Known for increasingly wacky plot lines and ploys, Teen Wolf dug full force into standard fan fiction tropes for its season 4 premiere Monday night.
Long known to be a fan fiction favorite, de-aging was trotted out as the opening dilemma/mystery for the teen clique to face early in the new season. After a flashback episode in season 3 in which Ian Nelson played a well-received teen Derek Hale, the young actor has been brought back to play a Derek who has been de-aged to about 16 again.
In a move that indicates a lengthy turn at the crack pipe, the writers had Derek kidnapped and placed in the tomb of a werejaguar god with ancient powers that caused him to morph into his teenage self, with his age (and apparently the memories of himself) only up to the point at which he was secretly dating Kate Argent before she set the fire that wiped out most of Derek’s family. Yes, you read that correctly.
The plot line could easily have been swiped from any number of fan fiction writers, for just about any TV show or movie.
These de-aging stories are certainly popular with media fans, but there is something the Teen Wolf writers and showrunners probably didn’t consider: The ire of Tyler Hoechlin fans who waited the entire episode for their favorite to appear, only to have the younger actor show up instead.
Pro tip: What works on paper, doesn’t necessarily work on screen.
And don’t underestimate the wrath of fans who have waited months to see their favorite actor in action, only to be served a bait and switch. The one-time flashback episode that featured Ian Nelson in season 3 was enjoyable for many fans, but that did not signal their willingness to trade their beloved Hoechlin for the young cutie beyond that.
Trailers for the remainder of the season indicate the switch isn’t permanent, but neither are there clues for how long viewers will have to wait to see the actor and the much-anticipated hairy chest that Tyler Hoechlin will apparently sport in the season.
The brand new hairy chest is another topic altogether, of course.
Teen Wolf airs on MTV at 10p.m. Eastern/Pacific.
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