'Teen Wolf' Boss on Season 5's Rocky Friendships, New Villains: "Plenty of Bodies Drop"

Showrunner Jeff Davis tells THR that Tyler Hoechlin's departure is an "opportunity to refocus" the MTV series.
MTV
A still from 'Teen Wolf's' fifth season

Teen Wolf is bringing a new set of villains to season five, which means plenty of death is on the way when the MTV drama returns Monday.

When the MTV drama wrapped up season four, Scott (Tyler Posey) and his pals were doing battle with the Berserkers, leading him to even attack Kira (Arden Cho). Finally, with Liam's assistance, Scott broke free from their bones and learned to handle his Alpha powers without losing control. Meanwhile, Peter Hale (Ian Stuart Bohen) was headed to Eichen House, and the other teens were finally back at Beacon Hills.

With graduation looming for the gang, Teen Wolf showrunner Jeff Davis tells The Hollywood Reporter that this season will be a trying one for Scott and Stiles (Dylan O'Brien), who will experience "some of their rockiest moments" as friends. Part of this is due to the arrival of the show's newest baddies, the Dread Doctors. 

Davis also talked with THR about how Tyler Hoechlin's (Derek Hale) absence will change the season's focus, which new characters will cause problems for our heroes and how much longer the series is likely to last.

There appears to be a lot of change in store for the characters, especially with graduation nearing. How will this season differ from previous ones? 

First of all, this season will be 20 episodes, and [the 10th episode] we're plotting as a big cliffhanger for the season, so we're going to do some of our biggest cliffhangers yet. It's not going to be an easy season for Scott and his friends. One of the things we wanted to do most in this season was test their friendships in a way we've never done before, and actually test Scott's role as a leader. One of the themes of this season is failure of leadership, whether Scott can survive that. 

An opening scene from the premiere was released early, showing Lydia (Holland Roden) discovering her new powers at Eichen House. What can viewers expect from that storyline and from the premiere in general? 

They'll certainly be shocked at where Lydia has ended up in Eichen House and what she's going to face in the future. The events that have landed her in Eichen House are going to remain a mystery for a while, but the structure of this season might come as a surprise, as well as all the challenges that Scott is going to face. One thing I can say about that scene is, it's not in her head, and there is a reason she's seeing Aiden (Max Carver) standing before her. But what we're seeing is Lydia having mastered her powers, and much of that will be explained in the season coming. 

It sounds like this will be a much more physically demanding season for Holland. 

She's been fantastic. She's really taken to it, too. This is something she's so excited about. She has wanted to do these kinds of things, these kinds of stunts for a while. Lydia has a resolve in the season to learn how to fight. She's realized that she can't protect herself in quite the same way that Scott and the others can, and it gets to her. She decides that she needs to learn. 

What's in store for Scott and Stiles' friendship this season?

The new villains are going to cause a lot of conflict, so it's going to be hard for them. One of things we really wanted to do this season was really stretch their relationship, and we kind of consider it a kind of romance — a bromance. In all good romances, you have to have them break up at some point, so there may be the possibility of a breakup between Stiles and Scott. There are going to be a variety of factors. One thing about this season as well, it's also a season of secrets. People keeping things from each other far too often, so we're going to see how secrets and these minor betrayals get in the way of friendships, but these bad guys will definitely play a part of it as well. 

How do the Dread Doctors fit into the world, and how do they differ from the show's previous villains? 

Our new masked villains, they have their own new mythology. They're inspired by a variety of things from history, including German scientists from World War II and plague doctors [from the Middle Ages]. What I can say about them is, they are scientists who worship the supernatural, and they have very bad, nefarious plans for the town of Beacon Hills. They definitely have their own challenges. Whenever we try to create new villains, we want to make them as scary and as intriguing as the ones that came previously. And I like these characters quite a bit — we're having fun with them in the writers' room. 

Another new character joining the mix is Theo (Cody Christian). How soon will we learn what his connection is to Beacon Hills?

He definitely does have a mysterious past. We'll find out that the Alpha that bit him is someone connected to Scott and the others. He's got a history, and he's going to bring in a new dynamic to Scott's pack as he tries to win their friendship and their trust. [But] Stiles will definitely not trust him at first.

How will Tyler Hoechlin's departure affect this season, and how soon might we seen him pop back up in Beacon?

Any time an actor leaves the show, we definitely feel the loss. It's like being a parent and watching your kid go off to college. You miss them desperately, but you wish the best for them. We took Tyler Hoechlin's departure as an opportunity to refocus on the teens of Teen Wolf, and that's given us a tremendous amount of narrative freedom this season. I hope Derek comes back into the story at some point but at the moment can't say when.

There is talk that this season will up the gore factor. Was that a conscious decision? 

A bit, absolutely. I think more than gore, what we wanted to really concentrate on was making it scarier. We employ directors who love blood for some reason. [Laughs] We've really put our all into amping up the fear factor of the show. We're quite excited about the new characters, the new villains and scaring the living hell out of our viewers.

Does that mean there are big deaths on the horizon? 

I can say there's plenty of death in Teen Wolf — plenty of bodies drop this season in horrifying ways. This is certainly a season of dread. 

How many seasons do you see the show lasting after this one?

There's always talk of more. I always like to say, if the network is behind and if we still have stories to tell that get us excited, we'll probably go for it. 

Teen Wolf's fifth season premieres June 29 at 9 p.m. on MTV. The second part of the premiere airs June 30 at 9 p.m., followed by the series premiere of Scream.

Email: Ryan.Gajewski@THR.com
Twitter: @_RyanGajewski

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