6:10pm PT by Sydney Bucksbaum
'Teen Wolf' Creator Explains Series-Finale Ending: "This Story Isn't Over"
[This story contains spoilers from the series finale of MTV's Teen Wolf.]
Sunday's Teen Wolf series finale on MTV felt less like an ending and more like the beginning of a new chapter for Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) and his pack of friends.
After a season of fighting Gerard Argent (Michael Hogan) and Tamora Monroe's (Sibongile Mlambo) reign of fear against the supernatural in Beacon Hills, Scott, Stiles (Dylan O'Brien), Lydia (Holland Roden), Derek (Tyler Hoechlin), Malia (Shelley Hennig), Chris Argent (JR Bourne), Sheriff Noah Stilinski (Linden Ashby), Jackson (Colton Haynes), Ethan (Charlie Carver) and Peter Hale (Ian Bohen) won the battle for their town. Unfortunately, the war continued, as Monroe escaped alive to expand her agenda on a global scale.
The 100th and final episode of MTV's supernatural drama, while dealing mostly with the fight against the Anuk-Ite fear monster and saving Beacon Hills from all-out war, was bookended by scenes of Scott and Argent saving a young werewolf named Alec (Benjamin Wadsworth), a new character on the run from Monroe's hunters. Scott and Argent helped him get to safety and invited him to join the Beacon Hills pack to fight the thousands of new hunters that Monroe enlisted in her war to kill every single supernatural being. Instead of offering a satisfying conclusion to the story, Teen Wolf ended on a hopeful shot of Scott's pack welcoming Alec into their group.
Series creator and showrunner Jeff Davis spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about bringing MTV's first scripted drama to an end after six seasons, the surprising influences he used to write the finale, his disappointment over who he couldn't get to come back for the final episode and more.
Has it hit you that the series has come to an end?
It's a very strange thing. I've never written a series finale before. I've never said goodbye to a project like this. I've never had anything in my work life like this. It's hard to say goodbye, but [I'm] also getting ready for new challenges.
In writing your first series finale, what was the most important goal you needed to accomplish?
It was really to both pay homage to the series itself with clever callbacks and big moments for each character. But the most important thing was to tell a good Teen Wolf story, to make it a great Teen Wolf episode with action, with humor, with romance and to give each character their heroic moment. There was a scene when we watched it all together [at the cast and crew finale screening] that everybody cheered, a great scene with Sheriff Stilinski.
While a lot of the episode felt very final with the relationships between the characters, why did you want to leave the story open-ended?
I thought a lot about other series finales and certain ones that leave the audience gasping, wondering what happens next, like The Sopranos, or some where they send the whole cast to jail, like Seinfeld, and others, like Lost, where everybody is dead and they find each other in the afterlife. I thought about what kind of series finale fits this show best, and to me, it was, "And the adventure continues ..." That's what we wanted to go for. I want to know that Scott and his friends have many more stories to tell. This story isn't over. He goes off and fights many more battles, makes new friends, faces down new enemies. That felt right for the finale. And I was also able to get people like Tyler Hoechlin and Dylan O'Brien in that last shot as part of Scott's pack from day one onward. It's a testament to the show and how many people loved working on the show that everybody came back.
You introduced a new character, Alec, in the finale. With a new incarnation of Teen Wolf in development, first as a podcast before being rebooted altogether, does he have anything to do with those plans?
It's all just been talks so far. That character, that whole idea that bookends [the episode], that was something I came up with a long time ago. Tyler Posey actually pitched me, "I have an idea for the finale that I wake up in a motel room, and it's a year or two later, and it's me and Argent." I was like, "I love that idea." And we did that. But that character [of Alec], to me, represents the audience. There was no real thought of introducing a character to reboot the show. It was simply this kid, Alec, played by Ben Wadsworth, who is this outsider, a kid on the run, on his own, and Scott says to him, "If you feel like an outsider, if you feel alone, you can be one of us. You can be with us." That's the message of the show and the big message of this season, which was about fear, being a pariah.
Why did you want to continue the Teen Wolf brand immediately after the final season, instead of waiting a few years?
Part of that was [MTV president] Chris McCarthy's idea. He has a real love for the show. The previous regime wanted to sweep everything out and start fresh, but Chris wants to keep a good thing going. I'm hopefully going to be working with them on other projects. We have [a female-driven] War of the Worlds as a possibility, and we just handed the script in for that, so things could be good with me and MTV for a little while longer.
What kinds of stories do you want to continue from Teen Wolf, and why in podcast form?
