As she wrote on her website: "Jacob was my first experience with a character taking over – a minor character developing such roundness and life that I couldn't keep him locked inside a tiny role. ... Even when Jacob only appeared in Chapter 6 of Twilight, he was so alive. I liked him. More than I should for such a small part."
Still, the werewolf has been the underdog from the start, even if Bella would have to make the sacrifice of becoming a vampire herself to stay with Edward.
"I became Team Jacob in early 2007, and back then, it wasn't as easy to find a fellow Jacobian," says Kat Johnson, 39, of Phoenix, who oversees the almost month-old QuileuteWolfPack.com. "When we did find each other, we clung to one another for support, steadfast in the belief that Jacob is a better and healthier choice for Bella. There is a satisfaction that comes from rooting for the character who is up against all odds, for his victory is that much sweeter."
Adding to that feeling is how Lautner was almost dropped from the New Moon cast because Weitz, who took over for Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke, didn't think he could fill out Jacob's superhuman dimensions.
"When Taylor was first cast, there were a few who wondered whether he would deliver," Johnson says. But, in the end, "he convinced us he could be the Jacob we grew to love from the book."
So much so that there was outrage when it appeared he might be replaced in New Moon. Instead, Lautner locked himself in the gym and proved his worthiness. "He completely became Jacob in that his discipline and persistence was so like Jacob."
Ultimately, the love triangle is about more than picking a team. It's about the need for a young girl to check out what else is available before she settles down.
"For me, as an adult, it would not be believable if Bella fell in love with one guy and devoted her entire eternity to him by giving up her humanity," says Lori Joffs, 35, from the Nashville area and creator of Twilight Lexicon. "It's better if she has another option and can see what a future with Jacob would be like. That way she would know she couldn't live without Edward."
Screenwriter Rosenberg agrees. "It's not just about which boy do I want. It's a lifestyle choice. With Jacob, you'd have an earthbound life, a normal life in some ways with family and children. Edward represents the ethereal, fantastical life. That makes for a strong triangle. Frankly, just choosing which boy or girl you want is a little shallow.
"For Bella, it's a matter of life or death. Literally."