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NewsFlash: Not Without Joss Whedon

It's no secret that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite television show ever. It's the first show I ever reviewed in a comprehensive way, my first major television obsession, and the chief reason why this site exists at all. My old Buffy reviews get more hits on this site month after month than almost everything else. (Lost was the biggest hitter for awhile, but since it ended, Buffy has taken the lead again.)

And it's no secret that Joss Whedon is the reason why Buffy is my favorite series ever. It was Whedon's vision of a small blonde victim turning on her attacker, his courageous, outrageous and groundbreaking storytelling, and the consistently witty, unforgettable dialogue that made Buffy the classic that it is.

So guess how I feel about the news that Warner Bros. is rebooting the original and not-very-good Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie without Joss Whedon? Yes, you got it. I'm pretty much foaming at the mouth, but in a quiet way.

I want to be wrong. I truly do. I would love to have more Buffy, more than words can express; I loved it so much that I actually went into a brief depression when the series ended. If Joss Whedon were the force behind this reboot, I would be over the moon, and Buffy fans like me would turn out in droves.

But you know, I don't think they want us. They want another vampire property. They want the Twilight fan base. The original Buffy movie wasn't very good, probably because control of it was taken away from Joss Whedon. I don't know many Buffy fans who like the original movie. One commenter on an article linked below said that the Kuzuis, who own the rights to the original, will get to ruin Joss Whedon's Buffy movie -- twice.

What do you think? Comments welcome, as always, and please vote in the poll below. And here are three links: the first announcement I saw, a profile of the reboot writer (at least she's a fan of the original, but I sort of want to smack her), and Joss Whedon's predictably classy response to the announcement.

This poll is now closed! The results are below:

What do you think of the Buffy movie reboot?

Yes, yes, yes! (1%, 2 votes)
I'll reserve judgment until I know more. (20%, 49 votes)
A Buffy movie without Joss Whedon? Forget it. (79%, 195 votes)
Joss who? (0%, 0 votes)
246 votes total


  1. Thank you, Billie, for keeping us abreast of the latest Buffy news. My take on it is the same I have for every remake and reboot project:

    To me, remakes are like cover songs. Maybe you'll like Selena Gomez' pop take on "Magic" (Disney Channel reference number 4). Maybe you won't. Either way, you can still listen to the original version by Pilot anytime you want, so why get upset?

    No remake in the world can ruin the original. Whedon's series is already out there. We've seen it, and no sequel/reboot/remake/ill-conceived-comic-book-series-because-the-writers-haven't-quite-mastered-the-medium-yet can make us un-see it.

    Besides, screenwriter Whit Anderson seems passionate enough. Maybe she'll turn out to be the next Joss Whedon or Marti Noxton. We'll never know unless we give her a chance.

    The worst that can happen is a bad movie. If that happens, just pop in your classic Buffy DVDs, and all will be right in the world again.

  2. I get your point, Dimitri. But I think mine is that this could have been something I might have loved -- a movie sequel to my favorite show with Joss Whedon at the helm. And that's not what we're getting. And that it's pretty much a kick in Joss Whedon's face, whether they intended it to be or not.

  3. I am reserving my judgement, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best, i think that's all we can do until something actually comes out.

    What everyone likes about Buffy is its Joss-iness isn't? the premise of Buffy is OK but Whedon is what made it amazing, so they would be stupid to not try and keep his essence in it, surely? Of course this means it may (aka probably will) end up as some pale imitation of Joss's work, but hopefully it will be better than having no Buffy in our lives anymore, and if not it will just make us appreciate the TV series even more :)

    I know what i mean lol...

  4. I'm with Billie on this. I came to Buffy late (actually, Billie, I started watching it a few years ago after reading your reviews!), but it's obvious that Whedon was what made the series great. The movie was simply not in the same league, and a remake without him is most likely going to miss the magic of the series.

    Dimitri has a point about remakes and covers--they can work (Lenny Kravitz's "American Woman" comes to mind, and the US remake of "Let the Right One In" was pretty good), but Hollywood has a track record of ruining good projects (and good books, but that's a conversation for another time). Anyone see "The Taking of Pelham 123"? The original was actually good--the remake was just awful. Awful, I tell you! I think original ideas terrify big studio executives, as do original people. They don't trust their audiences, so they keep giving us the same crap. Every once in a while, a good movie sneaks in, but they seem to be exceptions.

    Unless someone on this site gives it a great review, I'm going to pass on any Buffy movie made sans Whedon.


  5. The idea of rebooting Buffy without Joss is bad enough on its own but the thing that really pissed me off the most is that the offical press release credits Fran and Kaz Kuzui as ‘creators’ and not Joss Whedon. That is just despicable.

