'Teen Wolf: The Movie' Ending Explained — How Does Derek Hale Die?

How does Derek Hale die in 'Teen Wolf: The Movie'? In a final showdown with the Nogitsune, the Beta werewolf meets his fate. Get the details!

Gabrielle Bernardini - Author

Jan. 26 2023, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

'Teen Wolf: The Movie'
Source: Paramount+

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

After 15 years, Scott McCall and company return to Beacon Hills after a familiar threat seeks to destroy the werewolf pack and take revenge.

Teen Wolf: The Movie is a follow-up to the popular MTV series which ran for six seasons from 2011 to 2017. And, more than just old memories will pull at the heartstrings of Teen Wolf fans.

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In the epic showdown between the Japanese demon known as a Nogitsune and the gang, Scott's "brother" Derek Hale (played by Tyler Hoechlin) is killed in the final battle. *Cue the tears.

So, how does Derek die in Teen Wolf: The Movie? Here's what you need to know about his sacrifice — and glowing red eyes.

Tyler Hoechlin 'Teen Wolf'
Source: MTV
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How does Derek Hale die? 'Teen Wolf: The Movie' ending explained.

Though Derek and Scott did not always see eye-to-eye, Scott sums it up perfectly in the movie, the two were like "brothers."

While the team is battling the Oni, Scott, Derek, and Derek's teenage son Eli (Vince Mattis) are faced with taking down the powerful trickster demon known as the Nogitsune.

In the final moments of the battle, Scott and Derek are holding down the Nogitsune. Malia's (somewhat?) boyfriend Jordan Parrish — who is a Hellhound and is able to control fire — steps up to burn the demon back to hell. But, he tells the two werewolves that he cannot burn the Nogitsune while Scott and Derek are holding him because they too will be consumed by the fire.

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'Teen Wolf: The Movie' Tyler Posey
Source: Paramount+

Looking at his son Eli and his longtime friends, Derek decides to sacrifice himself and allows Jordan to set both him and the Nogitsune on fire. In the final moments of Derek's death, his werewolf eyes turn from blue to red.

So, what does that mean?

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Derek Hale becomes a "True Alpha" in the final moments of 'Teen Wolf: The Movie.'

To become an Alpha within the realm of Teen Wolf, a werewolf has to kill an Alpha in order to steal their position as pack leader and to obtain their strength. But in Season 3 of the series, Scott refuses to kill his enemies and becomes a "True Alpha."

Though rare, a True Alpha is born from a Beta who becomes a natural leader through the strength of character, virtue, and their "sheer force of will," Alan Deaton tells Scott in Season 3.

Derek becomes an Alpha at the end of Season 1 after killing his uncle, but his reign does not last long — he loses his status in Season 3 after giving up his spark to save his sister Cora Hale.

Eventually coming to terms with Scott being the leader of the pack, Derek becomes his Beta. But, at the end of Teen Wolf: The Movie, it seems Derek finally gains his Alpha status back.

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Tyler Hoechlin 'Teen Wolf'
Source: MTV

By sacrificing himself for the greater good, Derek certainly showed strength in his character and willpower, becoming a True Alpha.

You can now stream Teen Wolf: The Movie on Paramount+.

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