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Teen Wolf is back, and it’s darker than ever.
In the Jan. 6 winter premiere, Scott (Tyler Posey) continues to have struggles finding his place as an Alpha. And as a result of bringing back power in Beacon Hills, Scott, Allison (Crystal Reed) and Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) start to experience side effects, with a new student (Arden Cho) possibly holding the key to their answers.
How did you approach season three, with it essentially being two seasons in one?
It was a very similar approach. With the 12 episodes, we try to craft it like a movie. Twelve breaks down into a very nice three-act structure. What we wanted to do this season was have a much clearer connection between the two sets of 12 episodes, which is why the sacrifices at the end of 3A have great repercussions for 3B. The next set of 12 also allows us to bring a new mythology.
Do you prefer having more episodes to play with? Was there a specific challenge in doubling the episode order?
The challenge is compressed time. You get less time to produce the episodes and less time to write them. It’s really the writing time; I always wish I had more time to write, so that was quite a challenge. We’ve never been so down to the wire as we have been this season with scripts. But that’s the thing about serialized television. It’s very difficult to write, because you want to make it exciting and action-packed and not destroy your budget on one episode. TV has such a demand for product that you have to be constantly churning out scripts. One of the better episodes last season, episode 10, I think it took me less than 10 days to write that. Sometimes you do it under pressure.
Now that you’ve had a chance to sit with these characters for several years now, who has changed the most from how you first conceived them?
It’s actually great pleasure to see all of them go through many changes. I think Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) is definitely [a character that’s changed the most]. He went from being a real bad guy in the first season to this season, where we’re really trying to craft him into a hero. It’s nice to be able to see him making that change.
Was that always part of the plan?
It wasn’t quite the plan. As a writer, it’s interesting to see actors who are bad guys become heroic, and vice versa. One of the things that surprised us most was Lydia. When we first started the pilot, we left it open to different interpretations on which road she would go down. I think she really surprised us, and a lot of that is due to Holland [Roden]. We just wanted to write more stuff for her. I’ve come to really cherish her character, especially this season now that she’s become Scott’s pack.
Teen Wolf has been headed toward darker territory as it has gone on. Was that an intentional move?
Yeah. I think it’s definitely gone darker this season because we’re delving into more of a psychological thriller story. I think it’s interesting because a lot of the episodes are also some of the funniest we’ve done. I watched cuts of episodes 13 and 16, and there are tons of laughs in it. Yes, we’ve gone darker, but maybe it’s that we’ve gone more adult.
Have you felt like you have a firm grasp on what Teen Wolf is, or is that an ongoing process?
I was talking to the writers about this, and it feels like the first season was Teen Wolf the movie, and these are sequels.
You’ve mentioned that this half of the season is much more psychological horror. What can we expect for the rest of the year?
This season we delve into the darker sides of Scott, Alison and Stiles, and the consequences of making that sacrifice at the end of 3A comes back to them. This is very much a season of consequences, and Scott will worry about whether he will become the monster Peter was, Alison may worry that she’ll become the hunter Kate was, and Stiles may have a darkness inside him as well — and may not be there for his friends, and may even hurt them.
Where does the core group stand at the moment, and where are they going?
At the moment their friendships are intact, but they are going to fracture in season 3B, and it’s not going to be good for Scott and Stiles’ friendship. It’s not going to be good for Scott and Isaac (Daniel Sharman), and it’s going to be especially complicated for Scott and Allison as they go down different paths of romance as they try to find new people.
Was there a character or arc you thought would have been received or would have connected better?
Erica (Gage Golightly) and Boyd (Sinqua Walls) — I can’t say that I feel like we gave their characters their due. I wish we had been able to play more with them and grow those characters, but one of the actors moved on, which is good for her career and totally respectable, but it did throw some of our plans out the door. I wish we had more to do with that. There’s all sorts of complaints and many, many regrets in each and every script. (Laughs) “I wish we had time for this or I wish we had more time for that.”
Has the social media universe affected the show in any significant way?
It’s pretty remarkable. It doesn’t really affect us in the writers room at all. We know what they want, but I truly believe that as a writer, you have to please yourself first. What story would surprise us as viewers? I think once you go down the path of trying to please the audience, trying to throw fan service, it gets into dangerous territory. The characters may not act like they should or act like themselves. I’m not sure the audience would absolutely want that. I think they want to be surprised. I don’t think they necessarily want their versions of the characters; I think they want to be surprised and shocked by what’s on screen.
Who is the character viewers should be most worried for?
They should be very worried about Stiles this season. You should be worried about everyone in the main cast and possibly beyond, because we’re going to kill a few people this season as well. Things are going to change at the end of the season.
You’re certainly not afraid to kill people off and then bring them back. Will these deaths stick?
The deaths this season are going to stick. (Laughs)
Are they regulars?
Yeah. You’ll see.
Teen Wolf returns Monday at 10 p.m. on MTV.
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