'Breaking Dawn - Part 2' wraps franchise with expanded cast of characters

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TORONTO - The thing about vampires is they live forever.

And so now that the blockbuster "Twilight" saga has unleashed its sprawling finale, it's only fitting that speculation runs rampant that a spinoff could keep the franchise undead for a little while longer.

Vampire-playing castmates Daniel Cudmore and Charlie Bewley sure don't mind stirring up rumours with their own suggestions of life after "Breaking Dawn — Part 2," and not surprisingly it involves more adventures for their mysterious side characters.

"You do wonder what will happen once this is all said and done," says Bewley, who plays Demetri, a member of an ancient ruling clan known as the Volturi.

"(There are) lots of willing people ready to start new subsidiaries of this saga so that's just down to Lionsgate/Summit, (author) Stephenie Meyer and whoever's in the reckoning."

Last weekend's blockbuster debut came with whispers of possible ways for the supernatural series to live on — screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg stirred the pot last month with a Facebook poll asking which vampire clan should get a spinoff and stars Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner each said they'd be open to a followup. Meyer, meanwhile, has reportedly said she's got plenty of story ideas but dismissed notions anything solid is in the works.

There's no question that an off-shoot could flesh out a supernatural world that expanded greatly in "Breaking Dawn — Part 2," a chapter that introduces dozens of new vampire characters and several young werewolves.

The story, however, centres on lovestruck teen Bella Swan, played by Kristen Stewart, and her new life as a powerful vampire. Here, she's settling into domestic life with her century-old sire and husband Edward Cullen, played by Pattinson, and their magical half-vampire daughter, Renesmee.

Trouble emerges when the Volturi clan learn of the unusual family and deem the existence of Renesmee a violation of vampire law. The dispute draws the attention of vampires around the world, who gather together for a climactic showdown.

"This last movie ties up all the subjects that were aired in the first one," says Bewley, seated alongside Cudmore for a round of interviews during a recent visit to Toronto.

"(Bella's) arc as the main character in this saga, it takes a whole new twist now.... We've also got these new vampires, coming from all stretches of the globe and coming together so you really get a sense of this expanded 'Twilight' universe, which in itself brings out many questions. And then of course you have us, which is the best part of the movie," he smirks.

Bewley's menacing Demetri and Cudmore's intimidating Felix appeared in each of the past three "Twilight" films — "New Moon," "Eclipse" and "Breaking Dawn — Part 1" — but relatively little of their backstories from Meyer's book series made it onto the big screen.

Cudmore admits that has been frustrating.

"It's tough to have a character that you really, really enjoy and has so much to him but you never really get to fully explore. It's kind of almost stifling sometimes," says Cudmore, a Vancouver native whose other credits include the super strong Colossus in "X-Men 2: X-Men United" and "X-Men 3: The Last Stand."

"The Volturi have so much material that can be brought to light.... I think they need to be shown to their true potential."

Bewley says the latest chapter offers a deeper look at those side characters and showcases the detailed universe that generally takes a backseat to the main love story of Bella and Edward.

"You do really sort of feel there is this massive unknown world that now has been brought to life," says Bewley, whose post-"Twilight" projects include the Viking film "Hammer of the Gods."

"We just start to see in this movie how as a collective the Volturi operate. And how dangerous and effective (they) are.... For us (there's) a sense of excitement, anticipation that our work is finally coming to the screen."

Fan fervour certainly hasn't appeared to wane with the conclusion, either. "Breaking Dawn — Part 2" pulled in $141 million in its opening weekend, including $9.3 million in Canada.

Cudmore says being part of the massive franchise has allowed him to pursue more ambitious roles and meet with more industry players.

His future projects include the indie film "The Baytown Outlaws," where he stars alongside Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Wesley and Eva Longoria.

"It's opened up doors, it's fast-forwarded some things. It's not like all of a sudden we do these films and we've got major Hollywood producers and directors knocking down your door and making you want to be the number 1 in their next film," he says.

"You still have to prove yourself with every job and show that you can do it."

Bewley says it is gratifying to see the fifth "Twilight" film being embraced by solid critical reviews after earlier instalments took widespread beatings. But he acknowledges that the pop culture phenomenon will always have its detractors.

"It's not made for everyone," he says of the franchise, which started with a $37-million opener that grossed nearly $400 million worldwide.

"Critics can argue if they want, it was not made for the critics. It was made for the people who made the book series so cult and popular in the first place."

Organizations: Lionsgate/Summit, X-Men 2

Geographic location: TORONTO, New Moon, Vancouver Canada Hollywood

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