Warning: I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, like saying ‘one of the main characters was…’ but in this case I just can’t keep it entirely spoiler free
At the start of this week, Arden Cho announced what a lot of us Teen Wolf fans already feared: she will not return for season 6.
Now, you may ask, what’s the big deal? Actors leave shows all the time. Of course they do, but Arden Cho didn’t want to leave, that much is clear when you watch her youtube video in which she announces the news. She loves the show, she loves the cast and crew, she loves her character; and she’s clearly emotional when breaking the news. She was basically fired.
And that after her character, who besides the main character Scott is the only one who isn’t white, was treated like shit this entire past season. And not just her character Kira was, but Arden herself was too.
Kira Yukimura was introduced in season 3B, when one of the main characters was possessed by a Japanese evil spirit. She and her Japanese ethnicity were necessary to the story. When that storyline was over, Kira was promoted to a main character status in season 4, but somehow she got less screen time than when she was a supporting character in 3B. Not to mention she didn’t have her own storyline and it felt like she was just Scott’s (the main character) love interest (nothing against Scira; I love them). Meanwhile Lydia, one of the original main female characters also had a lot less screen time.
Then season 5 came, and Kira got her own interesting storyline. She couldn’t control her Kitsune powers and it looked like they were going to explore the Kitsune. Instead we got a half-assed story in which Kira was absent 4 entire episodes (actually 5, because she doesn’t appear until the end). And Arden didn’t even know about not being in one of the episodes. She filmed her scenes, but they were cut without her knowing about it. She had to find out from fans. How horrible is that? Meanwhile Lydia only had her own storyline when she was in a mental health facility; before that she barely had any screen time and when she did, she had been reduced to a possible (white supporting character’s) love interest. The moment she got out of said facility, she was immediately running after the supporting character again, who had more screen time than both her and Kira. This supporting character was more important than two main female characters, and in the end he wasn’t even necessary to the story. They could’ve left him out and it wouldn’t have changed a thing, except it left more screen time for two of the main girls and it would’ve allowed them to fully explore Kira’s storyline (and not reduce Lydia, who used to be an amazing character and role model for young girls, who was independent and had amazing character development, to a love interest).
We barely have any main female characters as it is. Supporting white men get more screen time than the ones we do have, especially more than Kira did, who besides Scott is the only non-white main character. Saying that her storyline is over, that they have no idea what to do with her anymore, is bullshit. Her storyline isn’t over, and even if it was, you can give her a new one. That’s what you do with characters. She has a personality, ambitions, dreams, goals, flaws, relationships with other people, supernatural powers; all these things and more could’ve been explored.
And Arden Cho, the amazing sweet cinnamon roll that she is, is justifying their decision to write Kira off the show by saying that since there are so many characters there is no longer any room for her. No, that is ridiculous. Season 5’s main cast consisted of six main characters. If you can’t handle six main characters, how are you even writing a tv show. They shouldn’t keep adding new characters, they shouldn’t give these new (often white and male) characters more screen time than their main female characters. Before Arden announced that she wouldn’t be in season six, they announced the casting of a new character. Guess what: a white man. Wow. Very surprise. Such shock. Much anger in this fan. And while it hasn’t been officially confirmed yet, it sounds like Ian Bohen, another white man, will return. And not just any white man. A man who publicly humiliated Arden and basically bullied her. A victim-blaming, sexist man, who decided to write a degrading Tumblr post on how to be a ‘lady’ when people called him out on his shit. A man who played a character whose only purpose on the show is ‘to be evil’ and hasn’t had any character development in four seasons. Was it weird that he just disappeared after season 4? Yes, but it’s something we’re all used to since there are enough characters who disappeared without a word to start a small country.
So Arden was fired, because there was no longer any room for Kira, but meanwhile two white men are invited (back) in. What do you mean racism and sexism aren’t a problem in Teen Wolf? To make things even worse, Arden thought she would return for season six. They probably didn’t even tell her that the season 5 finale was her last episode. I myself was terrified that they would kill Kira off, because of the way they were treating her this season, so when in the finale she left to go to Mexico again (sorry for the spoiler, but like I said in the beginning, this post can’t be entirely spoiler free) and Lydia said that she wasn’t gone forever or something, I was so relieved. I thought that maybe she would be absent for a few episodes, the first half of season 6 at the most, but no. That was her final appearance. She didn’t get any closure (nor did Arden most likely. Imagine being on set for the very last time, not even knowing that. I’m just so disgusted I have no words). Her storyline wasn’t resolved; that’s why she went to Mexico. To learn how to control her powers. But apparently the audience doesn’t need to know how that ends. Apparently Kira isn’t needed in the pack.
They treated Arden horribly and she deserves so much better. She’s a wonderful human being and an amazing actress. Kira deserved so much better. She was an interesting, complex character, who was a sweet cinnamon roll who kicked ass. Who is a kitsune, which is already really cool and interesting. Who was relatable to so many people. But no, let’s bring back the evil werewolf whose sole purpose is to be evil. And while we’re at it, let’s invite more white men into the show. And meanwhile Shelley Hennig (who plays Malia on the show) talks about how diverse the show is.
Watch Arden Cho’s announcement here:
Will I continue to watch Teen Wolf? Yes. Will I be bitter about it? Yes. Believe me, I want to quit. But some of my favourite characters are still there, and it’s very likely that this will be the last season anyway. If it’s not, they’ll probably continue with the ‘next generation’ because they’ve been shoving them down our throats the entire past season and I’m not interested in them anyway (except Mason, but he’s neither white nor straight, so even if they do make him a main character I wonder how long they’ll keep him on).
This is a very long post, and believe me, I could’ve gone on and on. I’m furious, but they were treating Arden like shit so actually I’m also relieved that she’s no longer on the show. She deserves so much better and I hope she’ll land a great role soon, where she will be treated like a human being with feelings and a talented actress, instead of whatever the hell they were doing on Teen Wolf.