Yesterday, it was announced that a new Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie is in the works. Good news! Oh, wait: Bad news. Buffy creator Joss Whedon is not involved.
The screenplay is being written by 29-year-old Whit Anderson, who says when she was growing up, "I didn't really watch much television at all, but I always watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer." According to IMDb, Anderson has acted in three movies and written… none. But one of the producers says: "This is a completely new reboot." And: "Whit's take is pretty compelling and a lot of fun, and it's interesting to see all of this reimagined."
Reimagining a cult show doesn't necessarily have to be bad — just ask fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation or Battlestar Galactica. But BTVS wasn't just a fantasy show with a world in which you could drop new characters. Buffy Summers was a quick and quippy heroine for the modern age. She could kick demon and vampire ass, though she struggled with her homework. Plus, the show had depth, subtext, and layers — on the surface it was about a teenaged girl fighting the undead, but t was also about how high school is hell, whether you live on a Hellmouth or not; and how sunny, happy places and people quite often have a dark, evil underbelly. And of course, it was about destiny and responsibility. As Buffy told her mom in "Becoming: Part 2": Do you think I chose to be like this? Do you have any idea how lonely it is, how dangerous? I would *love* to be upstairs watching TV or gossiping about boys or... God, even studying! But I have to save the world. Again.
Whit Anderson seems to know that she's got some big themes to tackle. She tells the LA Times:
The deep struggle [Buffy] had with duty and destiny, that tug between what you're supposed to be doing and what you want to be doing. The fate of the world is on her shoulders, but some days she wakes up, and she just doesn't want to do it. And are we doomed and destined to love someone? That conflict was very interesting to me. Those are the things I loved about her and her world. She also represents - like all the heroes - something empowering for us. She reminds us of what we could be if we were in our top form, the best of us if we were at our very best, and even then we still see the vulnerability and doubts she has inside. That's where we all connect.
But it can't be easy for her, knowing that Joss Whedon — the man responsible for the universe, the legend, the characters and their cult-like following — is fucking pissed. He tells E!:
This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths-just because they can't think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself…Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this… I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don't love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I'm also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly.
Fans of the series are Team Joss; his name is a trending topic on Twitter and Eliza Dushku, who played Faith on Buffy, Tweeted:
Joss made the "Buffster" & w/out him... I just don't trust the girl. Or the world.
Sigh. I don't know what to think. I love the Buffyverse, and theoretically, it sounds cool to give an unknown (female!) writer a chance to breathe life into the concept. But I'm tempted to agree with the folks who think #BuffyWithoutJossIsntBuffy. Joss is basically Buffy's dad! Her God! Her lifeblood. How can she exist without him? He knows her inside and out, eyeballs to entrails. Gah. I can't deal, so I'll be looking at Spuffy images the rest of the day.
'Buffy' Reboot Isn't Five By Five [PopWrap]
Joss Whedon Reacts to Buffy Movie News: "I Have Strong, Mixed Emotions" [E!]
Joss Who? Meet The Writer Of The New ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer' Film [Updated] [LA Times]
Warner Bros Reboots 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer'; UPDATE: Joss Whedon Reacts [Deadline Hollywood]