"You've been given something most people would kill for. The bite is a gift." - Derek to Scott McCall
"I might not be an alpha anymore, but I can still fight like one." - Derek to the Nogitsune
"No. I was evolving. Something you'll never do." - Derek to Kate Argent
In Season 1, Derek is a beta werewolf, in conflict with the Argent family of hunters, a reluctant ally of Scott McCall and Stiles Stilinski, and is searching for an alpha werewolf who murdered his sister, Laura Hale. To avenge Laura's death and prevent Scott from dealing with the burden of being an alpha when he didn't even want to be a werewolf, he kills the alpha, his uncle Peter Hale. Now an alpha, he bites Jackson Whittemore.
In Season 2 Derek forms a pack biting Isaac Lahey, Erica Reyes, and Vernon Boyd. He discovers that Jackson's bite went wrong, turning him into a kanima which started killing people at the command of a kanima master. Derek takes responsibility for this and attempts to stop it from killing more people. All the while he also had to deal with the Argents, especially Gerard Argent, hunting him and his pack. Erica and Boyd became frightened by the mounting dangers they faced and decided to run away, but were captured by the Argents and later by the Alpha Pack. Scott went behind Derek's back in formulating a plan to stop Gerard by replacing his cancer medication with mountain ash so that he would reject the bite. He then forced Derek, who was paralyzed by kanima venom, to bite Gerard, incapacitating the hunter. With the help of a newly resurrected Peter they find out how to turn Jackson from a kanima into a werewolf. They accomplish this with the help of Lydia, who Jackson was able to recognize while in his kanima state.
In 3A, Derek finds himself at war with the Alpha Pack, discovers his long-lost younger sister Cora Hale is alive and reunites with her, but is shattered following the deaths of Erica and Boyd. He is magically roofied by Jennifer Blake who uses the power of the virgin sacrifices to emulate certain aspects of Stiles and reenact some of the scenes where Stiles and Derek had built up a strong bond of trust. Although not directly confirmed, this is one of many pieces of evidence that suggest Derek has romantic feelings for Stiles. At the height of Jennifer's spell, she rapes Derek while he is in a vulnerable state after almost dying in a fight against the alpha pack and from his extreme depression from his situation. Stiles is later able to free him from her spell after informing Derek that she kidnapped his dad. Derek sacrifices his alpha status and power to heal a dying Cora who had been poisoned by Jennifer. He plays a major role in defeating Deucalion and Jennifer by outwitting her into using up her power to heal Deucalion's sight, a debt that Deucalion later repays by sending Braeden to free him from the Calaveras at the start of season 3B.
In his teens, Derek was typically carefree, fun-loving, and extroverted among his high school peers. He was a hopeless romantic, falling in love with fellow student Paige Krasikeva. He was devastated, broken, and wracked with guilt when he was forced to mercy kill her to spare her an even more painful death from rejecting the bite given to her by Ennis. While still in a vulnerable state from this tragedy, he was seduced by Kate Argent in her quest to murder his family. He believes this to be his fault even though in both cases he was a victim of others' manipulations
After these incidents, Derek expresses most of his emotions as anger and displays symptoms of PTSD. He's quiet, brooding, and prefers taking action to making plans. He's initially seen as a villain by Scott, but underneath his hardened exterior Derek hides a great deal of pain, loneliness, and a strong desire to help others avoid his fate. Despite being a victim of multiple assaults, betrayals, and manipulations by others where his will and volition are stripped away and his body is used by others for their own ends, Derek persistently endures the horrors he comes up against and refuses to give up, continually working to try and protect people. Derek is naturally quiet, sarcastic, brooding, irascible and prefers his own company, but possesses great strength of character.
Upon rising to alpha status, Derek exhibits hotheadedness from the rush of power and expectation that he'll be able to protect the people he cares about from any enemy. He is unprepared for the responsibility of leading a pack, and his inexperience is reflected in the losses both he and his pack experience. With the exception of Jackson, he forms his pack as a sort of chosen family in order to help outcasts who are as lonely as he is. When faced with the threat of the kanima, he is pushed into running aggressive training sessions for his betas in hopes that it might give them a chance to survive. He prefers taking action against the kanima instead of making extensive plans in order to minimize the casualties that were piling up. This rashness led to suspecting that Lydia was the kanima based on a false positive result from the test he was using to discover the identity of the kanima. Derek is deeply hurt by Scott betraying and dehumanizing him in 2x12 Master Plan which contributes to his change in demeanor and his reluctance to involve Scott at the start of season 3 after Erica and Boyd are captured by the alpha pack.
