The Twilight Film Versus the Book

Updated on June 13, 2018
Deborah Minter profile image

Deborah is a research enthusiast! She takes special interest in the world's ancient mysteries.

Forest in Forks.
Forest in Forks.

When an adaptation from a novel hits the big screen, one can expect changes or omissions from the storyline, even if the essential plot remains the same. I personally love the Twilight films, but there are many differences between the Twilight screen adaptations and the books. Movies of course make changes from the books that inspire them, because time and artistic licenses play a role in their creation. This article will mostly be focusing on the first installment of the Twilight Saga. The changes between the novel and the movie have sometimes caused plot controversies.

The Apple

Edward did not catch Bella’s apple. Edward’s extraordinary speed was described in the novel as one of the supernatural elements of vampires. In the movie Edward Cullen catches Bella’s apple in the cafeteria, this scene is like the novel when Edward caught Bella’s keys in the same second that Bella dropped them. In chapter 4 Edward uses his quick speed again to catch Bella’s books, when she realizes she dropped them she turns to find Edward holding them up to her. Why did Edward catch Bella’s apple in the movie? Pale hands holding up an apple is the image reminiscent of the front of the Twilight novel. Although there is no apple in the plot of the Twilight saga, Edward catching Bella’s apple in the movie, is a striking depiction of the book cover.

The Twilight book cover is an image of pale hands holding up an apple. Coincidentally Edward catches Bella's apple in the movie.
The Twilight book cover is an image of pale hands holding up an apple. Coincidentally Edward catches Bella's apple in the movie.

Edward had Long Hair

Edward Cullen had long hair. In the film Edward had untidy flowing short hair. The character of Edward Cullen in the novel had bronze-colored long hair. Apparently Robert Pattinson (actor starring Edward), appearance was better with trim hair. They tried to put long hair on Pattinson, but it apparently was not as favorable to his appearance.

The Cullen's Family Crest

The Cullen family is a coven of vampires. However there was no Cullen family Crest in the novel. In the movie, Alice and Rosalie are wearing necklaces with the family emblem. Edward is seen wearing the family crest on a wristband. There was no such crest described in the novel. It was an intriguing emblem, that was utilized in the film to emphasize the appearance of a coven, and that each member belonged to the Cullen vampire coven.

Edward is seen wearing the Cullen family crest on his wristband in the movie. The Cullen's are a coven of vampires, but there is no mention of a family symbol in the book.
Edward is seen wearing the Cullen family crest on his wristband in the movie. The Cullen's are a coven of vampires, but there is no mention of a family symbol in the book.

Bella: Internet Versus Book

Bella was searching for answers to the vampire legend. She was interested in researching vampires once she suspected what Edward was. In the novel she googled and surfed the internet looking for answers, more a less coming up empty handed. In the movie, Bella did browse the internet, but she actually purchased a book that mentioned the “cold ones.” This change may have caused a movie blooper, as she purchases the book before Edward rescues her from the aggressive men on the street. Edward and Bella have dinner spend the evening together, and the book mysteriously disappears, only to reappear when she resumes her research in her room later that night. Bella did not have a bag, so it has been pointed out by some fans, that it would have made sense for her to be carrying the book around. Bella could have had the book tucked in her jacket, but if she did not, this is a bonafide movie blooper.

Edward's Vigilante Years

In the novel Edward actually explains to Bella his dark history. That he wasn’t always a “vegetarian vampire,” and that he actually killed people. He also explains that he hunted down predators committing crime to satisfy his thirst for blood, feeling more comfortable targeting criminals rather than innocents. The conversation takes place during Bella’s visit to the Cullen mansion. In the movie there is no mention of this conversation or Edward’s past history. The most Edward says to Bella in the movie is, “I’ve killed people before,” which hints at it. In the novel Edward tells Bella his story to share his past with her, and explain to her what a dangerous creature he is and that he’s existence is essentially bad. In the film saga his vigilante years isn’t brought up until Breaking Dawn, when Edward has the conversation with her the night before their wedding. There is a slight plot change here, as originally he told her to warn her against entering into a relationship with him and in Breaking Dawn, Edward tells Bella to let her know who she is marrying.

