'Teen Wolf' Season 4: Shelley Hennig's reveals Malia's loyalty and meager 'human skills'

teen-wolf-season-4-malia-shelley-hennig-interview-mtv.jpg
"Teen Wolf" Season 4 is bringing in Malia the were-coyote in a big way. The girl who spent most of her formative years living in the woods before she fell for Stiles and accepted humanity is now a full-fledged member of Scott's pack. Actress Shelley Hennig explains to Zap2it how Malia's awkward transformation works in this interview.

Zap2it: What's coming for Malia in Season 4?
Shelley Hennig: The upcoming season will be Malia accepting being human. As you saw in 3B, she hated it, felt like a misfit and wanted to go back to what she knew. And she also had a lot of guilt. But she has a connection with Stiles. Coyotes are loyal and faithful, they choose one mate, and she chooses Stiles. And he's reciprocated. You will see Stiles and Scott trying to help her adapt to a new world and also control her animal instincts -- which will create some comedy and drama.

What does Malia bring to Team Scott?
Definitely loyalty. I played a lot, especially in the beginning how ... One of my biggest things in high school was I never wanted to be bored. I always wanted to be entertained. I always wanted to find what was going on, and I played that in Malia -- she didn't like it when there wasn't something to solve, because she really enjoys the action-packed, daily drama that this pack is introduced to. With that, she has a pack that she's loyal to, helping her be an asset to the team.

I think she brings some comedy as well, because she can sound very abrasive and rude. But she doesn't mean for it to come out that way. She's just very honest and practical. And Stiles is always there to remind the pack that, 'Hey, she's learning.' Her human skills aren't that great.

What sorts of things will be difficult for Malia?
She's not completely new at being human, but it's definitely been awhile. She missed some very transformative years, and now she's a pubescent teenager. She missed the whole puberty talk, the health classes -- she went right into being a full-blown teenager. So there was a lot missing. And with that, the obvious -- just missing class and not being in school. Which is where Lydia comes in, and she's very helpful with her. She takes notes for Malia and has helped Malia stay afloat.

Is anything particularly difficult for her?
I think for the pack it's her trying to come up with a filter and talk normally and not be so abrasive when she speaks. But I think, for Malia, her struggle becomes: "Even though I'm part of this pack, do I really belong here?'"The father thing becomes an issue, so there's that.

With the Benefactor a looming presence in Season 4, how is Malia going to react to the danger?
It starts out as an adventure for Malia, and then s*** gets real real. She realizes how scary things can be, and you'll even see her get vulnerable, which is a new thing for her dealing with. She doesn't know what vulnerability is. She hasn't been human for eight to 10 years! She will definitely be fearful at times, but she always turns to Stiles at times, and her Alpha, Scott.

How is the relationship between Malia and Stiles going in the new season?
Like I said, she's loyal to him. He's who she lives for, really. It sounds kind of desperate and pathetic in human terms -- in high school, you shouldn't put so much stock to someone of the opposite sex. You need to grow into who you are before you can fully be there for somebody else. But, that being said, this is a supernatural show. And Malia doesn't have a family. Stiles has shown his loyalty to her, and there's a huge connection there. So they will definitely be a great team. But in that -- as in real life -- there comes some turmoil here and there, things will come up that sort of puts them at a crossroads.

Is Malia able to maintain friendships with other girls?
I think even Lydia and Kira grow to just accept Malia for who she is and don't take things personally. But I'm sure it's frustrating for them at times -- as it is for Malia, because she doesn't understand why they're looking at her like she's crazy. It works both ways!

Why is Malia an important character for the new season?
The real answer is how relatable she is. She's not great at school, she's figuring out who her real father is, she's in love, she's a teenager and she's pubescent and confused. I remember playing one scene where a tear came out of her eye, and I played it like "What's that? I don't do that!" We're all like that as teenagers -- we don't want to be vulnerable but our hormones and emotions are just going crazy. So I think her biggest struggle is finding out what she can offer to this world.


"Teen Wolf" Season 4 premieres Monday, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on MTV.

Photo/Video credit: MTV