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The Captivating Story Behind Twilight's Jacob Black

"Twilight," the popular vampire series by author Stephenie Meyer, continues to take the internet by storm. With the release of a new book in 2020, fans have been transported back to the universe of the Volturi, the Quileutes (which are a real Native American tribe), and a love triangle between a human, a vampire, and a wolf. The wolf of that triangle, Jacob Black, played a key role in the series, and even let Bella in on the Cullens' bloody secret.

Taylor Lautner, the actor who played Jacob in the film adaptions, brought the character to life. While there were scenes he regretted filming, the franchise became a jumping point for him in Hollywood. As Jacob, Lautner played a young lovesick teen to a mature individual that could phase into a wolf whenever he felt like it. Did he end up with Bella? No. But, he still ended up in the family.

While the films show the wolf fighting vampires and protecting Bella, there's much more to the character than what meets the blood-red eye. From Meyer's perspective of the character to how he became the third most important individual in the story, you're sure to learn something new about the youngest member of the Black family. Get ready, spider-monkey, as we share the story behind Jacob Black.

He has older twin sisters

Though it may seem like it, Jacob is not an only child. He has twin sisters, but they don't play a large role in the books. Rachel and Rebecca were about a year older than Bella, based on what she said in "Twilight." When reconnecting with Jacob after moving to Forks, Washington, she asked if his sisters were around. The young Black fills Bella, and the reader, in on what his sisters were up to since Bella had last seen them. 

"Rachel got a scholarship to Washington," he described. "Rebecca married a Samoan surfer — she lives in Hawaii now." His sisters are next mentioned in "Breaking Dawn." Rachel was home after graduating from college. His father Billy Black stated it had been quite a while since she had been home, noting that Jacob's sisters had trouble being in the house after the death of their mother. Rebecca hadn't come back since getting married. Jacob gave her some credit, sharing that "plane tickets from Hawaii were pretty pricey."

If Rachel hadn't come home, she may not have found her life partner. Paul Lahote, one of the other shape-shifters in the tribe, imprinted on her. Jacob saw this as a toss-up, as it meant she could be let in on the secret to his physical transformation, but that Paul would become his brother-in-law.

Jacob's life before becoming a shape-shifter

Before becoming a shape-shifting wolf, Jacob was dealt a difficult hand in life. His mother, Sarah, died when he was nine years old. Based on the information provided by Meyer in "The Official Illustrated Guide," her death was caused by a car accident while driving between Forks and the La Push reservation. The accident impacted everyone, though Jacob's sisters were able to become surrogate mothers for him, which allowed him to "recover better" than his siblings did. 

Like others in the tribe, he went to school on the reservation. He was friends with Quil Ateara V and Embry Call, who both phased as well. Before his time was filled with alpha duties or chasing vampires away from the treaty line, he spent much of it with his dad. "The Official Illustrated Guide" details that Billy started using a wheelchair due to complications from diabetes. This meant Jacob became his father's "legs." He enjoyed spending time with his father, especially because it was just the two of them when his sisters left home.

Until he joined the pack, the youngest Black wrote off the stories his father shared of "cold ones" and how their ancestors defeated them. He's described as having "stopped listening at an early age," not interested in learning the history of his people until he realized it was real and impacting his life.

He is the one that told Bella about vampires

Bella didn't figure out what the Cullens were on her own. Sure, she did some research and drew conclusions based on her limited interactions with Edward, but Jacob was the one that planted the seed. 

While visiting La Push beaches with friends in "Twilight," Bella flirted with Jacob to try and get information from him. He was more than willing, asking if she wanted to hear or liked scary stories. He goes on to explain that their legends contain stories about "cold ones." These people were present throughout their history, even dating back to the wolves they were descended from. 

Jacob described how his great-grandfather made a treaty with some cold ones, ensuring that they wouldn't walk on their land or harm humans. "The cold ones are traditionally our enemies," he said. "But this pack that came to our territory during my great-grandfather's time was different." This difference was their diet, as the Cullens considered themselves "vegetarians," consuming animal blood instead of human blood like their body craves. He told Bella that the cold ones then were the same cold ones in Forks now; it was the Cullens that originally asked for the treaty when they first lived in Forks. The young Black gave Bella all the information she needed to connect the dots.

He has a much larger role in the series than anticipated

Jacob is the one to thank for introducing Bella to the idea of vampires, but that was originally all he was supposed to do. On her website, Meyer has a "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" film question-and-answer page that gives information on how Jacob was developed. A fan asked what inspired her to make him Native American. In her answer, she described that she had already picked the setting of the book before writing the character. 