    Joss’s reply, though, is so classy (not to mention funny) and another reason why I love the man so much.

  6. Unlike other remakes of old material, this potential movie does have the ability to hurt fans of the earlier version. New ancillary works in the show Buffyverse are still coming out. The comic book series is ongoing. A new version muddies the waters -- if it's popular it could take over, and if it's unpopular it can make the unsubtle big-money people think that Buffy as a whole is a failure. Either way, it can mean less new stuff for the version we like.

    These producers (definitely *not* creators) aren't just ignoring Joss; they're competing with him on his own material.

  7. Like you mentioned, Billie, this movie is not being made for us (Whedon fans). Vampires are the big seller right now, so a new vampire movie is what they will make. My prediction is that it will come and go and no one will remember it, let alone compare it to the original series.

    Sad as it seems now that I think about, I've finally let the original series and its characters go. For a long while, probably like many others, I had hoped they would continue the story one way or another on film but too much time has passed for that.

    So as much I see the wrongness of this, I'm not going to let it bother me.

  8. Some of the actors on Buffy have the same reaction to the idea of a Buffy reboot.


    And no SMG? I think I will only go see this to laugh loudly and make sarcastic comments to the screen.

  9. I'm so infuriated!

    If this is to be a bad movie, imagine how hard it will be for us to convert someone to Buffyianism. "Oh, you know, the movies sucked, but the show that's in between was awesome!" Very convincing.

    If it's a good one, I'll bet there'll be idiots out there who will say "it's good because it has nothing to do with the show". (And we shall stake them.)

    But, damn it, imagine people thinking Buffy is a copy of Twilight? Urgh!

    I hate this so much!

    Oh, ok. I should calm down. Maybe people will get interested on the show through the movie. Positive thoughts.

    Oh, to hell with positive thoughts. Buffy with no Willow, Xander and Giles? No way! We should all call this Puffy (from the comics), the stolen story.

    Well, anyway, when this movie gets released, I'll make sure all my friends know it's a stolen idea and the true BtVS is an ass-kicking show that ran for seven seasons and is available on DVD.

  10. Ah, it'll never happen. It's going to sit in development hell for a while and then quietly die a death. The press release said that this film had an "inbuilt fanbase", it's pretty clear from the fact that the entire internet has gone into meltdown about this that the fanbase are going to reject the new movie. The money people are going to be noticing this and getting cold feet round about now.

    I think its fairly well known by now in the business that Whedon fans are a rabid bunch that it's best not to wind up. The second season of Dollhouse came about pretty much exclusively because Fox were too scared to cancel another Whedon show in its first season. Serenity not only got made, but I believe is now the second most often shown film in US cinemas not on general release (after Rocky Horror, and I wish I could find where the hell I read that now). This is not a group who will obediently go sit in cinemas just because a film has the name Buffy.

    This film will not get made, and if I'm wrong, I'll eat my hat as punishment. No, even worse, I'll go and pay to watch the movie and then proclaim it's awesomeness to everyone I meet.

    Of course, the last time I saw this level of fan outrage to anything was for the Ron Moore BSG series, and we all know how badly that turned out ;)

  11. I'm with Dimitri. A new movie won't invalidate the coolness of Joss' original series. People mocked Nolan rebooting Batman, yet it turned out to be zarjaz. Folk chortled at them rebooting BSG, yet it turned out to be scrotnig. People tittered until they frothed at the mouth over a reboot of the James Bond franchise, yet we all went hurrah and threw our hands in the air because we wanted to go faster. Star Trek? Huzzah! Bionic Woman?


    Anyway... without Joss at the helm it's gonna be different. With Joss there and no SMG it would be different, also. With Joss and SMG, yet no Scooby gang, it would be different. Unless everyone's on board there's no point in bringing any of them back. We'd all just be sitting there going... where's Cordelia? Where's Angel? Where's Oz? So I'm quite happy they're wiping the slate clean. Sure, it's not going to have any of Joss' trademark japeage in there. It would be awful if it did. It'd be like a cheap imitation. Hopefully, however, it'll have an identity all of its own. New Bond is not like old Bond, but the franchise has it's own style (when I say "own" I mean nicked from Bourne) and we love it for that. Film Batman has none of the campness of the TV series, but it's cool in its own right.

    I'm going to give Buffy a chance.. and will definitely borrow it from a friend when it comes out on DVD for less than three pounds... two years after release.

