For over three decades, PaleyFest has held panel sessions that connect the worldwide community of television fans with the casts and creators of their favorite TV shows. One of the drama series celebrated at this year’s festival was the hit MTV series Teen Wolf, and Collider was there to get the scoop on what’s to come for Season 5, when the show returns in the summer.
While there, we got the opportunity to chat on the red carpet with show creator Jeff Davis, as well as cast members Tyler Posey (“Scott McCall”), Dylan O’Brien (“Stiles Stilinski”), Holland Roden (“Lydia Martin”), Arden Cho (“Kira Yukimura”), Shelley Hennig (“Malia Tate”) and Dylan Sprayberry (“Liam Dunbar”), about what’s new for the residents of Beacon Hills in Season 5, the tone of the show this season, more action, increased danger, where the romance is coming from, and just how much longer the show might run. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
Collider: Tyler, when you started out on this show, did you ever think you’d be talking about Season 5?
TYLER POSEY: I always hoped that we would get here. I always prepared for it. I don’t know if I ever actually thought this was going to happen, but I’d always prepared for it, so it’s not a surprise to me. It’s really incredible. I’ve never been at a better place in my life, going into this season. There’s so much passion coming in from my end. I’m so excited. I’m a producer, this time, on the show. Teen Wolf keeps progressing, with the darkness, the scariness, the angst and the relatability. Everything just keeps progressing.
Jeff, what would you say the biggest differences in Season 5 are, and the tone of the season?
JEFF DAVIS: Well, this is a pretty dark season. We wanted to lighten things up with the fourth season because Season 3b was so dark with Allison’s death that we felt we couldn’t mine as dark themes as we’d done. But this season, we’re really going for horror and we’re really going for scares. It’s a bit more serious of a season. I wouldn’t say the humor is gone, but we’re definitely going for a slightly more adult tone. We’re graduating a little bit out of being something of a kid’s show and a teenage show, which is interesting because we hear a lot of people in their 20s, 30s and even 40s love the show. So, the tone is definitely different. Tyler Hoechlin is no longer a series regular, so we’re moving Dylan Sprayberry and other characters up while keeping the focus on the teens of Teen Wolf, which are Dylan O’Brien, Tyler Posey, Holland Roden, Arden Cho and Shelley Hennig. It’s very much the core group.
You tend to split each season into arcs. Are you doing that again this season?
DAVIS: It’s going to be split up in 10 and 10, with a break in between, but Episode 510 will be a cliffhanger that’s a mid-point. The 20 episodes is going to be one long story arc. It will have many subplots in it, of course, but we’re doing a bigger story.
Tyler, what are you most excited about, for this season?
POSEY: One of the things I’m most excited about, this season, is the calmness of Scott. He’s taking this whole zen monk approach to things, where he’s just really calm, and he’s trying to calm people down because he’s been there. He’s got a really cool mind-set, right now. He’s always experimenting because he’s growing up and becoming a leader. He’s getting older. For me, I come up with revelations, as I get older, and I try to think differently sometimes. So, it’s the same idea. He’s just taking a zen approach to things and seeing how that turns out for him. Maybe next season, he’s going to be a bad-ass. Well, he is a bad-ass, but maybe he’s going to be a hard-ass, rather than a zen master.
You have some cast members going, but you also have some new additions. How are the dynamics with the actors, this season?
POSEY: The dynamics never shift, at all. This is home, and we’re so comfortable on the set. No matter who leaves, it’s always going to feel the same. We’re going to miss them, but we’re such established friends now that they’re not out of our lives. And it’s great to have new cast members come in because they’re so appreciative of the work that we do. The chemistry just flies with everybody. We’re really welcoming to them, and they really appreciate that and love working on the show. It just adds great morale. I love it.
How much darker will things get this season, or is there more of a balance of dark and light in Season 5?
SHELLEY HENNIG: I can’t really tell yet. There’s definitely been both already, and we haven’t even gotten half-way through [the season]. There’s a new element that causes a lot of fear for the Pack. That’s for sure.
Dylan, Stiles has gone through a lot and had to survive some pretty dark things. Will he get some happy times, before it gets dark again?