"I picked Forks first, and at that point in time the Jacob character didn't exist," Meyer answered. "Jacob developed really naturally from that research, as a solution to my 'how does Bella find out' dilemma." As she was writing, she realized Edward wouldn't outright tell Bella he was a vampire, so there needed to be another way for her protagonist to reach that conclusion. 

In another section of Meyer's website, which describes the story behind "New Moon," she discusses how the character grew. She describes him as her "favorite gift" that the book gave her. "[He was] a minor character developing such roundness and life that I couldn't keep him locked inside a tiny role." Her agent and editor agreed, commenting that they liked the character and wanted to see more of him in the story. She wrote "New Moon" while editing "Twilight," so as the realization came she was able to add Jacob into more parts of the first book. 

He was the fifth in the pack to phase

Despite being the descendent of the most recent alpha, Jacob was not the first wolf to shape-shift. That honor goes to Sam Uley, who had to go through the transformation alone with no clue about what was happening to him. As the first to phase, he became the alpha as others began to experience what he had. 

Jared Cameron was next to phase, becoming the second, with Paul phasing next and becoming the third behind the alpha, according to "The Official Illustrated Guide." One of his best friends, Embry, was the fourth to shift, while his other best friend Quil was the sixth. Jacob phased for the first time in between his two friends, making him the fifth wolf in the pack.

At any point in time, he could've claimed his rightful place as the alpha, since it should pass to him based on their ancestry. He does this in "Breaking Dawn," but instead of taking over the pack from Sam, he creates a new one. 

When readers meet Jacob in "Twilight," he was 15 years old. He stood at nearly 6 feet, making him pretty tall for his age. After his transformation, he was 6 feet 7 inches, according to "The Official Illustrated Guide." As a wolf, he had "rusty brown" hair, despite having black hair as a human. 

Jacob was willing to turn his back on the pack for Bella

During "Breaking Dawn," tensions are high. Bella's pregnancy threw everyone for a loop, including the Cullens. When it's decided that the pack has to kill Bella's baby, and potentially her, Jacob didn't agree. He tried to defy Sam's orders as alpha, but the pack dynamic makes that nearly impossible. Instead of fighting with the pack against the Cullens, he breaks away and forms his own.

"I know what you've decided, Sam," Jacob stated through the pack mind link. "But you don't decide for me, not anymore." At that moment, the wolf formed his own pack, creating an entirely separate entity from Sam's pack. As he ran to warn the Cullens of the attack that was sure to come, Seth Clearwater caught up with him, opting to follow Jacob instead of Sam. His sister, Leah, also joined Jacob's pack to watch her brother. 

The young Black turned his back on the pack that he knew, the pack he fought with against the Volturi and army of newborns in "Eclipse," all to try and protect Bella. He admitted to Seth that he felt it might be in vain, that he thought Bella would die regardless, but he did what he thought was right to protect someone he cared for. His decision ended up working in his favor, as after Renesmee was born and he imprinted on her, she was forever protected by the pack. 

He wanted to imprint to stop hurting

Even though he denies it during a conversation with Leah, Jacob wanted to imprint and went out of his way to. After Edward began to hear Renesmee's thoughts in the womb, Jacob felt truly alone. Bella's husband was the last person on his side in thinking that the baby was a monster, other than the pack, but that camaraderie broke when Edward became enchanted with his child and their thoughts. 

The vampire, reading Jacob's thoughts, gave him a set of car keys. The wolf drove to the Seattle-Tacoma area, Leah's words repeating through his head. "That would go away, you know, if you imprinted," she told him during their talk earlier that day. "You wouldn't have to hurt over her anymore." He was upset over what would happen to Bella but also continued to be hurt over never pursuing a romantic relationship with her. Imprinting would solve his problem. 

He picked the big city because he needed to see new women. He had already met everyone in La Push and Forks; the person he was meant to imprint with wasn't there, he thought. Jacob went to a park, full of crowds, and looked into the face of every woman he saw, hoping that he would imprint. Instead of noticing their unique features, he saw Bella's features in them. After a conversation with one of the women, he's convinced he won't imprint until he was over Bella.

Jacob believes imprinting on Bella's daughter was meant to happen

While his trip to Seattle didn't result in finding his soulmate, he did imprint when Bella gave birth. In a scene where Jacob arguably went too far, he imprinted on Renesmee as Bella was dying. He intended to kill the child, but instead, a "glowing" heat filled him. The wolf described the sensation as "all the lines that held me to my life were sliced apart in swift cuts." His universe was instead built on steel cables, all of which led back to Renesmee. 

Bella is less than enthusiastic with this revelation after her transformation. She is confused by his actions when she tried to meet her daughter for the first time. When the new vampire realized what happened, she is furious, calling him a "stupid mutt" and wanting to know why he did it, even though the action was involuntary. 

