Twilight fans the world over know actress Kristen Stewart as the fictional character of Isabella (Swan) Cullen, who marries the vampire, Edward Cullen, in the Twilight movie saga.

In the movie, Stewart plays Bella Swan, who becomes infatuated with Edward Cullen, played by Robert Pattinson, who she later discovers is a vampire. The series includes the movies “Twilight,” “New Moon,” “Eclipse” and “Breaking Dawn,” based on the vampire books written by Stephenie Meyer. The films have been cheered by fans worldwide, while critics and reviewers have derided the movies.

The first film, “Twilight,” introduces us to 17-year-old Bella Swan, who goes to live with her father in Forks, WA. She meets the mysterious Edward Cullen at school and soon discovers that he’s a member of a vampire family living quietly in the area. Edward returns her interest and the two begin a relationship after he saves her life. Edward finds himself irresistibly drawn to the scent of her blood, and he tries to warn her against being with him. Eventually Edward’s entire family turns out to save her when she comes under attack by a vampire from a rival family.

In “New Moon,” the second in the series, Edward, concerned for Bella’s safety, convinces her he doesn’t care for her any longer. He and his vampire family move away, leaving Bella to pine for her lost love. She becomes a thrill seeker when she discovers she can hear Edward’s voice when she’s in danger. She persuades her Native American friend, Jacob Black, to repair a motorcycle and teach her how to ride it. During the repair process, it’s revealed that Jacob has romantic feelings for her, and that he’s also a member of a shape shifting family that turns into wolves to protect the human world from vampires.

Bella nearly drowns during a cliff dive and Edward is mistakenly informed that she committed suicide. Edward feels he can’t live without Bella and approaches the vampire elders, the Volturi, to have them destroy him. The Volturi want to kill Bella, as she knows about vampires. She’s considered a threat to the entire vampire world, due to her innate ability to shield herself and those around her from the mind control of the vampires. They decree that if Bella doesn’t soon become a vampire, they’ll kill her. Edward agrees to transform her himself, if she’ll marry him.

In “Eclipse,” Edward voices his reluctance to turn Bella into a “soulless creature” that can’t enter heaven. Bella agrees to marry Edward, if he’ll make love to her while she’s still human. Meanwhile, a vampire who appeared in the first movie, Victoria, is building a vampire army to gain revenge for the death of her lover at the hands of the Cullen family. To fight Victoria’s threat, the vampires and the Native American shape-shifting wolves, of which Jacob is a member, agree to a truce.

“Breaking Dawn,” the most recent film in the series, finds Bella marrying Edward. They consummate their marriage and Bella soon learns she’s pregnant. Bella has a difficult pregnancy and Edward urges her to have an abortion, but relents when he finds that he can hear the thoughts of the unborn child and how much she loves Bella. The heroine nearly dies in childbirth and Edward makes her a vampire to save her life. During her transformation, Jacob the shape shifter involuntarily imprints on his soul mate, Bella and Edward’s new daughter, Renesmee Cullen. Mistaking Renesmee as an immortal child, a forbidden creature in the vampire world, the Volturi arrive to punish the Cullen family with utter annihilation. The new parents successfully convince the Volturi that Renesmee is no threat. The Volturi depart, leaving Bella and Edward Cullen to live in peace with their new baby.

In the beginning of the series, Bella Swan is portrayed as a wide-eyed innocent who is somewhat clumsy and prone to getting herself into scrapes. By the end of “Breaking Dawn,” the now Bella Cullen has matured into a graceful young woman, made even more alluring by virtue of being a vampire. Critics continue to pan the series, but box office receipts amply demonstrate that fans can’t get enough of their favorite modern vampire family.