Why it’s about Batman
Ok, just got a great prompt! And it’s about Batman. Now, we haven’t really talked much about the Batman reference so far, but I think it’s actually quite meaningful for Stiles’s character
(even though I really shouldn’t be writing more Stiles meta). So let me try to clarify why I think it’s so important here.
I’ve been alluding a lot to this ‘Stiles as a human vs Stiles as a hero’ theme (the S2 finale, the symbolism of Stiles’s color) but I want to talk about it more explicitly here, thanks to this prompt from Anon:
okay so, please tell me someone else out there can see parallels between Nolan’s Batman and Derek Hale. i just really noticed a lot of things when i was watching The Dark Knight Rises. like how Derek is spurned by Kate and Bruce Wayne by Miranda Tate. and Stiles has already made comments about Batman and Robin. Derek lost his whole family… bruce wayne loses his family. i don’t know, there was more at the time but now i can’t remember. whatever, maybe i’m the only one!
Batman and Robin are the only comic book heroes referenced in Teen Wolf. They are named at least once in season one (when Scott leaves Stiles to sit in the car as he checks out the bus, to Stiles’s protest: “Why is it starting to feel like you’re Batman and I’m Robin? I don’t want to be Robin all the time!”), and in season two (when Erica thanks Stiles). So… why Batman? Why not some other superhero considering Stiles’s extensive comic book geekdom? Why a superhero at all?
I actually believe that it’s not about the narrative similarities. Because storylines like the death of one’s family, the betrayal of a lover, and the Romeo and Juliet love story are archetypal stories - an extraordinary number of works draw upon them. These are universal tropes found across all cultures. You could say Derek is kinda like Batman in terms of his background (his parents are dead, he’s been betrayed by a lover, he’s wealthy with a cool car) but he’s not really like Batman thematically - that is, he’s not about pursuing justice as an ideal, so much as protecting his own. Derek’s hurt and angry, but his story is more about re-building himself from the ashes and allowing himself to become vulnerable again than it is about continually fighting an inner vengeance to bring order to a city. OTOH, vengeance is a major theme for this show as a whole - Peter, Matt, and Allison’s arcs center around the rage and grief that drives them to vigilantism.
So if it’s not about the narrative fit, then why do we keep bringing up Batman? I’ll offer this theory: because Batman represents the central tension inherent in Stiles’s character - what being human means, when you’re the only human among wolves.