Buffy without the Master?

Sarah Michelle Gellar, the one true Buffy, and creator Joss Whedon in simpler, pre-reboot times

Back in May 2009, we reported on a rumor that Kuzui Enterprises which own a portion of the rights to Joss Whedon’s Buffy character, were trying to bring Buffy the Vampire Slayer back to the big screen to reboot the popular franchise.  Reactions from Whedonverse fans were negative… to say the least.  But would a reboot really be such a bad thing?

Although I’m a huge B-movie fan, I admit to cringing when I saw the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.  In my loving-all-things-vampire opinion, it was ludicrous.  I adore action flicks, B-vampire movies and those quirky offerings put out there to tickle the fanged itch of genre fans everywhere.  But despite the memorable and hysterical death scene by Paul Reuben’s Amilyn, the Kuzui-helmed movie was a disaster that even lovers of film camp couldn’t salvage.  In fact, my scorn nearly prevented me from tuning in to watch Joss Whedon’s fully realized vision of Buffy on March 10, 1997.  Thank goodness I eventually did, and experiencing one of the best entertainment rides of my life.

Now it appears the rumors are true, and plans are moving forward for a “new” Buffy.  On November 20, 2010, Warner Brothers announced it had optioned the rights to Buffy with the intent to produce a new film for a 2012 or late 2011 release.  And then the other shoe dropped: the screenplay was being handled by an unknown writer, no way associated with Joss Whedon.

Uh, so who is this mysterious scribe, androgynously-named Whit Anderson?  With the plethora of talented writers from Whedon’s Mutant Enemy Productions who might have penned a Buffy movie, how did this person score such a dubious gig?  Curiosity led me to googling her and checking out Whit’s creds on Internet Movie Data Base.   She’s an actress who’s had exactly three bit-part film roles and no screenwriting credits to her name.  Man, how do I get hired by Warner Brothers to pen a big budget film?

Pure speculation on my part, but maybe that’s exactly why a nobody got this job.  After all, considering the world-wide fame and popularity of Buffy‘s seven-year television run, why reboot it less than a decade after it went off the air– and which writer would be crazy enough to touch this movie with a ten-foot pole?  Someone who has absolutely nothing to lose, possibly?  Of course, my rambling are in no way reflective of how this script may turn out.  Whit Anderson may be a very good writer.  How would we know?  She’s never written anything before.

Of course, a skeptic might  question the viability of such a reboot. For one, will it even see the light of day?  Remember Wonder Woman?  After being announced in 2005 that Joss Whedon would write and direct the Amazon’s big screen adaptation, Joss left the project almost two years later when his story ideas were shot down by the studio.  That script is still being bandied about by various writers trying to get the concept right for the big screen.  Maybe the Buffy reboot will spend the next ten years in development hell.

Second, will fans of the television Buffy go to see the film?  Whedon fans are some of the most loyal in the industry.  Will they support a movie without Joss’ involvement?  Openly support, I think not.  See the film? Possibly.  While I may hope fans would turn up their collective noses at this Whedon-less reboot, I suspect many Buffy fans will check out the movie to either be impressed, or more likely, to be able to tear it down savagely.

The most relevant question, however, is should there be a Buffy movie?  From a pure profit perspective, yes.  Vampires have never been hotter than right now. With the television sporting True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, plus two incarnations of Being Human; and the Twilight series raking in big bucks in the theaters,  now seems to be the perfect time for a Buffy reboot.

Yet, the 1992 incarnation of Buffy on the big screen was pretty much a joke, especially compared with the depth of Whedon’s television version.  Of course, television offers more freedom to dig into the lives of characters than the big screen.  But there’s no doubt that Whedon’s Buffy became a world wide sensation.   Buffy aired its last episode on May 20, 2003.  Is the world ready for a completely different Buffy eight short years after such a phenomenon?  JJ Abrams recast the iconic characters of James Kirk, Leonard McCoy and Spoke forty-years after the series left the television screens on June 3, 1969, and seven years after the last original crew film was released in theaters.  So is eight years too short a time to recast Buffy?  Would anyone measure up to the performance of Sarah Michelle Gellar as the young blond teen struggling to balance life and the tremendous burden of her birthright as a slayer?

And what about the beloved characters that have become such a integral part of the Buffy universe?  Nope, the film will have no Giles, Xander, Willow, Cordelia, Angel or Spike, as these characters are part of 20th Century Fox’s pantheon.  Rather, Buffy will be a reboot in the truest form, with only the title character being the one recognizable carryover from the 1992 film and the television event.  After seven years with these characters, I’m not sure how I would like a Buffy movie without them.  I think I’d been waiting in every scene for Xander or Willow to come out and offer their support.

David Boreanaz upon hearing news of a potential Buffy reboot without Joss Whedon

So what do former Buffy cast members think of the reboot attempt? http://blastr.com/2011/01/6-buffy-veterans-on-a-whe.php SyFy’s Blastr has the scoop. When Hart Hansen (Bones) told David Boreanaz of the Whedonless Buffy reboot, he tweeted this reaction of David’s who is clearly not impressed. What about you?

Kristen

Kristen, a freelance writer, has been a part of the Whedonverse Network since 2004 and Managing Editor since 2008.She has contributed news items as well as feature pieces reporting on and exploring the wide, wide world of Whedon and beyond.

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Kristen

Kristen, a freelance writer, has been a part of the Whedonverse Network since 2004 and Managing Editor since 2008. She has contributed news items as well as feature pieces reporting on and exploring the wide, wide world of Whedon and beyond.

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