Derek's mother, Talia Hale, was the Alpha of the Hale Family and guardian of Beacon Hills. He had an older sister Laura and his younger sister Cora was born five years after him. His uncle Peter watched out for Derek and sometimes acted as a bad influence on him. Having been born a werewolf, and his family being prominent due to his mother's powerful shapeshifting ability, Derek came into contact with multiple packs.++++.
In his teenage years, Derek attended Beacon Hills High School where he played basketball. One day when he was fifteen, he was practicing basketball in the school hallway with his teammates. A girl walked out of music practice complaining about the noise they were making interrupting her cello lessons. Derek got on her nerves but later apologized. She told him she would tell Derek her name if he could play one instrument in the music room. He tinged a triangle. Paige introduced herself.
Despite having got off on the wrong foot, Derek entered into a romantic relationship with Paige. He began to fall deeply in love with her, and she with him. Their favorite spot to escape to was an abandoned distillery outside of Beacon Hills.
At some point, the Argent family of hunters came into town, hunting a feral Wolf from a neighboring Pack. Derek was caught up in the skirmish and witnessed the werewolf being shot to death. Peter found him, they fled and kept themselves safe, following the issued instructions werewolf are taught if they are to come across hunters: "hide and heal". They hid in a tree root cellar for two days. Though they didn't know it, they'd hid in a Nemeton.
Derek was content in his relationship with Paige. Peter told his nephew she was perfect for him.
One of the original ideas for this episode was that Stiles would find Derek had been taken by the Wild Hunt and they would work together to get out. Derek bringing Stiles's keys with him on the return trip to Beacon Hills would be given additional significant meaning by being both Stiles's artifact and a physical representation of Derek's anchor (it was confirmed that Stiles is Derek's new anchor at the end of 3x24 - The Divine Move). As Tyler Hoechlin was unavailable due to scheduling issues, this was re-written to use Peter instead.
Source: Will Wallace's Instagram.
The Teen Wolf limited edition DVDs were exclusively sold at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), all of them featuring Derek Hale and parts of his story on the DVD covers. The DVDs for seasons 1, 2, 3A, and 3B were sold at SDCC 2014 and the DVDs for season 4 were sold at SDCC 2015. As of SDCC 2017, limited edition covers have not been announced for seasons 5 and 6.
(Click the images to open the full size versions in a new tab)
Season 1 cover - Derek wolfed out with Kate Argent reflected in his glowing blue eyes.
Season 2 cover - Derek's transformed hand holding a strip of pictures of him and Kate. In the photo strip, note the basketball on his Beacon Hills jersey and his eye glowing blue in the last photo. The hand holding the photos has fur going over his wrist in the style of the 1985 Teen Wolf movie, suggesting that Derek is the original Teen Wolf of this TV series. Although he is no longer a teen by the time the show starts, he was a teen at the time of the events surrounding the fire and played basketball just like Scott Howard from the film.
Season 3A cover - Kate flinging her arms around and kissing Derek, causing his hand to transform and his eyes to glow blue. Kate is holding an open lighter in her hand with the fire inside the Hale House visible behind them through a broken window. Below, a woman, probably Laura Hale, stands next to a red second generation Mustang while facing the burning Hale House and holding a leather jacket. Older Derek's much more serious glowing blue eyes are reflected in shards of broken glass in the foreground. The lines surrounding his eyes might be fur, possibly indicating his full wolf form.
Season 3B cover - Derek wolfed out and staring at the still smoking remains of the Hale House with police tape surrounding the porch and covering the front doors
Season 4 cover - a stylized version of a scene from 4x11 - A Promise to the Dead with a shirtless Derek forced to rely on a gun as his werewolf powers have been stripped away. Behind him is the Hale Triskelion and the windows of his loft all in red. It is rather striking that red was chosen after featuring Derek's blue wolf eyes in the first three covers and wearing a blue hoodie in the fourth. Whether this hints Derek could become an alpha again at some point in the future or not, it certainly speaks to the prominence of the Hales in Teen Wolf.
Limited Edition DVD Announcements / Image Sources
- Exclusive Comic-Con 'Teen Wolf' DVDs Will Make You Hate Everyone Going To San Diego (MTV, July 15, 2014)
- Teen Wolf season 4 DVD honors Derek with a special Comic-Con cover (Entertainment Weekly, June 30, 2015)