apologized publicly for having a fling with her Snow White and the Huntsman director Rupert Sanders. Fans were devastated, posting videos about the scandal.

See What the Cast of the 'Twilight' Films Looks Like Now

Left: Kirsten Stewart as Bella Swan in Twilight, 2008; Right: in 2015Summit; George Pimentel—WireImage/Getty Images
Left: Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen in Twilight: The New Moon, 2009; Right: in 2015Summit; Anna Webber—FilmMagic/Getty Images
Left: Taylor Lautner as Jacob Black in The Twilight Saga: The New Moon, 2009; Right: in 2015Summit; David Becker—Getty Images
Left: Anna Kendrick as Jessica in The Twilight Saga: The New Moon, 2009; Right: in 2015Summit; Sonia Recchia—Getty Images
Left: Cam Gigandet as James in Twilight, 2008; Right: in 2014Summit; JB Lacroix—WireImage/Getty Images
Left: Peter Facinelli as Dr. Carlisle Cullen in Twilight, 2008; Right: in 2015Summit; Dominique Charriau—WireImage/Getty Images
Left: Ashley Greene as Alice Cullen in The Twilight Saga: The New Moon, 2009; Right: in 2015Summit; Astrid Stawiarz—Getty Images
Left: Billy Burke as Charlie Swan in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 2010; Right: in 2015Summit; Axelle/Bauer—Getty Images
Left: Bryce Dallas Howard as Victoria in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 2010; Right: in 2015Summit; Amanda Edwards—Getty Images
Left: Kellan Lutz as Emmet Cullen in Twilight, 2008; Right: in 2015Summit; Gilbert Carrasquillo—FilmMagic/Getty Images
Left: Dakota Fanning as Jane in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, 2010; Right: in 2015Summit; Dominique Charriau—WireImage/Getty Images
Left: Elizabeth Reaser as Esme Cullen in Twilight, 2008; Right: in 2015Summit; Walter McBride—WireImage/Getty Images
Left: Jackson Rathbone as Jasper Hale in The Twilight Saga: The New Moon, 2009; Right: in 2015Summit; Chelsea Lauren—WireImage/Getty Images

Teens Biting Each Other

Yes, so teens learned to show their affection by biting each other. A 16-year-old named Michael Kapor told ABC News that he got an “adrenaline rush” from biting his girlfriend and that he knew others who did it to feel powerful.

“Resting B***h Face” Backlash

When the term “Resting B**ch Face,” entered pop culture, Kristen Stewart was often called out as a repeat offender. But she’s also been one of many women who fired back at the label. In September 2015, she told Elle UK that “the whole smiling thing is weird because I actually smile a lot.” I literally want to be like, ‘Dude, you would think I was cool if you got to know me.”

A Wealth of Bloody Entertainment

The series kicked off a fanged trend: An adaptation of the popular series True Blood premiered on HBO in 2008, while the young-adult saga The Vampire Diaries found its way to the CW in 2009. Dark Shadows, a film based on the 1966 soap opera, hit theaters in 2012, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the novel, hit shelves in 2010, with a movie following two years later. Beautiful Creatures had a similar trajectory: a novel in 2009, a movie in 2013. And the Vampire Academy series hit shelves in 2007 with a movie version released in 2014.

Saturday Night Live’s Biting Parody

This 2009 spoof on the series called Firelight stars Taylor Swift as the Bella-like character, Bill Hader as Edward and Fred Armisen as their teacher. Hader is a green monster, ahem Frankenstein, who is afraid of fire and tends to accidentally strangle people he likes.

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