Entertaining the Impossible: Killing off Stiles

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In The Geekiary’s first Round Table discussion, we had a question about character deaths, and my fellow writer Undie Girl made the fantastic observation, “Honestly I don’t think the problem is that Jeff kills off characters too soon so much as he doesn’t know how to make death matter.”  We, the fans, mourn the loss of our characters long after they’re gone, but the people on-screen seem largely unaffected.  Now there’s been a big to-do about a major character death since long before Season 3B started.  The end of season trailer, which aired after last week’s episode, teased “one hero will fall” while flashing the faces of the five main characters.  Many of us fear for Stiles but at the same time comfort ourselves by saying, “They wouldn’t kill Stiles.  He’s a fan favorite!”  But my reason for writing this article is to ask that irresistible question: what if they did?

Gather your pitch forks and torches if you must, but hear me out first!  Now if we compare Teen Wolf to that old cartoon Captain Planet, I think Stiles would probably be Ma-Ti, who wielded the power of Heart.  As the show has progressed, Stiles has gone through quite the transformation but the one thing that has remained constant is his unshakeable loyalty to his friends.  When Scott was bitten Stiles barely even blinked before he was trying to find a solution to his best friend’s problem.  He became the unofficial voice of a large chunk of the fandom whenever the characters were presented with a new problem, and as a result, the fans have forged a deep connection to Stiles.  I count myself among the legions of Teen Wolfers who consider him to be their favorite character.

tw3Now you may be asking yourself, “Sarah, if he’s your favorite, then why would you even suggest Stiles be killed off the show?”  And my answer to that is because his death would matter.  It wouldn’t – couldn’t – be a death that is mourned for an episode and referenced a few times before never being heard about again.  Of all the characters that have died, I think Kate is the only one to receive a proper burial.  Anyone ever wonder what happened to Laura’s body, or Erica’s or Boyd’s?  Because I sure have!  With Stiles, it would be expected, perhaps even demanded, for a funeral to be shown.  With Stiles, it would be expected to see his friends and father struggle with him being gone and the circumstances surrounding his death.  What if Chris were the one to do it?  How would that affect everyone’s relationship with Allison?  Would they hold her responsible for the actions of her father?  Speaking of fathers, how would the Sheriff cope?  Would we get to see scenes with Melissa fighting to keep him sane, the woman having always been a place for him to draw strength and comfort from?  How would Scott cope with being a leader and protector when he couldn’t even save his best friend?  That last question has the most tempting of answers for me because while we always want to see the hero win, that isn’t always how things go.  Sometimes they lose, and there are casualties.

Taking myself out of the show for a moment, Dylan O’Brien has gotten some high-profile work recently.  He’s clearly got talent coming out of his ears and all kinds of untapped potential.  He was hilarious in The Internship and has been cast as the lead in the film adaptation for James Dashner’s The Maze Runner.  What if that takes off?  Surely his burgeoning film career would take precedence over his television one?  TV shows make good money to be sure but not nearly as much as feature films.  Ages ago, when there were rumors floating around the Internet that Hoechlin was auditioning for Batman in the new Batman vs. Superman film, message boards blew up with, “Nooo!  We don’t want to lose Derek!”  Meanwhile I was thinking, “Man, he is an idiot if he passes that up!”  Ultimately that rumor never came to fruition (and we got Batfleck instead), but for me, the point still remains.  Tyler Hoechlin is more than just a pretty face.  Just watch him in Road to Perdition, opposite some of the greatest actors of our generation.  He was fantastic in that movie, and it makes me sad that he’s been regulated to beefcake appearances, such as his bit part in Hall Pass.  O’Brien is another talent, and I would hate to see him suffer a similar fate.  Now perhaps both men are blissfully happy being television actors who occasionally pop into a movie, and if that’s the case, then do that!  I will happily continue to support their careers in whatever way I can.

