The Kanima is a form of shapeshifter introduced in Season 2 of MTV's Teen Wolf.
According to Teen Wolf Mythology, the Kanima was created when Jackson Whittemore's emotional issues caused his body to reject the bite of an Alpha.
Instead of becoming a werewolf, Jackson transformed into a snake. We are led to believe that this shape reflected his inner turmoil and outward behavior.
Once Jackson became a werewolf, Jackson retained kanima features such as the venomous claws, his tail, and is able to switch his eyes from blue to slited-yellow. While he can no longer be full kanima, he is in full control of these abilities to use at his will. (Werewolves of London, The Wolves of War)
Bestiary Entry on Kanima
- “Like the wolf, its power is greatest at the moon’s peak.
- Like the wolf, the Kanima is a social creature but where the wolf seeks a pack the Kanima seeks a master.
- The Kanima, a weapon of vengeance, is used to carry out the bidding of its master. The Kanima was once used by a South American priest who took it upon himself to rid his village of all murderers. The bond between master and servant grew stronger until the will of the master became that of the Kanima's and whomever the priest deemed unworthy, the Kanima served his vengeance.
- The Kanima is a mutation of the werewolf gene that cannot fully transform until it resolves that in its past which manifest it.”
The kanima is roughly the size of an average human male, covered in scale, yellow eyes with slits, and can climb up walls like some varieties of lizards.
It has a long prehensile tail and long claws that secrete venom that can paralyze victims for hours.
It seems to heal very quickly, taking several bullets to the chest, recovering and resuming the fight The same scenario happened when Allison shot it in the head with an arrow in Fury.
Its deep connection to it master also can create weaknesses such as Matt's fear of water being passed down to the kanima while it was under his control.
According to Peter Hale, Jackson was in a "Beta" form and could become "bigger and badder." To achieve this next stage, the kanima creates a clear, viscous cocoon from its claws and lies in a deep sleep. During this process, it develops wings, becomes more ferocious, and has a spiked tail (as shown in Smoke & Mirrors)
NOTE: Jackson never reached this stage despite taking the first steps, so it's assumed the process remained incomplete when the group encountered Gerard in Master Plan.
It killed a mechanic and menaced Stiles at a garage and then trapped Stiles and Derek in the school swimming pool. They were apparently safe because the creature did not want to touch the water. It easily bested Scott in a direct confrontation but then ran after seeing its reflection. (Read More...)
According to the hunters' bestiary, “Like the wolf, its power is greatest at the moon’s peak. Like the wolf, the kanima is a social creature but where the wolf seeks a pack the kanima seeks a friend.” Jackson as a kanima looks different from the creature seen earlier in the season. (Read More...)
Jackson, in kanima form, fights Derek to a standstill and is then shot several times by Chris Argent. It recovers quickly and seems to kneel before Gerard before escaping. It goes after Danny at a gay dance club. It disables several patrons, including Danny, before Derek slashes its throat. It escapes and seems to heal. The next time we see Jackson, he is in human form and bloody but unharmed. Lydia gives a more accurate translation of the hunters' bestiary. Instead of "seeks a friend", Lydia claims it actually says "seeks a master." (Read More...)
At his hooded master's behest, the kanima kills a man outside a travel trailer in the woods. It goes after the man's wife but stops when it sees she is pregnant. Lydia finishes translating the bestiary (see above). Jackson partially transforms into a kanima at school and menaces Allison, fights with Scott and injures Matt and Erica. (Read More...)
Jackson partially transforms into kanima and speaks with his master's voice. It refers to itself as "We." It then escapes by busting through a corrugated steel wall into a warehouse where it kills a young woman who is overseeing a rave. (Read More...)
Jackson, under Matt's control, kills four deputies and fights hunters at the Sheriff's Office. Allison shoots it in the head with a crossbow bolt and stabs it several times with little effect. (Read More...)
Gerard, as the new kanima master, uses the creature to hold Ms. McCall hostage in her home as a means to menace Scott. Jackson uses his kanima claws to kill himself at the end of the lacrosse championship. (Read More...)
Jackson's body enters into a cocoon made of kanima venom and begins moving. Peter Hale suggests that Jackson is the Beta form of the creature and he is transforming into the next level of development which apparently means he grows wings. Gerard once again uses Jackson to fight the wolves. Once the old man begins to die and Lydia shows up Jackson begins to revert to his human form. Peter and Derek take advantage of his weakness and both attack simultaneously. Jackson again appears to die but then revives and transforms from kanima to werewolf. (Read More...)
Teen Wolf Creator and Executive Producer Jeff Davis planned that Jackson would be the "Big Bad" of Season 2 back in 2010 when he was developing scripts for Season 1.
The kanima creature was based on both South American and Greek lore.
The look of the creature was based on the Serpent God Set from the film Conan the Barbarian which Davis saw as a child.
Initially, the creature's skin was to have a green coloring. After seeing trailers for The Amazing Spiderman, Davis ordered that most of the green be taken out of the suit.
Davis says adding the CGI tail to the kanima costs about $1000 US for each shot.
The Two Kanima
There are several visible differences in the appearance of the kanima creature seen early in the season and those in later episodes.
The scales of the face are shaped and arrayed differently, early kanima had squared off and pointy scales while the later version was more rounded.
The overall shape of the face is different, with early kanima displaying a weak chin and later kanima with an oversized square-jawed dimpled chin.
One possible explanation for the difference is that Colton Haynes was not behind the kanima make-up most of the shoot due to allergies. The differences might also be due to the evolution of the character make-up over the course of months of shooting.