Arden Cho has finally addressed her sudden exit from “Teen Wolf” and the rumor that she declined to appear in the movie adaptation because of pay disparities.
Speaking with The Cut, Cho, 36, admitted she was “in shock” and could not believe the news when she heard her character was abruptly dropped from “Teen Wolf” during its hiatus between Season 5 and Season 6 in 2016.
“Sometimes in a show where there are so many characters, there isn’t always room for everyone and everyone’s storylines, so I guess that was it,” Cho said in a “Teen Wolf” farewell video for her fans.
Cho joined the cast of “Teen Wolf” as Kira Yukimura, a Japanese Korean teenager with supernatural powers as a Thunder Kitsune, in Season 3. Her powers, which came from her Japanese mother, who is also a Kitsune but of Celestial affinity, became a critical point in the plot of Season 3.
“What I loved about Kira was that she was so much like me,” Cho said. “She had this heart to want to save her friends and fight for good, but she was super dorky and really awkward and she just didn’t know what to do with herself.”
Cho did not elaborate much on why she left the show in 2016; however, details of her departure started to emerge in February 2022 when Deadline reported Paramount Plus was developing a “Teen Wolf” movie for 2022.
“Teen Wolf The Movie” will include recurring cast members of the original MTV series, but will not include Cho and Dylan O’Brien, who played Stiles Stilinski. Citing anonymous sources, Deadline reported that Cho, the only actress of color among the four female series regular cast members, was only offered half the per-episode salary compared to her three female co-stars.
“I think I was actually offered even less,” Cho recently told The Cut. She insisted that her team did not leak that information to the media, saying, “I probably would’ve never shared it.”
Cho also noted that being paid less than her white co-stars is not a unique occurrence in the film or TV industry.
“I could probably, off the top of my head, think of over 10 Asian American actors I know who were paid significantly less than their counterparts,” Cho said. “Sometimes you don’t have a choice to say no. Sometimes you just need it. You’ve got bills to pay.”
By declining the “Teen Wolf” offer, Cho hoped her decision would help make an impact on future Asian American actors.
“I wasn’t saying ‘no’ necessarily for me, or because I was angry. I was saying ‘no’ because I hope that there will be more equality in the future,” Cho said.
While Cho declined to comment on how she found out about the pay disparity between co-stars, she said she “appreciate artists who are a little bit more transparent because they realize that we’re all important.”
Born in Texas to her Korean parents, Cho started her entertainment career by playing small roles on shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Castle.” She was also credited as a “Korean Sniper” stunt performer in the Gerard Butler-led 2013 action movie “Olympus Has Fallen.”
Cho is set to appear as a series lead in the Netflix legal drama “The Partner Track,” based on Helen Wan’s book of the same name.