DYLAN O’BRIEN: As far as I know, yeah. I don’t know if it’s going to go dark again. It could. The show always does. No matter what, he’ll be experiencing some darkness, I’m sure. But, I don’t know yet. I don’t know anything. We’re three episodes in and, so far, everything is good. Everything is back to normal again. That’s how it starts. So far, so good, but you know that that’s not going to last long.
You’ve talked about how the dramatic stuff you’ve had to do on the show was pretty challenging for you. Do you feel like that challenge really strengthened you, as an actor?
O’BRIEN: Yeah, I think so. I hope so. I don’t know. Acting is a weird thing. You’ve gotta do it to get better, and you’ve gotta try things to grow. Especially me, I didn’t grow up acting. I really just started, literally, when I was 18. I just feel like it’s a thing of always just experiencing it and growing, as a person, too. You get more comfortable. Anytime you do anything, it makes you better, but that was definitely big for me, as far as what I’ve experienced, as an actor. That was definitely one of the harder things that I’ve had to take on, and probably the hardest thing. I was probably the most nervous about doing that.
Arden, now that you’re not the new kid anymore, do the fight scenes and the romantic moments all come easier for you?
ARDEN CHO: Everything has been easier. My favorite thing about Season 5 is that I’m finally in. I’m not the new kid anymore. I’m not just trying to figure out what it means to be a part of the Pack. I feel like I know. And it feels so great to really be in the mix and really be with the team, and all just have the same goals. It’s a lot of fun. I feel like I show up to set and it’s a lot of fun, this season. I feel a lot more confidant, not just as Kira, but even as an actor. It’s been great.
What is Kira’s place among the Pack? What does she add to that dynamic?
CHO: One of the things I really love about Kira is that she really cares. She cares a lot about Scott, obviously, their friends, the Pack, and everyone they meet, along the way. Even though Kira is awkward and a fighter, she just has a really good heart and good intentions. At the end of the day, she wants to know what the best thing is they can do, how they can help someone or how they can save someone. Her and Scott together make, I think, a fantastic team. Scott is the Alpha and the boss man, and Kira really supports him in that. Of course, all of the different characters in the group bring so many great parts to it.
Shelley, how are things not just with Malia and Stiles, but with the Pack? Is she fitting in?
HENNIG: I think she’s doing well with the Pack. I think they’ve accepted her and her quirks, and they know how to deal with her. And she’s making an effort, in her best Malia way, to be a part of the group and do her part.
With everything that Malia has started to learn about herself, what were you most excited to learn more about, this season?
HENNIG: Hopefully, we find out more about the Desert Wolf. Malia found out that her father wasn’t her father. Now, it’s about who her mother is. Maybe we’ll find out more about Malia’s past. I hope that happens. I’d like to see how that affects her.
Dylan, does Liam feel confident in his place within the Pack?
DYLAN SPRAYBERRY: I definitely think Liam is part of the Pack now. He’s decided that this is his path, and he’s going to support the Pack and not be sketched out about it.
What does Liam bring to the Pack?
SPRAYBERRY: Liam’s big thing is that he would die for anyone in his Pack. He would take a silver bullet, he would take wolfsbane, and he would step in front of a train for anyone in this Pack. That’s really his big thing.
Holland, what are things like for Lydia in Season 5?
HOLLAND RODEN: It’s been fun. I’ve had more action than words, this season, so far. It’s been fun to get the physicality out of Lydia. We haven’t seen that yet.
Do you easily take to that, and do you also have to find what her physicality looks like?
RODEN: A little bit. I have to figure out how to make a Tae Kwon Do punch hers. I have a very expressive face, almost too much so, on camera. That’s one of my fears. I’m like, “Jeff, how does it look?,” and he says, “It looks great!”
How is she fitting into the group this season?
RODEN: She’s spending a lot of time with Kira, played by Arden Cho. There’s a lot of girl power. I think there are going to be the strongest female relationships in Season 5. There’s going to be a lot more girl time. The relationships that have progressed in the past will really come to fruition, this season.
Dylan, now that Scott has his own Pack, how does Stiles feel about how he fits in with that?
