Why Derek Hale’s Teen Wolf Movie Ending Was So Brutal

The ending of Derek Hale’s storyline in the Teen Wolf movie is devastating enough, but one arc of his overarching narrative makes it even more tragic.

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Teen Wolf: The Movie.

Teen Wolf: The Movie resolves many loose threads from its parent series, but gives Derek Hall a sad finale – and the set up of his ending his fate all the more tragic. Although the imminent fear of a new threat lurks around Beacon Hills in Teen Wolf: The Movie, many beloved primary characters from the original series come together for a highly anticipated reunion. After making only a few brief appearances since Teen Wolf‘s season 4, Tyler Hoechlin’s Derek Hall, too, joins the movie’s roster, and this time as a father figure to a young werewolf named Eli.


Unfortunately, what seems to be the beginning of a new arc for Derek Hale ends a little too soon on a devastating note. In a high-stakes battle against Teen Wolf: The Movie‘s overarching villain, the Nogitsune, Derek sacrifices his life to save the day. Before the movie’s credits start rolling, the people of Beacon Hills see a brighter future ahead. However, it is a bittersweet closure for Scott and his crew because they lose the werewolf who sparked their supernatural journey. Unsurprisingly, even for audiences, Derek Hale’s sudden departure from the Teen Wolf franchise has been no less devastating.

RELATED: Teen Wolf Season 3 Explains Why Derek Is So Overprotective In The Movie

Viewers Didn’t See Derek Hale’s Teen Wolf Movie Ending Coming

Derek eye color change teen wolf the movie

Owing to Teen Wolf: The Movie‘s marketing, it was hard not to assume that it would deliver a much-deserved optimistic resolution for the characters. Since Tyler Hoechlin’s Teen Wolf character, Derek, made many sacrifices in the series, he seemed to deserve a happy ending more than anyone else. The Teen Wolf movie opening scene cements this idea by showing how Derek’s life has significantly improved, and he is embracing fatherhood by helping his son realize his true potential as a werewolf. However, the Teen Wolf movie flips this when moments after Derek’s son transforms into a fully-fledged teen wolf, Derek burns in a fire. His sacrifice is heroic but excruciatingly unexpected.

Derek’s death is also heartbreaking because it highlights that many prominent characters from the Teen Wolf franchise have departed, and it will never be the same again. Although Teen Wolf: The Movie brings Crystal Reed’s Allison back, Derek’s Teen Wolf movie death is a reminder that if the franchise progresses any further, viewers will not see many characters that made Teen Wolf so incredible in the first place. Derek’s final gesture of resting his son’s responsibility on Scott’s shoulders leaves room for new stories, but also leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of many viewers who followed Derek’s cathartic journey.

Derek’s Backstory Makes His Teen Wolf Movie Ending Even Sadder

Derek Hall and his son in Teen Wolf: The Movie

Derek’s death is difficult to swallow because it brings a full grim circle to his Teen Wolf storyline. As his backstory reveals, he nearly lost his entire family to a house fire six years prior to Teen Wolf‘s premiere and was left grief-stricken by the guilt of being a survivor. He channeled his trauma and pain through violence for a long time, and even used fear as a tool to train Scott in Teen Wolf season 1. However, he gradually went through a rite of passage that helped him understand his true purpose as a werewolf. As a result, he became a more compassionate guiding force for Scott and his pack.

Considering how he learns to forgive himself and gets over the Hale House Fire by the end of the Teen Wolf series, it seems unfair that what kills his family and causes him so much pain eventually takes his life as well. Not to mention, it restarts the loop of trauma where his son, Eli, bears the grief of losing his father as he did. On the positive side, though, in Teen Wolf: The Movie‘s ending moments, Derek Hale proves his greatness through his suffering and expresses his fatherly love through his sacrifice.

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