Taylor Lautner, who played Jacob Black in Twilight, will return to the role for the sequel New Moon. For weeks it’s been rumored that he would be replaced, because although the 16-year-old fit the role perfectly in the first movie, the character undergoes major physical changes in the follow up. Director Chris Weitz announced the news in a statement posted on Twilight author Stephanie Meyer‘s website this week, saying: “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. 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. 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 added that Lautner is “emotionally right for the part” and has the movie studio’s full support.” Lautner has also been hitting the gym to pack on muscle before shooting begins on the sequel.