MTV's Teen Wolf, developed by openly gay writer/producer Jeff Davis, has been a bona fide hit for the network since it debuted in 2011. Season 4 debuted last week to the series' strongest audience numbers. I talked with Davis about the infamous Scott-and-Stiles bromance and how Teen Wolf may be the best superhero show on TV!
Savas Abadsidis: What can we expect in Season 4?
Jeff Davis: With several cast departures and a darker-than-ever end to Season 3, we decided that we needed to return a healthy dose of fun and adventure to the show. We focused on getting back to scenes of high school in the first few episodes, as well as more humor scenes with Scott and Stiles. We also bring back lacrosse and focus on a central mystery to the season that brings in a powerful new threat in the form of an enemy known simple as the Benefactor.
SA: Stiles and Scott have been described as the best bromance on television, and Stiles has been described on comics sites as the best sidekick ever. Was that intentional, or has that developed over the course of the series, taking into account the involvement and chemistry of the actors?
JD: That was absolutely intentional. One of the first ideas we had when developing the show was to give it an opening that was a kind of an homage to Stand by Me -- kids going out into the woods to find a dead body. The friendships portrayed in that story, and in numerous Stephen King novels, like It and The Stand, were a huge influence on the show. However, the real-life friendship that developed between Tyler Posey and Dylan O'Brien was the key to that relationship really working onscreen. I remember, before the pilot was shot, emailing Tyler and saying, "You guys are supposed to be lifelong best friends, so it might be a good idea if you two hung out a little bit before shooting started." And Tyler told me they had already been hanging out. Before we knew it they were the best of friends.
SA: The show definitely has superhero-team feel to it. What have been some of your biggest influences, story-wise?
JD: Interestingly, prior to being approached by MTV about Teen Wolf, I had been developing a pitch with a company at Warner Bros. for a live-action film of Teen Titans. I had crafted a pitch that approached putting these superheroes into a thriller storyline with a big central mystery at its core. I think that idea never left. Producers and I also talked about how the pilot itself was a kind of Spider-Man story. Much of the original pilot and first season was also an attempt to create the kind of cross-genre feel of The Lost Boys, combining scares with romance and humor. However, now that I look back on it, it's easy to see my love of comic books and superhero stories coming into play down the seasons. I also have focused on hiring a writing staff that has the same love of genre and superhero stories.
Scott and Stiles from a recent episode
Executive producer Jeff Davis fields questions at San Diego Comic Con