NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The werewolf will not morph.
After much speculation and consternation among online fans of the hit vampire romance "Twilight," Taylor Lautner will return as the werewolf Jacob Black in the sequel "New Moon," producer Summit Entertainment and director Chris Weitz said Wednesday.
The character has a relatively minor role in the first picture but a significantly larger one in the second, as he develops a romantic relationship with female protagonist Bella (Kristen Stewart).
With the Jacob character looking older and bulkier in "New Moon" as he goes through physiological changes, there had been reports that Lautner may be replaced. The actor was said to be gaining weight as part of his bid to keep the part.
Coincidentally, Robert Pattinson himself also faced some backlash from the fan community when he was first brought on to play Edward, with some saying he was actually too bulky for the part.
Still, it's unclear how big Lautner's role will be in the new movie, which is being fast-tracked to come out in November. While the role of Edward is considerably smaller in the "New Moon" novel, the script is expected to boost his role to allow for more screentime for Pattinson, who is seen as key to the success of "Twilight."
Weitz, who came on to direct the second picture last month after Summit and "Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke could not reach an agreement, acknowledged the size issue but said Lautner was ultimately the best choice.
"The characters in (author) Stephenie (Meyer)'s books go through extraordinary changes of circumstance and also appearance; so it is not surprising that there has been speculation about whether the same actor would portray a character who changes in so many surprising ways throughout the series," Weitz wrote in a letter posted on Meyer's website. "But it was my first instinct that Taylor was, is, and should be Jacob."