O’BRIEN: He’s totally confidant about it. He’s like, “Yeah, I’m co-captain.” I feel like that’s how it is. He knows that Scott would do anything for him, and he’d do anything for Scott. He’d only be offended, if he found out that he wasn’t, at least, co-captain.
But at the same time, Stiles doesn’t have an obligation to the Pack. Now that they’re in their senior year, is Stiles thinking about whether he might follow his own path in life, outside of that?
O’BRIEN: I guess, yeah. I don’t know. I’m thinking about all that stuff, and what comes next for these guys, in their life and in this world. I feel like he’s so dedicated to it. Especially at the beginning of the season, he wants everyone to stay together. He doesn’t want anything to change. I don’t feel he’ll be leaving anytime soon.
Arden, how cool is it to have such great actors playing your parents?
CHO: I love them! I love Tamlyn Tomita, and I love Tom Choi. They’re wonderful. They’re fantastic people. They’re funny and really talented actors, and I feel so blessed to have them as my parents on this show. We have a lot of great scenes. Even this season, we have a lot of fun stuff coming up. I’m really happy that they’re back.
The parental relationships on the show are so great, and play such an important part in the lives of these kids.
CHO: Oh, yeah! Linden [Ashby] is fantastic, and so is Melissa [Ponzio] and Susan [Walters]. The parents on the show are not only amazing actors, but they’re beautiful. We always talk about how the casting is so great on this show.
Dylan, Liam is still new to the whole supernatural world, and there are a lot of people in his life that still don’t know his secret. Will it be an issue for him to keep up his secret?
SPRAYBERRY: Yeah, definitely. We’ll see that struggle, as well. That is hard for him. He’s the kind of person where it eats at him to keep these secrets. He’s not that kind of person. He can’t hold it in. So, we’ll definitely see those struggles on the show, this season.
Will you have any cool stunts or fight scenes, this season?
SPRAYBERRY: I’ve trained in martial arts and boxing, and all that stuff. Jeff, the creator of the show, knows that, so he’s definitely going to be incorporating some more stuff, where I can do my own stunts, this season. You’ll definitely see some of that.
Holland, what has most surprised you about who Lydia has become?
RODEN: She’s comfortable with her Banshee-ism now. She’s comfortable with her supernatural power. The scary things don’t really truly scare her anymore. She’s just like, “Oh, crap, I’ve gotta deal with that!” It’s more of a pain in her neck than a fear. She’s managing it now, like a migraine.
What can you say about the villains and where the danger will be coming from, this season?
DAVIS: It’s cool. We went into some very new designs this season, and I’m excited to see what people think of them. I’m hoping they like it. It’s really, really cool.
POSEY: There’s a lot of danger. There are these new villains, and we have no idea how the hell to deal with them. They’re really dangerous. We’ve got a couple of people that are really, really dangerous, and we have no idea what to do. We’re constantly figuring shit out.
And how will the romance balance with the danger?
POSEY: Oh, it’s great! One of the things I love about Teen Wolf is that it’s relatable. No matter who you are, there’s always some romantic issue in your life, whether you want somebody, whether you’re in love with somebody right now, or you’re going through something with your significant other. We try to make that apparent, with Stiles and Malia, and Scott and Kira, and Liam has a new love interest, this season. We’re always playing that up. Malia and Stiles are really comfortable with one another and very in love with each other and respect one another, so much. Kira and Scott are more awkward and timid. And then, Liam and his new girl, well, I’m not going to go into that ‘cause I don’t know how much I’m allowed to give away. But yeah, of course, we always play with the romantic side. We play with the romantic side, the vicious side, the scary side, the heroic side, the action side, and everything.
Jeff, this show has surpassed what most shows get nowadays, as most TV shows rarely get five seasons anymore. Have you thought about realistically how much longer you want to go with the show?
DAVIS: I thought this might be the last season, but now there’s talk that it may not be. I have no idea what we’d do for 100 episodes, but we’re going to be up to 80, by the end of this season. It’s crazy to think that a show called Teen Wolf will have hit 80 episodes and have stories to tell, but we still do. I see it as books in an ongoing series, and each season is a book. There were seven Harry Potter books, so who knows? But, it might also be time to move on. We’ll see.