*Warning, contains spoilers for seasons 1-6 of the show*
Middle school and early highschool for me were characterized by anti-socialness, an emo phase, a My Chemical Romance jacket from Hot Topic that I wore to school every day, and finally, my love of supernatural teen tv shows, particularly “Teen Wolf.”
What started as a love of the book series “The Maze Runner” morphed into a love of Dylan O’Brien before further morphing into a love of “Teen Wolf”, which starred Dylan O’Brien along with Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, and Holland Roden. To say that I was able to watch the entire first season in one day would not be an exaggeration. Naturally, when the “Teen Wolf Movie” was announced in September of 2021, set to take place 10 years after season 6 left off, I was ecstatic. The nostalgia set in and many of my friends and I began planning a watch party for when the movie eventually came out.
While many fans were initially excited about the release of the movie, some things began to diminish that enthusiasm. For one, Dylan O’Brien was said to have turned down the reprisal of his character Stiles Stilinski, a fan favorite character of the original show. Many people were upset by this, as Stiles is an integral part of the show and is generally favored over many of the other characters. There were several other characters who did not return for the reunion movie. One of them being Arden Cho, who turned down the role as she was offered less money than the other female leads of the show. This upset many people as Jeff Davis (the executive producer) has been known to treat POC characters badly, such as when he wrote Kira out of season six without informing Arden. Another actor that failed to return to the movie was Cody Christian, who played Theo in the later seasons of the show. I was a fan of Theo and his relationship with Liam (played by Dylan Sprayberry), so I was sad that he wouldn’t be in the movie.
Despite the fact that these important characters wouldn’t be returning, the majority of the characters would be. As a true “Teen Wolf” fan, I wasn’t going to write-off the movie simply because some of the main characters were missing. With most of the members of the main cast sharing that they would be in the movie, I maintained my excitement that it was happening at all. One thing that got people buzzing about the movie was the announced return of Crystal Reed. Crystal played Allison Argent, a main character and love interest for Scott McCall from seasons 1-3. Crystal left the show after season three due to feeling too old to be playing a high school student. This resulted in her character being killed off in a heartbreaking end to season three. Due to the fact that the movie takes place 10 years after the end of the show, Allison would have been dead for approximately 15 years at the start of the movie. This then begs the question, will they be resurrecting her, or will she be a hallucination or another character in disguise?
This resulted in mixed reactions from the fanbase, and for me as well. While Allison was never my favorite character, I was excited to see her return, but only if it was done correctly. Many people thought that resurrecting Allison this many years after her death would cheapen the emotional impact it had when it originally aired. Additionally, resurrecting her but not characters such as Aiden (one of the alpha twins of season three) could potentially leave plot holes. There was also the question of how this would impact the pack dynamic as she was Lydia’s best friend and also the first love of Scott’s, whereas season 6 ended with Scott dating Malia (played by Shelly Hennig). Regardless of the potential ramifications of her resurrection, I eagerly awaited the trailer for the first look at what was to come.
Another aspect of the movie that spurred rumors and questions from the fanbase was that Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin) had a teenage son in the movie. The “Teen Wolf” timeline has always been a little hazy, but giving Derek a son meant he would have had to have him very young (approximately around the time that Allison died), meaning that there are some plot-holes surrounding who the mother could be and when he actually had the child (did he know about it?). Derek’s rocky relationship history throughout the show included Kate Argent (a homicidal werewolf hunter who took advantage of him when he was a teenager and burned his family alive), Jennifer Blake (an evil druid and one of the antagonists of season three), and Braeden (a mercenary). Therefore, fans were eager to know who the mom was, and hopeful Jeff Davis wouldn’t traumatize Derek’s character anymore by giving him a kid with either Kate or Jennifer.
The final concern over the creation of the new movie was the introduction of Hikari, a new kitsune character who wasn’t in the original show. Fans were worried that Hikari was only introduced to replace Kira when Arden Cho decided not to reprise her role. Jeff Davis assured fans that Hikari was already written into the show and was planned beforehand, but some people still remained skeptical.
When the trailer dropped, several things became obvious. For one, several clips of the trailer showed the Oni, which were a large part of season 3B, which remains to be the most popular season of “Teen Wolf.” Season 3B featured the villains of the Oni and the Nogitsune, where the Nogitsune was a dark trickster spirit who terrorized the pack as well as possessing Stiles Stilinski, thus creating the iconic villain of Void Stiles. Re-using the Nogitsune made sense for the movie, as this was the most popular villain from the most popular season. However, season three was very focused on Stiles and Kira, as Dylan O’Brien showcased his range as Void Stiles while the Oni and the Nogitsune were an important part of Kira’s backstory. Therefore, using this story line seemed like an odd choice with neither O’Brien or Cho returning. Additionally, this spurred on rumors that Allison could be resurrected as Void Allison, a pawn in the Nogitsune’s game.