Now, do I actually think they’re going to kill Stiles off?  Nope!  As I stated in the beginning, Stiles is too much of a fan favorite and killing him might just put the show at risk of cancellation by losing a good portion of their fan base.  Some fans might watch the show as a whole, but others watch for their favorite characters.  There’s no shame in that; that’s just how things go sometimes.  I don’t mean to diminish at all what the other actors bring to the show by sitting here and praising Dylan O’Brien.  They’re all fantastic and talented in their own special ways.  And honestly?  I don’t think the writers of this show have the balls to do something so radical.  From a story telling perspective, killing off such a beloved character is gold and gives you so much material to work with!  Just look at the questions I posed earlier.  Can you imagine some of the scenarios that could spawn from them?  A downside to all this would be once you kill off a character who started as the show’s adorably plucky comic relief, you’d be hard-pressed to find a way to get that light-hearted feeling back.  Anyone brought in to potentially fill that role would be judged by the Stiles standard and left wanting.

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With four episodes left, only time will tell what the writers of Teen Wolf have in store for us.  Stiles will be forever changed, in one way or another, and one can only hope that if he survives past this season, the trauma and damage he’s inflicted and suffered won’t be swept under the rug.  What are your thoughts?  Is the idea of Stiles gone forever completely abhorrent to you or, like me, have you entertained the notion of what such a situation would bring to the show?  Comment below with your thoughts and thank you for reading!

Author: Sarah Sue


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  1. You make a lot of good points, especially about Dylan’s blossoming career, but I still think it’s going to be Allison. And that depresses me between we have two (now three? If you count Kira this quickly after her introduction) strong female characters that are central to the plot and they are going to go and kill one of them. Her weird little whisper thing at the end of the mid season trailer pretty much cements my guess.

    And… I don’t know how I feel. I don’t want any of the main cast to die. I don’t want to say “I hope I’m wrong” because that just means someone else I love is going to get killed instead.

    No matter who dies, I kind of hope they pull a Supernatural and bring them back. It might diminish the threat of killing off a character, but I just don’t want to see any of them get killed. This whole thing is upsetting. 🙁 Resurrecting a character would definitely make them lose credibility though, so I don’t know. I’d rather have my characters and lose respect for the marketing and writers than have a character gone permanently and be like “good for them for keeping to their word!”

    1. My pick for who will die is Derek just because he is so severely under-developed as a character. I don’t want them to kill Allison because I love her relationship with Lydia and her badass hunter moments! I can’t remember what article it was, but Davis was quoted as saying whoever dies is going to stay that way. And I think that’s needed, given TW’s track record of bringing certain characters back.

  2. Interesting. I always appreciate how Jensen & Jared prioritise SPN over their movie opportunities and I love it when ‘big’ film stars turn to tv. It’s a great medium to tell a story and I hate it when it’s relegated to the ‘silver’ screen and worth dumping for a film career. Anyways, that little rant aside, I don’t think the show & fanbase would recover from Stiles dying. Even though I absolutely adored Dark Willow and the heartbreaking scene of Willow/Xander at the end of Grave, ultimately the show and fanbase (especially the LGBTIQA fans) suffered too great from Tara’s death and Kennedy could never fill the hole that Tara left. I don’t want TW to suffer the same fate.

    1. I didn’t mean to make it sound like being a TV star was a negative at all, and I apologize if it came off that way. Like I said, if that’s what Dylan is happy doing, then God speed and I will be there to support him with my viewership. And I agree that killing Stiles could be a blow from which the show and fans would never recover. I just have an evil side that wanted to make itself heard.

  3. I hope they’re not going to kill Stiles, he’s is my favorite character. Also, you have a point – killing him off would probably mean a lot of fans not watching the show anymore. I hope it’s not Derek either because he is right behind Stiles in my list of favorites. The same can be said for Lydia, I’d hate to lose her because she has so much potential as a character, I’d be really sad to see her go. Plus she’s a badass and the queen on snark! That leaves Scott and Allison. And since I don’t think they would kill the main character, my tip is Allison. Frankly, I still haven’t forgotten what she did in the second season to the betas…

    1. Of the five main characters, I think I would miss Derek the least because to me, he is so under-developed as a character that being a part of my epic OTP just isn’t cutting it anymore. I thought that Allison’s story line in season two was brilliant and I’ve never quite forgiven Chris for the part he played in the manipulation of his daughter. In a sense, they completely broke her down, resulting in the person we saw at the end of the season. It was an amazing performance, and I really felt so much sympathy for her. I don’t want to see her die because like Lydia, she has so much potential as a character. Plus women die too often on this show.

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