I think there's plenty of spinoff ideas. I would love to see Jackson and Ethan in London as a podcast. (Laughs.) Have one eight-episode, maybe, podcast about an adventure they go through there. I could see any sort of spinoff within that world. If Hoechlin would be up for it, [I want to] follow [Derek in a podcast]. You know who would actually be great at it would be Daniel Sharman. If I could convince Daniel Sharman to reprise Isaac, because Daniel has done audiobook recordings, I bet he would be great at a podcast. And podcasts are amazing these days. I just listened to S-Town a little while ago, and it was riveting. I couldn't step out of my car because I had to finish it. So it's really fascinating to me how this very old-school storytelling device has come back in vogue. It's basically radio drama coming back to life.
There were so many amazing character returns in the finale, especially when the Anuk-Ite started taking on forms of Scott's biggest fears, like Void Stiles. Which character return was the hardest to pull off?
Hardest to pull off in terms of narrative, none of them. They all seemed to fit seamlessly back into the show. The hardest to pull off in terms of scheduling was definitely Dylan O'Brien. But he made it work, to his credit. He loves the role, and he said, "I want to be part of the finale. I want to be part of the last season. I'll make it work." The difficulty was, I actually had to write most of episode 20, the finale, before the scripts for episode 18 and 19 were even finished. (Laughs.) That's a challenge when you have one week with this actor before he flies off to do his movie.
With Dylan's limited availability, were there any plans to have Stiles and Derek's FBI hunt storyline expanded that you couldn't carry out?
I would have loved to have them both for more episodes, yeah. Hoechlin was great, and it was really nice to get Hoechlin in two episodes. When you don't have them locked down and you don't own their time, their schedules get crazy. My first and second ADs tear their hair out trying to get everyone to show up on set at the same time. And one actor I wish I could have had for another episode was Colton. In episode 19, he couldn't be in it. So we were only able to show Charlie Carver. I would have loved to have [Jackson and Ethan] together in that episode, too. Unfortunately, in the narrative, we had to split them up, but Colton was very busy working for Ryan Murphy. (Laughs.) I'm very happy for him.
Were there any character returns you wanted for the finale but couldn't get?
My biggest disappointment is, there were two people, and it was both a problem of scheduling. I would have loved to have Meagan Tandy as Braeden, and I would have loved to have Seth Gilliam as Deaton. I had actually started writing a whole plotline for Seth in the finale, and then we just couldn't get him because of his schedule with Walking Dead.
Are you able to reveal what his finale storyline would have been, if he could have shot it?
I would have wanted him to be a part of the figuring it out of it all and to give him a heroic moment, as well. Honestly, most important in the last episode was that Scott had a big story, that we bring it around back to the teen wolf. It's OK that we didn't have certain other characters because it started with Tyler Posey, and I love the fact that it ends with him.
There were several callbacks to the pilot and big moments throughout the series. What line or callback meant the most to you?
I loved when Gerard says, "Mountain ash," which is a callback to his screaming the words "mountain ash" in the finale of season two. I said to the director, Russell Mulcahy, "This time I want him to just whisper it." That was really fun and just like that finale of season two. Those little clever callbacks were so fun to do.
Lydia and Stiles each had fun reactions to finding out about Jackson and Ethan. What was important to you in getting that moment right?
It was hitting the humor of it, and it was also having [Jackson's ex] Lydia know. Having her thinking to herself, "This kid will be so much better when he figures it all out." And a little bit of it was, it's really nice to see Colton having come out in his real life and having it change him so much and become a different, better person. That scene was one of the easiest to write because I knew how I wanted to make people laugh.
In the final act of the finale, Kate (Jill Wagner), who was shot with fatal yellow wolfsbane, attacked Gerard after Argent left the room, but they both have survived so many near-death experiences before. Since their deaths weren't explicitly shown onscreen, what are their official fates by the end of the series?
(Laughs.) Who knows? Those two always have a way of coming back to life, don't they? I'll leave that question unanswered.
Fair enough. Was this the series ending you always had in mind back when the show first premiered, or has it changed over the course of 100 episodes?
It's definitely changed. I had this idea of Scott meeting this young werewolf back in season four. But to be honest, when we were doing season five, I thought 5:20 was going to be the last episode until the network came and said, "We want 20 more." So I'm glad we got to do it this way. This felt like a big goodbye and an epic story. I like the fact that it became worldwide as well. I'm really glad to have had the opportunity to finish off the series with that foreknowledge and to prepare for it. And I'm really happy that all these actors wanted to come back to roles that they hadn't played for a while.