Regardless of fan theories or the trailer, I went into this movie with no expectations, just hoping to relish in the nostalgia of my favorite tv series back from the dead, as well as the joy of seeing all my favorite characters from my early teenage years sharing the screen once again. The movie, nearly two and a half hours long, paid homage to the original show but also had some issues that made it slightly lackluster when compared to the original series.
It’s difficult to compare a movie to a series, as a movie has two hours to tell a story while a season of a show has well over ten. Therefore, some of the scenes and stories feeling rushed is completely understandable as the actors, writers, and producers are working within a much smaller time constraint as far as what they can fit on the screen. However, there were still some aspects of the movie that I can’t excuse for the lack of time.
For one, resurrecting Allison meant that the plot was very Scott-Allison centric. Scallison, a major ship of seasons 1-3, is a fan favorite so it makes sense that the movie would focus on this with Allisons return. However, the way it was executed meant that many of the other characters were not given adequate screen-time despite being part of the main cast in the original show. It also means that some of the characters were there simply to support Scott as opposed to having their own agency and background. For one, the movie starts off with Liam and Hikari in Japan. What they were doing in Japan is something we never learn. Additionally, Hikari is supposed to be her own character, however she has very few lines, only appears in order to help Scott, and is given no backstory or even line about how she was introduced into the pack despite seeming to know everyone. She is generally seen on screen with Liam, hinting that they have some type of close relationship (either platonic or romantic), yet this is never explained or explored. This doesn’t help the accusation that Hikari is simply a replacement for Kira.
Another issue I had with the movie comes from the lack of different pairings portrayed. For one, Mason (played by Khylin Rambo) and Liam were best friends in the original show, serving as a parallel to Stiles and Scott in the later seasons. Despite this dynamic, Mason and Liam essentially have no interactions throughout the movie, and seem more like supporting background characters instead of the main characters that they are. Important reunion moments between Lydia and Allison or Allison and her father Chris Argent also seem to be second priority to her reunion with Scott, despite the fact that Allison’s father and best friend were equally if not more impacted by her death.
One of the only other on-screen couples is between Malia and Jordan Parrish (portrayed by Ryan Kelly). These two had little to no interaction in the original series, and Jordan was actually a minor love interest for Lydia at one point. The fact that the romance between Malia and Scott is abandoned (for reasons unknown) and Malia is then thrown with Jordan seems like a pair-your-spares trope. However, I will say that Malia and Jordan could be cute together if there were more background on how they got together. The final couple that is mentioned is between Jackson and Ethan (with Ethan being the other half of the alpha twins). Jackson and Ethan became a couple in season six of the tv show, and they are said to still be together when the movie takes place. However, aside from one line from Jackson the couple is not mentioned at all, which is disappointing considering that Ethans twin brother Aiden dies in season three in the same way that Allison does and therefore should have more of a stake in the story. This combined with the fact that Mason, the other LGBTQ character on the show, does not have a partner in the movie means that there is little LGBTQ representation in the movie.
Aside from Scott and Allison, the only other relationship that gets a spotlight in the show is the relationship between Derek and his son Eli. I really enjoyed getting to see Derek as a dad, especially since he has always been a standoffish character with a secret soft-side and a desire to protect those he loves. That protective nature was definitely emphasized in the movie, which was nice to see as Derek is another fan favorite character. Eli has plenty of screen-time with his dad as well as with Scott, yet he has surprisingly little with Malia and Peter Hale (Ian Bohen), who are his blood-related relatives in the show. A Hale family dynamic would have been nice to see in the movie, yet it seems to be sidelined by Eli essentially taking after Scott while having a similar personality to Stiles. Another question that the movie didn’t answer was the identity of Eli’s mom, which remains a mystery with no hints as to who she could be.
One thing that I did enjoy about the movie is that it pays homage to the original show. We get to see many parallel scenes between the movie and the show, which helps to bring back the nostalgia that I was hoping for when I watched it. While some of the lines were cheesy and some of the plot points were confusing, I wouldn’t necessarily say the movie was bad. Issues surrounding a lack of different pairings shown on screen could probably be resolved with more time, but I wish Jeff Davis could have given more background and shown more of the returning characters as opposed to just giving Scott and Allison center stage.
My feelings on how Allison’s return was handled and the ending of the movie are conflicted, but I’ll allow other people to form their own opinions. I will say that Paramount+ has two more “Teen Wolf ” movies planned assuming that this one does well, so it’s wholly possible that some of my unanswered questions will be addressed later on. Overall, I think that the movie is worth a watch based on nostalgia and a love of the characters, but don’t set your expectations too high and just enjoy it for what it is.