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Was Joss Whedon right in scoffing at the 'Buffy: The Vampire Slayer' reboot?

November 23, 2010 |  1:41 pm

  Buff

When a Hollywood studio remakes "The Wizard of Oz," L. Frank Baum doesn’t have a chance to send out a press release. But the tricky thing about rebooting a property that’s only been gone seven years is that the creator is usually around to say something about it.

That’s just what Joss Whedon did after Monday’s news that a young writer named Whit Anderson, who grew up watching  “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer,” would now tackle the new movie.

It was largely a jokey missive that Whedon sent to E! online –- he alluded to his own pillaging of a childhood favorite with his current “Avengers” –- but he didn't exactly contain his annoyance, either.

Whedon sarcastically said he was hoping to remake Batman even as Chris Nolan, of course, is proceeding with his own version, and he said he wished the new "Buffy" didn't happen this soon or without him (though he pointedly avoided addressing whether he was given the opportunity to be involved, which a source familiar with the discussions tells us he was).

“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,” he wrote, then suggested that he had at least thought about getting lawyers involved, before deciding against it. “There is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly.”

As much as Whedon seems justified in questioning the need for one more Hollywood reboot, the idea that a recently ended TV show would get a second life as a movie shouldn’t be entirely shocking to the creator. He did just that with “Serenity,” which picked up three years after his science-fiction series “Firefly” went off the air (though that one of course ended far more abruptly than "Buffy" did).

It’s also understandable why Whedon felt the need to react; certainly, it’s an emotional topic for him. But it also is a savvy bit of positioning. If the movie now doesn’t work or isn’t embraced by fans, Whedon now has put considerable distance between himself and the movie and can say he was dubious from the start. It could also backfire, making him seem bitter that it's going on without him.

Was it a smart move on his part? More to the point, will his statement poison the well for many fans and doom the movie before it's even written? Early skepticism has plagued beloved genre properties before but fans came around when the movie was eventually released (see under: the initial backlash to the “Twilight" casting).

Then again, the Whedon crowd is an ardent one, and this kind of statement means the deck could now be seriously stacked.

-- Steven Zeitchik
twitter.com/ZeitchikLAT

Photo: 'Buffy: The Vampire Slayer. Credit: 20th Century Fox

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Comments () | Archives (11)

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as a fan of the tv series, my opinion of the movie was poisoned from the first. who needs yet another remake. and the people concerned are doing this solely for the money. joss whedon's response was eloquent and meant to be humerous. it seems the writer of this article didn't get joss' humour.

Serenity was a film conclusion to an abruptly cancelled Firefly series, with both done by Whedon. Buffy was a movie converted into a television show with a planned ending which now, both by Whedon. Now, several years later, it is being redone by a different creator.

Please explain how you possible think the former is an example of Whedon doing the latter? Apparently logic was not part of your professional training.

It will be interesting to see if she attempts to base it on the Season 8 comics written by Whedon..

wouldn't a successful Buffy movie be one more successful movie than Joss Whedon has ever had?

the buffy series was based on a movie anyway so it would be more like a remake of that than a continuation of the series,

It wont work without the popular buffy cast and the cast probably wont work without Whedon

Joe Banks obviously never saw Joss Whedon's "Serenity," which was a great movie. If he is basing his scale strictly on how much money a movie makes, than "Titanic" must be a better film than "Citizen Kane" and Taylor Swift must be a more important artist than Neil Young. Give me a break.

A Buffy movie without Joss would have never gone over well with fans of the show. Him making the statement may have pushed a few fans into never seeing this movie but the reaction I saw before Joss made his statement was that most Buffy fans already thought it was stupid and had no plans of seeing it. Buffy without her Scooby Gang (including Joss) won't work.

Another vote for Serenity. I never saw one minute of Firefly on TV, but thoroughly enjoyed Serenity. made me want to dig up the TV series.

Joss Whedon sounds whiney here. Esp. if he was given the opportunity to be a part of this film, and it didn't work out.

"wouldn't a successful Buffy movie be one more successful movie than Joss Whedon has ever had?" Posted by: Joe Banks

Sure, if you don't count that little movie "Toy Story".

Joss Whedon created the Buffy characters and storyline for the movie AND TV series out of whole cloth; and no "discussions" would have given him the creative control he deserves. Stan Lee (the co-creator), Kevin Feige, Joe Quesada, Jon Favreau, and any number of folks at Marvel and Disney who are stewards of the Avengers franchise APPROVED of his selection to write and direct the Avengers movie.

Nobody of any age, who has even heard of the Buffy TV series will pay to see this film. And Whedon still has media, publishing (Dark Horse comic books and graphic novels), and other conflicting rights--including TV rights with Fox. They could sue, as Fox did with less legitimacy in the case of "Watchmen." This flick, like the ill-advised remake of "The Stepfather," originally written and revised by the likes of the late Donald Westlake and Brian Garfield, who are brilliant--in contrast to the cameo actress with the great head shot, who in unprecedented fashion, is being paid to write the "new" Buffy screenplay.

Why not wait for Joss, and let him do a sequel, reuniting all of the "rights" with their creator? Something smells.

If Hollywood continues raping and pillaging the past: John Carpenter (Escape from New York; after ridiculous money-losing versions of Assault on Precinct 13 and The Fog), George Romero (The Crazies, by hack, Breck Eisner, son of Disney-despised ex-CEO, and now attached to "Escape from New York," as well as ad infinitum remakes of all of Romero's "Dead" films), Tom Holland (Fright Night), and Joss Whedon they will go the way of the music recording industry--which is extinction.

Noone could ever accomplish a Hitchcock film save Alfred Hitchcock, many examples prove that. Other examples are Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa and - Joss Whedon. You can learn from those people as an artist, you should never try to imitate them or, as in this case to exploit what they have created.

Joss Whedon suffered much from studios like Fox Television, the opportunities for Buffy spin offs, an Angel sixt season, a full run of Firefly, a run of Dollhouse during its first season how it artistically was intended - all of this, this great creative opportunities, were denied to him, and now the poor man has to stand and see how his ingenious and extraordinairy creation "Buffy" is ravaged and plundered by those .... people.


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