“Teen Wolf” the Movie: Cho Says ‘No’

Cho as Kira Yukimura the Kitsune in Teen Wolf
Arden Cho as Kira in “Teen Wolf” (Source: IBTimes)

Where do I even start? First off, I have been predicting that the Teen Wolf movie will never see the light literally since the first time it was mentioned just after the finale. And the situation with Arden Cho only helps fuel the fire. The thing is that generally speaking, I’m not against a Teen Wolf movie. Give me an animated adventure and I’m down! But there are three things that hamper my excitement!

The Teen Wolf fandom is essentially split: When we talk about Teen Wolf fandom, we’re really talking about pre-season 5 and post-season 5. Season 5 is the first season to not include Tyler Hoechlin and it’s also the season where Pack 2.0 or “Puppy Pack” is fully established. With the introduction of Theo Raeken (Cody Christian), with the exception of Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), Stiles Stilinski (Dylan O’Brien) and Lydia Martin (Holland Roden), many of our original teen faves had come and gone. Supporting characters like Erica (Gage Golightly), Boyd (Sinqua Walls) and Isaac (Daniel Sharman) were long gone and new characters like Cory (Michael Johnston) and Hayden (Victoria Moroles) joined the ranks. What this did was create two separate nostalgias and no way to correctly satisfy them both in a single movie.

Source: MTV

Secondly, I don’t trust Jeff Davis. Now I’m going to stress that these are MY opinions and no one else’s and not indicative of the feelings of this website. But in my opinion, Jeff Davis has a strong inability to stay out of his own way. His relationship with the fans is contemptuous and he always seems to want to one-up us, proving that he’s smarter and more creative than we could ever hope, often with very middling results. There are a ton of examples, but a good one is Sheriff Stilinski’s name.

It’s been long held in fanon (fan-made canon) that Sheriff Stilinski’s name is John. There are a few outliers, but this primarily comes from the fact that Linden Ashby played Johnny Cage in the action classic Mortal Kombat. After five seasons of the Sheriff not having a name, it’s finally revealed that it’s…. Noah. Okay? You mean the same name given to three other characters in the show’s run to that point? When asked, Davis said it was because of a fan letter that said Noah was a biblical character whose job it was to protect everyone. The problem is that they clearly meant Moses, because Noah is famous for being terrible with people.

Another Example? Jordan Parrish was a young man who was in the military. After surviving an IED, he develops amnesia and moves to Beacon Hills to be a deputy. He starts to have graphic dreams filled with fire where his entire body becomes inflamed! Clearly, he’s a phoenix, right? A mythological firebird that rises from the ashes devoid of past memories? Nope, he’s a hellhound! A guardian or servant of hell, the devil, or the underworld. There wasn’t a lot of explanation given for this decision. So all in all, I just don’t see a way that someone who handles the paranormal aspect so lazily is going to make it make sense.

Lastly, and this is the most important and actually ties into the first two reasons: The shoddy treatment of certain cast members. It’s been reported by certain sources that Stephen Ford (who played Matt) was told not to talk to the main cast. Because of this, there were negative ramifications that lasted years after Ford’s time on the show.

Sinqua Walls found out he was getting killed off right before they started filming. He was later told that since his counterpart Erica (Gage Golightly) was leaving the show, there was no more story for him. Interestingly the remaining member of their trio, Isaac (Dan Sharman), was given plenty of airtime. That led to a frankly disturbing amount of women and people of color suddenly being killed off. The show rectified that in later seasons, but it was a definite concern for a bit.

Then we have Arden Cho, who came on during season 3B and became a series regular for 4 and 5A/B before her character Kira got literally deserted with skinwalkers. Arden Cho made a video announcing her exit.

These are just a few of the stories that have come out of this production. So the idea of celebrating a show whose finale was the highest-rated episode of the season, yet the lowest-rated season finale seems like an incredibly ill-informed decision. 

So when a new Teen Wolf movie was announced on Variety, September 24th, I was excited for an entire five seconds until I read Jeff Davis would also be heading the Aeon Flux series as well as a new (though unrelated?) series called Wolf Pack. Again, in my wholly individual opinion, I don’t know that Jeff Davis is one for multitasking and ensuring the quality of each production. There was also the issue of the movie being announced with no cast, no script, no filming dates, or a release date, but that’s a whole other article.

Since the announcement, while official sources have been quiet, unofficial tipsters have given us details about who’s in and who’s out. On January 5th, it was reported that Arden Cho would not be participating. Then on January 17th, it was reported that Dylan O’Brien was done with negotiations and declined to participate. But it wasn’t until a Deadline article on Tuesday, February 15, 2022, that not only confirmed that O’Brien and Cho were not appearing, but also had some interesting news regarding Cho’s departure.

Now for the sake of full disclosure, I’m going to include two screencaps. The first was in the article when I saw it the night of the 15th. The second is an un-notated edit that appeared the next day.

Cho Arden Teen Wolf Movie
Source: Deadline (top) and Deadline via  TeenWolfWikia (bottom)

Screencap 1: Top Picture

According to sources, Cho, the only actress of color among the four female series regular cast members who played the group of teen friends at the center of the show, was offered half the salary presented to her three counterparts, leading to her decision to pass. Cho recurred in Season 3 and was a series regular in Seasons 4-5.

Screencap 2: Bottom picture

According to sources, Cho, the only actress of color among the four female series regular cast members who played the group of teen friends at the center of the show, was offered half the per-episode salary proposed to her three counterparts, leading to her decision to pass. Cho recurred in Season 3 and was a series regular in Seasons 4-5.

I am still working on getting clarification about this update.

In my opinion, Arden Cho has suffered a lot of indignity at the hands of this show. During the Teen Wolf Zoom reunion, one actor remarked that the last time we saw Kira, Cho’s character was lost in the desert. So the idea of them treating her this way involving the Teen Wolf movie isn’t exactly surprising, but this degree is a bit baffling. Especially after rumors that the production presented O’Brien with a blank check. And amid rumors that Posey attempted to negotiate more money and was denied.

Cho Arden - Dylan Supports Arden
Source: Twitter

Once the news broke, Cho began to receive support from the fans, condemning the production for their bad behavior. Notably, O’Brien liked the tweet confirming his support and Cho responded graciously saying “He’s a good one.” Understandably, Jeff Davis deleted his entire Instagram, the main form of social media he also recently limited, only to return after a while.

A certain account is making claims that the reason Cho was offered less was that she was only given what would amount to a cameo. They noted that she was “penciled in” and given a triumphant moment since she didn’t get a goodbye on the show. My first thought was, why does this person think this is a good explanation and doesn’t make the production look worse for taking their one main cast member and giving her a short cameo? My second thought was that it sounded like a consolation prize. That when they offered Cho the original sum, she declined and then they offered her the same amount for less time and less plot. That’s 100% my speculation, but you see the craziness such shadiness inspires.

Overall, a messy show makes a messy movie as messily as possible. And I’m fully convinced that all of these shenanigans are far more entertaining than the movie will be. That said, despite all of this, I am a fan. The cast brought life to lovable characters and regardless of the lack of effective follow-through, Davis has the ability to give great action and surprising twists and turns. I would have loved to see this project with his full attention devoted to it, but instead, I’ll sit with my popcorn ready to watch whatever mess they manage to get out.

If they manage to get it to air that is.

The Teen Wolf movie is rumored to begin filming on March 21, 2022, and air sometime later this year on Paramount Plus. And for those interested, Arden Cho will next star in The Partner Track on Netflix.

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