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The Volturi: Waiting In The Wings
With just a small amount of screen time, the looming threat of the Volturi, a venerable coven of eternal vampires who weigh and impose the laws of the vampire world, is felt throughout Part 1. Not seen since the end of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Michael Sheen, Jamie Campbell Bower, and Christopher Heyerdahl return to the series as the legendary rulers of Volturi: Aro, Caius, and Marcus. Charlie Bewley and Daniel Cudmore also return as Volturi enforcers Demetri and Felix.

Ali Faulkner plays Bianca, who brings the news that Carlisle has added a new member to his coven, and offers the audience a glimpse into Aro's true intentions. The Cullens now have something he wants.

The Denali Vampire Coven: The Vegetarian Cousins

At the beginning of the movie, the Cullen's vampire cousins from Alaska are introduced into the saga as guests at the wedding, where Bella meets them for the first time. MyAnna Buring, Casey LaBow and Maggie Grace portray the three blonde sisters of Russian descent Tanya, Kate, and Irina; while Christian Camargo and Mia Maestro play the siblings of Spanish origin, Eleazar and Carmen.

"Tanya came up with vegetarianism on her own, so when she and Carlisle met, they shared that compassion for the humans that most vampires don't,” comments Meyer. "Carmen and Eleazar joined the Denali coven as they were looking for a kinder, gentler way to live, and they found that with Tanya's family.”

It is a filmmaking challenge to incorporate such a large number of important incoming characters. "You have to do a certain amount of exposition, characters standing around explaining what the rules are and who people are,” admits Condon. "But Melissa and I were really intent on bringing that to a bare minimum in this movie. Really it's only scene that exists just to set up the second movie. That is the introduction of the Denali sisters, because they play an important part in the whole Renesmee story in Part 2.”

"Tanya is the head of the Denali clan - the big mama of the Denali, or the small mama in my case,” laughs the diminutive MyAnna Buring. "It's fantastic because, like her, I actually feel quite maternal towards my family. Tanya's a bit bossy as well, so it's perfect.”

"The Denali have an extensive history with the Cullens, because they're the only two vegetarian vampire families in the world,” adds Mia Maestro. "We're quite close with Edward, because he came to Alaska for some months when he left Forks. Especially one of my sisters, Tanya, she has a very specific relationship with him.”

Buring admits, "Tanya has held a flame for Edward for a long, long time. I think she felt a bit like Jacob felt about Bella… that Edward was really destined to be her mate. Of course, she's proven wrong. People expect Tanya to act quite badly at the wedding, but she's had quite a while to get used to the fact that Edward has found his true love in Bella. Tanya's lived so very long, that she's learned to be gracious… especially when it comes to true love.”

"But the wedding is difficult in a lot of ways. Despite her feelings for Edward, Tanya shows the Cullens her support, but her younger sister Irina is not able to be so gracious,” says Buring. "Irina had previously fallen in love with Laurent, the vampire killed by the wolf pack in New Moon. Irina wants to blame the Cullens. The rest of the Denali Clan understands that it wasn't the fault of Cullens. But nevertheless, Irina lost her mate, so the wolves showing up at the wedding is a bit of a tricky situation for them. Irina's under strict orders that she shouldn't cause a scene but, of course, if you lose your mate, sometimes you lose your head along with it.”

"In the film we get to see Irina at the reception, whereas in the novel we don't get to see her until the very end,” adds Meyer. "Since we have such a lovely person, Maggie Grace, playing her it's nice to get to see Irina dressed up at the wedding, where she's upset with having wolves at the party, which we didn't get in the book when she wasn't there. We have a little moment of family awkwardness, which is wedding appropriate.”

"Irina's a little bit upset that some people had been invited to the wedding and she storms off and leaves us,” adds Maestro.

Grace adds, "Irina had a really beautiful history with the Cullens, but since my lover was torn to little tiny pieces, there's a bit of bad blood now.”

The real familiar relationship between the three sisters was a fun thing for Grace to explore with co-stars MyAnna Buring and Casey LaBow. "Imagine how intimate a friendship would be after that long, and how well you would know and love someone, it would be pretty incredible,” says Grace.

"We only get a taste of the Denali Clan in this film, but they really make an impression with their screen time,” adds Condon. "They look amazing obviously, but more than that, they have a very intense little scene-within-a-scene in the middle of the wedding, which sows the seeds of the drama that unfolds in Part 2."

Casey LaBow, who plays Kate, enjoyed the smallest details of preparing for the wedding. "We all went through this fitting process with our costume designer Michael Wilkinson, who is just a genius. The Denali's have a very specific look as a family, so he got these beautiful dresses for all of us to wear. Everybody started talking about what do you want to do with your hair, how are we going to do your makeup… and it's a really wonderfully collaborative experience of getting into the character,” says LaBow.

Maestro, who describes her character's look as "Stevie Nicks gone vampire,” also loved the grandeur of the wedding's location. "The rain forest here is so beautiful, a really magical place,” says Maestro. "Our production designer found this beautiful spot to build the Cullen house, with the most beautiful trees and also this super green, almost fluorescent, moss that covers all the trees. We also have this beautiful emerald-colored river that you can hear when we're shooting. It's just a stunning location and the wedding's going to be beautiful. All the scenes there are going to look fantastic and shooting there was a big change for us, since the first part of the shoot in Louisiana was mainly inside a studio.”

Maestro was equally enthusiastic about her on-screen mate. "The wonderful Christian Camargo plays Eleazar and I couldn't have been any luckier to have him next to me in every scene in these two movies. He's such a wonderful, wonderful actor, a beautiful human being, and a wonderful cook. It's been a pleasure becoming good friends with Christian and his wife Juliette, who has also been here on location with us through parts of the 6-month shoot. Sometimes you do a film and you love everyone that you work with, but you go home with no new close friends. With this experience, it's nice to know that I have them with me, in my close group of friends. I'll forever be grateful to Bill for having cast Christian and me together.”

Camargo was attracted to the themes in the saga. "It has all sorts of different levels throughout. There are themes of loss, connections between mother and child, father and child, romantic love, and an older love, and how it works on such a humanitarian level as well. So many different things that so many people can relate to. Everyone's lost someone, been close to someone, been in love, fought for their child, had a baby,” says Camargo.

He was also pleased with Bill Condon's direction. "It's great having a director who is working with such a massive cast,

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