Jacob tried to reason with her, reminding her of how she said they were meant to be in each other's lives. "That was her, from the very beginning," he said. "We had to be together, even then." He is referring to how badly Bella needed him around during the pregnancy, saying it wasn't Bella that wanted him, it was Renesmee. The mother conceded for a moment, thinking "a tiny part of me was relieved to have the madness explained," but she quickly turned back to anger.

Stephenie Meyer was surprised at how people viewed Jacob

On her website, the author gave fans some bonus content she'd written for "New Moon." Scenes from Edward's perspective, like during the fateful phone call to the Swan house after Alice's vision, are included, but she also drafted a 16-page entry from Jacob's view. 

"I noticed a disturbing trend various places on-line," Meyer wrote. "People are ascribing the most nefarious motives to Jacob Black, insisting he has some kind of dark agenda." She concedes it may be her doing, that there had been a disconnect between herself and the reader regarding the wolf's intentions. To try and help with that, she includes a document called "Being Jacob Black," which gives the story through his eyes. 

The point of view starts with their meeting in "Twilight," talking through that he felt comfortable around Bella and thought they were "kindred spirits." As the writing moves through time, stopping at the end of "New Moon," readers find out that Jacob wanted to drive to Phoenix to check on Bella after the accident, that he thought the pack was a "cult" before he phased, and how his first transformation went. While he had passing crushes, Charlie's daughter was still the only girl on his mind.

It's also revealed he didn't begin to hate Edward until he left Bella in the woods. Until then, he thought the vampire was nice, though he was disappointed she had a boyfriend so quickly. 

Who the author had in mind to play Jacob

Like any author might do, Meyer had a few ideas of which actors she thought should play her characters. In a post on her website, the author described her ideal casting choices for each character, and even mentioned her favorite fan casts. While she goes more in-depth on the main characters, she does mention two actors she liked for Jacob.

The first name she suggests for Jacob is Tyler Posey. She wasn't wrong in thinking he would make a great werewolf. Posey went on to play Scott McCall in MTV's "Teen Wolf" for six seasons, phasing into a wolf in the first episode. 

The author's favorite fan cast for the youngest Black was Steven Strait. She noted he was a bit old for the role in "Twilight," but would be good for the "New Moon" movie after Jacob's transformation had happened. At the time, Strait was known for playing Warren Peace, the loner who could manipulate fire, in "Sky High." He isn't the only superhero alumni on Meyer's list either. Her favorite fan cast for Bella was Danielle Panabaker, who was Layla Williams, the girl who could control plants, alongside Strait. 

Lautner had to bulk up for New Moon

Lautner signed on to play Jacob with "Twilight." In that film, he wore a wig and matched the physical description of the young teen. However, with "New Moon" came the striking physical transformation of the character. The actor knew if he wanted to stay involved with the movies he needed to make a change. 

"The day I finished Twilight, I came home and started bulking up," Lautner told Interview Magazine in 2009. "I was in the gym five days a week, two hours a day." In trying to put on muscle for the role, he did have setbacks. He was working out too much at one point, causing him to lose the weight he had gained. "My trainer told me that I couldn't break a sweat, because I was burning more calories than I was putting on."

He notes that he struggled with consuming enough calories to balance his workouts. "At one point I had to shove as much food in my body as possible to pack on calories," he continues. "My trainer wanted me to do six meals a day and not go two hours without eating."

While rumors swirled that he would be replaced, the actor told MTV in 2009, "It really got blown into something in the media." He shares that director Chris Weitz was "extremely supportive" of him, even though he had to convince the team he could pull off the "new" Jacob.

There could be a Jacob-centric book on the horizon

With the release of "Midnight Sun" in 2020, fans of the franchise have wondered if more books are coming. In an online promotional event with Books-A-Million for the new book, Stephenie Meyer did share she had outlines for two more stories in the saga (via The Associated Press). Footage from her virtual book tour shared by a deleted user on Reddit details that Jacob and Renesmee would have a prominent role in the new stories, though it isn't an outright confirmation that the couple would have a book(s) dedicated to them.

A TikTok user started the rumor that the books would follow their relationship after Renesmee reaches her adult age and would be called "Moon Child." The user also included plot points, like that the book would take place in 2012, Renesmee would be able to turn into a bat, and Jacob would continue to turn into a wolf to stay the same age as Bella's daughter. While the videos went viral on the platform, with one boasting over 300K views, they are widely believed to be satire based on the comment sections. 

While the title and plot points can't be confirmed by Meyer herself, the author did announce in the virtual book tour footage that fans would get to see what she plotted, even if she never writes the books. "In the event that I don't make it [back to write them] ... I will at least give you bullet points."