Taylor Lautner fans can breathe a little easier today. "Twilight" author Stephenie Meyer confirmed Wednesday (January 7) that the actor will return as Jacob Black in "New Moon" On her Web site, Meyer posted a message from the sequel's director, Chris Weitz: "I'm very happy to announce that Taylor Lautner will be playing Jacob Black in 'New Moon' and that he's doing so with the enthusiastic support of Summit Entertainment, the producers, and Stephenie Meyer," Meyer quoted Weitz in the statement.
"The characters in Stephenie'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," the post continued. "But it was my first instinct that Taylor was, is, and should be Jacob, and that the books would be best served by the actor who is emotionally right for the part. I think that fans of 'Twilight' the book and the movie will be surprised by the Jacob Black that Taylor will bring to the screen in 'New Moon'; and I'm looking forward to working with him and the rest of the cast in realizing the film."
Meyer backed up the decision, saying she had a say in Lautner's continued involvement.
"My first priority was always what was best for 'New Moon' — what was going to give us the best possible movie," Meyer wrote. "I'm truly thrilled that Taylor was the one who proved to the director, to Summit, and to me that he is the best possible Jacob we could have. And I'm very much looking forward to seeing what he's going to bring to Jacob's character this year."
Speculation about Lautner's future with the franchise has run rampant since Weitz took the reins from original director Catherine Hardwicke. Many felt the 16-year-old actor would have a tough time filling Jacob Black's shoes, given that the shape-shifting character has a bit of a growth spurt in the second novel. Actor Michael Copon even publicly pushed for the role when doubt was cast over Lautner's involvement.