  12. I love the idea of a Buffy reboot! It's a very simple premise and it would be interesting to see a new take on it. But I'm not a fan of Fran Kuzui, she seems to have no imagination/shame whatsoever. I really hope this ends up in development hell or something and in a few years Joss makes a reboot himself.

  13. I honestly think some people are taking this too seriously. It isn't a remake of the series; it is a remake of the movie. If you adored the show (like I did) but didn't like the movie (like I did) then it shouldn't matter that much, right? They aren't taking OUR characters like Willow, Xander, etc. and changing who they are and their stories. They only have Buffy, and it will be a fresh perspective.

    If it sucks, oh well. It isn't associated with the series in any way other than the name. We have nothing to lose! If it's good, then hey, we have a good movie. I don't think it's evil to not involve Joss, cause again, this is a remake. How would it be a remake if the same person did it again? You'd have the same perspective, and there would be zero reason for it. Here, there is a possibility it could be a new, fresh take on the premise.

    And someone else brought this up on another site: it's a way to keep Buffy alive, her legacy. This is the type of stuff that happens to Superman and Batman. Some of the remakes suck, some of them are great. Take "The Dark Knight" for example. We would never have gotten that fantastic film if we were afraid to see a new perspective on the idea of Batman.

    And if it sucks, we can always just go back and watch the series. It's like how people respond to the comics. If you don't like it, just don't read it.

  14. I think what has really upset a lot of fans the most is not that they are doing a reboot of Buffy but that this reboot is going ahead without Joss’s input or consent.

    If Warner Bros. had gone to Joss first and he had given them his permission to reboot Buffy I would’ve respected that while maybe still not entirely liking it. But the way this has been handled, virtually acting like Joss Whedon never existed, just makes me angry.

  15. I think the poll results speak for themselves. In built fanbase? F off, Warner Bros! I'm no fan of Whedonless Buffy.

    I sort of agree with Paul and Dimitri that new Buffy won't invalidate Whedonbuffy, but I strongly feel that if it's not Whedonbuffy, what's the point? To make money? To make a film about vampires? To capitalise on an inbuilt fanbase?

    Yeah, screw you Warner Bros, and your little dog too.

  16. I'm enjoying the comments, everyone. Just checked Twitter, and here are some reactions from people we know.

    J. August Richards tweet:
    Buffy without Joss. So wrong.

    Amber Benson tweet:
    Apparently, they're rebooting 'Buffy' w/out Joss Whedon: I told him that asking to play the title role would frighten the Studio Execs.

    Emma Caulfield tweet:
    Buffy reboot? ahahahhaha..

    Eliza Dushku tweets:
    Alright, if you're asking what I think, tonight, my instincts say:
    Joss made the "Buffster" & w/out him... I just don't trust the girl. Or the world.

    Jane Espensen tweets:
    I think Joss's reaction is perfect -- I can't add anything new.

    Nothing yet from Nathan Fillion, Amy Acker or Alyson Hannigan. And I just realized how many Whedon-related people I follow on Twitter.

  17. Awww, David Boreanaz’s expression says it all - http://twitpic.com/39av51

  18. They first mentioned this a year ago, and it's gone no further since then..That's a sign that it's probably not happening. I hope not, cause it's too soon for a reboot. And without Joss, no way. Let them make up new original heroes instead. Sigh..I'm so sick of all these pointless remakes of old source material.

  19. I understand all the angry reactions, and I share them, but if we go beyond that: why are they doing it this way? What is their strategy here?

    They know that Joss Whedon came up with the concept and turned it into a successful TV show. Why are they taking the concept but dumping the talent? Don't they realize that this is a recipe for disaster? As much as I love Buffy, I'd dump the concept before dumping the talent.

  20. I'm with Remco here. Of all the wrong and weird and rage-inducing things about this project, I can't for the life of me figure out the why of it all. It makes no sense.

    Are they deliberately trying to ruin our foremost feminist hero? Is that it? Because why else do they think she needs to be "re-imagined"?

    I thought capitalism was about making money. From a strict financial point of view, this project makes no sense. There are zillions of dollars to made from Whedon-scripted movies. And they don't even have to be about Buffy. We'd love to get more of practically every character from the show. Hello, people in Hollywood! You have ten or twenty movies here. Or miniseries. Or something! We love the Buffyverse and all its inhabitants.

    Just the other day I found myself thinking about D'Hoffryn - I don't know why (insert evil grin). I can visualize him anytime I want. I can "hear" his voice. And this is a character that appeared briefly in four episodes. There are lots of characters like this in BtVS. I don't know how the frell they did it, but my god, they managed to get almost everyone real and interesting.

    So, again, why? Why this? No sense, is what it makes. None.



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