When Teen Wolf debuted on June 5, 2011, series creator Jeff Davis thought the show was "f--ked."
With a cast of mostly unknown actors—including Tyler Posey, Crystal Reed, Dylan O'Brien, Tyler Hoechlin, Colton Haynes and Holland Roden—and an attachment to the cheesy '80s movie of the same name starring Michael J. Fox, the pressure was on for the show to deliver MTV its first scripted hit. And then there was the part where the network decided to pit the premiere against an episode of Pretty Little Liars, one of the biggest teen dramas of the decade.
"I was like, 'You guys, if live ratings are that important to you, why are you putting us up against the exact demo you want? Do you really think they are going to watch?'" Davis recalled to E! News in June. "And they didn't. Our ratings sucked the first year. And the second!"
While the show had developed a small but mighty following online, it wasn't until Teen Wolf's first two seasons hit Netflix in 2013 that the show's pack of viewers grew immensely.
"Suddenly, our reach grew and we had actually good numbers for our season three premiere without the MTV Movie Awards as a lead-in," he recalled, adding that MTV quickly ordered 24 episodes for the season to quell the new fanbase's hunger. "They just said they wanted more and more."
Teen Wolf went on to hit 100 episodes before its series finale in 2017, turning cast members like O'Brien and Posey into major Hollywood stars. Along the way, it said goodbye to series regulars, while adding fresh faces to its roster. See: Shelley Hennig, Arden Cho, Dylan Sprayberry, Daniel Sharman and Max and Charlie Carver, to name a few.
For Davis, who also created the CBS procedural Criminal Minds, the series' true legacy is the bond the young cast formed during the show's six-year run.
"What was really unusual to me was that the cast loved each other," he said. "There were little fights and disagreements and people grew out of touch, but they still all hang out together. Daniel and Max just did a road trip on a bike together. Colton and Holland are still the best of friends. It's nice to see that everybody really had such a good time making it."
In honor of news that a Teen Wolf movie will be heading to Paramount+, we're looking back on Davis' interview with E!, in which he opened up about assembling the cast (including which American Horror Story fan favorite auditioned for Stiles!) and all of the spinoffs that were being considered.
Originally published on Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 3 a.m. PT.