Deer / Mountain Lion

In the novel Edward distinctly says his favorite is mountain lion. In the opening scene of the film, Edward is seen attacking a deer. The Cullen family does hunt deer, and Edward explains that Carlisle attacked a herd of deer when he was thirsty, discovering that animals substituted the desire to drink from humans. In the film Breaking Dawn, Bella is seen attacking a mountain lion. Not a big leap in the film from the book, but Edward’s preference is veiled in the movies.


Bella doesn’t see Jacob when Charlie gives her the red truck as a birthday present. In the book Bella meets Jacob for the first time after years at La Push Beach. The change in the movie was for timing purposes. The situation set up Jacob’s ability to refurbish old vehicles for New Moon.

Bella's Lullaby

Bella’s Lullaby is such an essential part in the novel of Edward and Bella’s love. Edward composed the piece the moment he realized he cared for Bella, naming it her lullaby in spite of believing entering into a relationship with her would only result in doomed tragedy. Edward plays the lullaby for her during her visit to the Cullen mansion, saying “You inspired this one.” He hums Bella to sleep with the lullaby, and hums it at times throughout the twilight saga. The film doesn’t exclude the lullaby altogether, the piece composed by Carter Burwell named “Bella’s Lullaby,” is included in the soundtrack. Edward is seen playing the piano in Twilight, but the movie never specifically mentions the lullaby.

Edward and Bella shared many things that could not be included in the movies, do to time, including Bella's lullaby.
Edward and Bella shared many things that could not be included in the movies, do to time, including Bella's lullaby.

Alice's Story

Alice’s story is never mentioned in the Twilight film. In the novel we hear about her history in more detail. As a human Alice was committed to an insane asylum because of her visions, and a vampire bit her in an act of mercy to save her from James. Alice’s past is retold in the novel when James has Bella cornered in the Ballet studio. It is brought out that James actually knew Alice, and was hunting her because as a human she was his singer, then Alice was transformed into a vampire. There is no mention of this in the movie.

Fight Scene

Fans enjoyed the fight scene in the movie between Edward and James. It made sense Edward would fight James, taking into account James harmed the one person that mattered the most to Edward. It was so much fun watching Alice tear James head off, and then the Cullen’s burn the pieces. Unfortunately, there was no fight scene in the novel. Whatever scuffle did take place between the Cullen’s and James, the reader was not privy to, because Bella was unconscious and she only heard Edward’s voice find her. The readers got to see this action scene in the movie.

Bella's Dream

Bella’s dream is an important part of the plot in Twilight. The Twilight novel mentions the Quileute legends and that the tribe is descended from wolves. Bella falls asleep to see Edward in the woods threatened by Jacob, and she actually sees Jacob turn into a wolf in the dream. The funny thing is Stephanie Meyers actually had no plans of including werewolves in the plot at this point. Never the less Bella’s dream describes Jacob turn into a wolf and try to protect Bella from Edward, Bella screams at the wolf not to hurt Edward, because she realizes she loves Edward. In the movie her dream was somewhat different, she had a dream of Edward as a vampire actually biting her, and the dream is kind of a dark imitation of a vampire painting. It is a creepy image because Bella is spooked by her vampire reading, and it is the only time we see Edward as a traditional vampire in the film. It is unfortunate the original dream wasn’t kept, considering how prophetic Bella’s dream was for the entire plot of the Twilight saga. The shadowing of the conflict between werewolves and vampires was there in Bella’s dream, all along.

All through the Twilight Saga changes were made to the big screen from the novels, but the essential plot remained the same.
All through the Twilight Saga changes were made to the big screen from the novels, but the essential plot remained the same.

Cited Sources:

The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide, Stephanie Meyer ISBN: 978-0-316-04312-0

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