Dylan O’Brien Liked A Tweet About Arden Cho Reportedly Being Offered “Half” Of The Salary Of The Her White Counterparts To Appear In The “Teen Wolf” Movie And Fans Are Now Blasting The Directors
After being cut from the show without warning in 2016, Arden — who is the only Asian actor among the main cast — was offered “less than half of the per-episode salary” than the other white actors to return.
Last September, it was confirmed that the 2011 MTV series Teen Wolf was set to make a return to screens in the form of a new movie.
On Feb. 15, Paramount+ unveiled the cast list for the highly anticipated film, titled Teen Wolf: The Movie, which is expected to be released later this year.
Fans were overjoyed to learn that several of their favorite actors were set to reprise their roles in the supernatural drama, including Tyler Posey, who starred as leading character Scott McCall, and Crystal Reed, who portrayed his early-season love interest, Allison Argent.
Returning to screens with Tyler and Crystal are Colton Haynes, who played Jackson Whittemore, and Holland Roden, who portrayed Lydia Martin.
Shelley Hennig is also reprising her role as Malia Tate, along with Dylan Sprayberry as Liam Dunbar; Linden Ashby as Sheriff Stilinski (and father of beloved character Stiles Stilinski); JR Bourne as Chris Argent; Ryan Kelley as Deputy Parrish; and Melissa Ponzio as Scott’s mother, Melissa McCall.
But in spite of all the familiar faces making their return, fans were disheartened to learn that three of the show’s leading figures had not signed on to appear in the forthcoming film.
Absent from the list of returning actors were Dylan O’Brien, who portrayed Stiles; Tyler Hoechlin, who played Derek Hale; and Arden Cho, who took on the role of thunder kitsune Kira Yukimura.
Arden portrayed Kira throughout over half of the show’s six-season run. First appearing in season 3, Kira and her background as a kitsune became central to the show’s plot — as did her Japanese and Korean heritage, as well as East Asian mythology.
Not only did Kira win the hearts of fans with her strong feminist persona throughout seasons 4 and 5, but she also grew memorable as the love interest of the main character, Scott.
In light of Kira’s huge importance to the show, several users were initially upset to discover that Arden isn’t set to return in the movie.
On Tuesday, however, it was reported by Deadline that Arden had declined the chance to reprise her role after being offered “half the per-episode salary proposed to her three counterparts.”
“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,” Deadlinewrote.
The three counterparts in question, we can assume, are the other women actors in the leading cast: Crystal Reed, Holland Roden, and Shelley Hennig.
Given that Arden is the only Asian actor among this group — and the leading cast entirely — fans quickly called identity politics into question, considering that race and gender disparities are, unfortunately, not uncommon in the entertainment industry.
“They’re only offering, the only Asian woman, HALF the salary compared to the other, white, female casts? Go to hell,” one person tweeted.
“That’s so fucking disturbing how do you call someone up then have the audacity to offer them half the pay of their white co-stars!!! Crystal’s character has been dead & she was still offered more to return as a fucking ghost!!! Naur that’s way too disrespectful,” another wrote.
Some users went on to accuse the show’s creator, Jeff Davis, of exploiting Arden’s East Asian heritage for the convenience of the show’s plot, noting that it was central to the seasons she appeared in.
“The way this show and Jeff Davis consistently treated Arden Cho like trash is insane. They used Korean and East Asian culture when it was convenient to their plot but discarded every Asian character so easily,” one user tweeted.
As the reported news began making the rounds across Twitter, outraged fans continued to voice their opinions. Several quickly drew attention to the fact that Dylan O'Brien liked a tweet about Arden declining the role over the pay disparity, presumably in support of his former costar.
“The fact that Dylan obrien liked a retweet of this speaks volumes,” one person wrote.
“This is shocking,” one person tweeted. “They should’ve given her a bigger bag because damn it she gave her all in every performance when she was on that show,” another person said.
“Kira was the most interesting character and they had the audacity to push her aside like some nobody,” one user wrote, before noting that she had “limited screen time” and was “left out of the show in the last season.”
Adding to that point further, one person tweeted: “The way they handled her character was absolute trash. She had some of the most interesting power/backstory and was integral to s3. Kept her flat when she could have been amazing round.”
Before long, several users delved into Arden’s history on the set of Teen Wolf, noting that her character Kira was suddenly cut from the show’s final season without warning, despite her popularity among viewers and underdeveloped storyline.
“this is so beyond fucked up. kira was 1 of the best characters on the show… & they treated her + arden cho like trash back then and apparently that wasn't enough so they do this again huh. dylan liking the tweet just confirms it. not watching this movie,” one person wrote.
“the fact that they cut off Kira from the show is just unreasonable,” one person tweeted.
“sorry but the way Kira’s storyline was cut short doesn’t sit right w me,” echoed another.
But it wasn’t just fans who were shocked by Kira’s sudden absence from the series.
Back in 2016, Arden entered the conversation herself with a personal video posted to her YouTube page, explaining that she would not appear in the show’s sixth season, despite having assumed that she would.
“A lot of you guys have been asking about Teen Wolf and what’s happening,” she said. “I just wanna say I love Kira Yukimura so much. I love the Yukimura family. I loved my experience on Teen Wolf.”
“It’s been an amazing three and a half years,” she continued. “But unfortunately, it looks like we are wrapped up with Kira’s storyline, and she won’t be coming back for Season 6.”
“Sorry that there were some interviews where I said I was excited for Season 6,” she went on. "I think at the time we were assuming we were back."
“I think sometimes in a show where there are so many characters, there isn’t always room for everyone,” she said. "So I guess that was it."
Arden added, “I do wish we would’ve developed a little bit more of her powers … and just [that] there would’ve been more of an epic ending, but you never know with Teen Wolf.”
Prompting speculation that she’d not been informed about her character’s sudden removal from the show, many fans raised concerns about Arden’s treatment on the Teen Wolf set and condemned the show's creator, Jeff, for supposedly cutting her role without any word.
Despite the news that she’d been removed from the show in 2016, fans held onto hope that she’d make an appearance in the last episode the following year, which memorably saw the return of characters Derek, Jackson, and more, all of whom had also been absent for seasons prior.
But, much to viewers’ dismay, this was not the case, and several fans posted on Twitter shortly after the finale aired to express their disappointment at Kira’s absence.
“A bit disappointed with series finale of #TeenWolf,” one person tweeted. “I felt it did not completely resolve the whole things, like there was supposed to be another season. Nice touch on calling some of the regular cast from earlier seasons, though it's missing Kira Yukimura.”
“My fav part of the finale was when KIRA showed up @ the last minute 2 help everyone, wait that didn't happen, oh yea cuz #TeenWolf aint sh!t,” another wrote.
BuzzFeed News has reached out to both Paramount and Arden for comment.