Michael Moccio ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor-in-Chief
Following Tyler Posey, Emertainment got the chance to sit down with showrunner Jeff Davis during the Teen Wolf Press Room at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). Fans of the Teen Wolf series know that Jeff Davis is largely the creative force that drives Teen Wolf’s success with its unique storylines and how real these characters feel to the audience.
There’s a lot of change going on with the characters throughout the season as they’re tested with the new enemy in the Dread Doctors. Speaking of how the Dread Doctors came to be, Davis said their inspiration lied in “World War II gas masks [and] the steam punk aesthetic.”
“We pitched it as our Island of Doctor Moreau season,” said Davis. “We’ve always wanted to do a science meets the supernatural season. It was our way of doing science without the test tubes. I never wanted to do a show with werewolves in cages, we wanted it to be a little more alchemical and medieval.” That’s certainly the feel they’ve accomplished in these first few episodes as they do things we’d expect supernatural beings to do: appear seemingly out of thin air, mess with characters’ minds, and do things we never thought possible.
When asked about what kinds of supernatural rules the Dread Doctors would be looking to tamper with, Davis declined to give away any straight hints. However, he did reveal that not all was as it seemed when the pack labeled Tracy as a Kanima. “She’s not actually a Kanima. She had elements of the Kanima, but there’s a difference to it. And it all comes from the Dread Doctors.”
What he did focus on was how excited he was for fans to see episode five of Teen Wolf’s current season. “In episode five, the story takes a big turn. It’s a great Dylan O’Brien episode, especially. I love the fact that this season, we’re able to focus on certain characters. Like, I loved Shelley Hennig (Malia Tate) in the last episode. She really shined in that episode as a hero. There’s a moral struggle for her on whether or not to save people or just let them die. And I think her saving Tracy—trying to save Tracy—was great to play. But I’m also excited for them to see the finale, because it’s dark. It’s sort of our Empire Strikes Back story and ends very depressingly.”
Stiles and Malia aren’t the only characters faced with growth this season. From the get go of the season, Lydia (Holland Roden) has been center stage. The first episode showed a Lydia well in control of her powers, using them with martial arts to become a dominating force with which to be reckoned. “We knew we wanted Lydia to gain control of her abilities,” Davis said, talking about this evolution. “We knew if we’re going to take these characters and beat them up so severely, Lydia would get to the point to want to learn how to protect herself and learn how to fight. We decided it had to be tied to the scream and the power of her voice.”
For fans of the horror genre, they know that screams often signal a lack of power. Usually, when a girl—or anyone for that matter—screams during a horror movie, it’s most likely because they’re about get offed by the killer. This irony isn’t lost on Davis; in fact, it’s purposeful. “She’s in a horror story and she’s the one screaming, but the screams are her power. It’s fun to turn that cliché around a bit, so we wanted her fighting style to be physical and powerful.”
Speaking of Lydia, Davis spent some time talking about the growing relationship between her and Parrish (Ryan Kelley). “They’re definitely connected,” Davis said of the pair. “It’s more than a romantic interest that connects them. They’re sort of drawn to each other.” Naturally, as the conversation drifted towards Parrish, we wondered if we would finally find out exactly what supernatural creature Parrish is. “This season, you’ll find out. Everyone thinks they know.”
Ultimately, though, Teen Wolf does revolve around Tyler Posey’s character of Scott. “Scott needs to face failure,” Davis said of the main character as he talked about what this season means for Scott. “There’s an idea that you learn more from your failures than your successes, so he’s going to face some struggles. He’s going to have some members of his pack questioning him like Liam and Stiles. He’s not so sure he has all the answers anymore. It’s one of those issues where you see in the trailer, where he notices something has changed. There’s that feeling where your friends start to pull apart and you don’t know how to fix it and you start to wonder if it’s you. I think that’s a hard thing for a character to face.”
Before we wrapped up, Davis talked a bit about spin-offs of Teen Wolf and if the team had considered doing some in the past. ““We’ve talked about spin-offs before, actually. The problem is, they want me to write it, but I’d rather have another staff of writers working on it. I like to focus all my time on this show. There are a lot of showrunners out there who branch out and do other shows. Sometimes, I think they suffer from it. I have difficulty on focusing on other projects, but I think a spin-off would be great. I think the Hales would be great for a spin-off. I wanted Christian Taylor to run it, actually. It would have been about young Derek Hale. We were going call it Beacon Hills.”
Be sure to check out new episodes on Teen Wolf on Mondays!