Why Joss Whedon is quiet about ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ reboot

buffy the vampire slayer cast without angel

You would have thought that after news broke again about a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot hitting television, Comic-Con 2018 would have been the place for creator Joss Whedon to discuss it. Whedon was there appearing on the Dr. Horrible panel, but nothing. No announcements at the con.

Simply put, the team behind the reboot is keeping their ear to the ground with fan reaction. This rumor has been around for years now, and fans of the cult hit have been very divided. We know how the pr machine works in Hollywood. You use the trade mags to slip out the story and build up the anticipation before announcing it at Comic-Con. We’re hearing that while it’s been reported that they’ll be shopping it this summer, don’t be shocked if things go very quiet.

Whedon is a very busy man, and his keeping quiet says volumes about the chances for a Buffy reboot coming anytime soon.

buffy vampire slayer with spike

Here’s the full reporting on what’s expected from the reboot:

Hellmouth residents may begin raising holy hell as news has broken that Joss Whedon’s beloved cult series Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting rebooted. I’m definitely on the fence about this one as Buffy was such a landmark show for television, and it just seems way too soon to be rebooting it. Maybe an original idea for a series perhaps while new fans can continue discovering this amazing series that launched offshoot Angel and David Boreanaz, who hasn’t stopped working since. Having Whedon behind the wheel keeps more on the positive side of the fence, and it will truly be all about casting the right actress to take on this multi-faceted role. It’s not an easy one.

This time around, Buffy to be played by a young woman of color, per The Hollywood Reporter. Whedon will executive-produce, with Monica Owusu-Breen (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) writing the pilot and serving as showrunner for the new series developed by 20th Century Fox Television.

Breen’s new script features a black actress playing the role of Buffy made famous by Sarah Michelle Gellar. (Yeah, yeah, Kristy Swanson originated the role in the 1992 feature film of the same name written by Whedon, but Gellar perfected it.) The new version of Buffy will be contemporary and feature a diverse cast. Like the original series, it will use its monsters and demons as metaphors for issues facing young people.

“Like our world, it will be richly diverse, and like the original, some aspects of the series could be seen as metaphors for issues facing us all today,” producers on the project told Deadline, which first reported news of the “Buffy” reboot.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally ran for seven seasons on The WB Network and UPN from 1997 to 2003. The story later continued in comic book form once the series ended.

Although the show has not yet found a network it can call home, 20th Century Fox Television will pitch the new, more inclusive Buffy to streaming and cable outlets later this summer. We have a hunch they’ll get some bites. Anne Rice landed Hulu for her Vampire Chronicles, so those biters are getting popular again.

No actors have been cast in the series reboot yet.

Midnight, Texas creator Monica Owusu-Breen has signed on to oversee the project along with penning the script. Director Joss Whedon, who created original series, will return to executive produce, but he has been helping on the script which should give Hellmouth fans some good news. Gail Berman, Joe Earley, Fran Kazui and Kaz Kazui (who produced Whedon’s original Buffy film that inspired the TV series) will also serve as exec producers on the potential series.

In addition to Gellar, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” catapulted the careers of actors David Boreanaz, Alyson Hannigan, Charisma Carpenter, Nicholas Brendon, James Marsters and Anthony Stewart Head.

In 2017, Whedon expressed some hesitation when it came to reviving or rebooting Buffy. “I see a little bit of what I call monkey’s paw in these reboots. You bring something back, and even if it’s exactly as good as it was, the experience can’t be. You’ve already experienced it, and part of what was great was going through it for the first time. You have to meet expectations and adjust it for the climate, which is not easily,” Whedon told the Hollywood Reporter. “Luckily most of my actors still look wonderful, but I’m not worried about them being creaky. I’m more worried about me being creaky as a storyteller. You don’t want that feeling that you should have left before the encore.”

It’s unclear if any of the original cast members will be part of the new project or if Whedon will take on any additional roles on the series as he also has the HBO series The Nevers. If you recall, juggling several shows didn’t work out so great when he had Buffy, Angel, and Firefly going at the same time.

david boreanaz with sarah michelle gellar buffy vampire slayer
David Boreanaz with Sarah Michelle Gellar

Is It Really Worth Rebooting A Classic Cult Series?

Personally, I don’t see the reason to reboot a show like Buffy as the original holds up today. While some may say that Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv show was a reboot, it was a reboot of a not so hot 1992 film (with Kristy Swanson as Buffy). For me, remakes should be of a film or tv series that had great potential but never quite reached it. It’s impossible to say that about this show. Some of the broad elements were implied in the show, but whatever in the film that didn’t fit into the Buffy canon was ignored. So, if Spider-Man keeps getting rebooted time and again with Tobey McGuire, Andrew Garfield and now Tom Holland, some will say it’s fine.

This is the issue. Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv show has frequently been cited as one of the best television series of all time which produced a very successful and satisfy spin-off with Angel. The comic book version is still going strong, and it will be hard for fans (myself included) to see anyone else playing Sarah Michelle Geller, David Boreanaz and Alyson Hannigan.

While some can argue that Star Trek did it, but that was 40 years later. Buffy has hit 20 years now, plus it’s much easier to see than Star Trek was during that time. Are the producers planning to recreate many of the same storylines that made Buffy so memorable? I can only hope not as that is just lazy.

riff regan playing willow in buffy vampire slayer pilot
Riff Regan as Willow in unaired pilot for Buffy the Vampire Slayer

One pro is the diversity the reboot team wants to bring in, but if that’s the only reason why they are doing this, why? Just to say ‘hey, we’re with the times?’ Unless you plan on creating new characters that are diverse, just plopping in a diverse cast into the same roles seems a waste of time and money. The core cast was defined by the actors playing them. One great example would be to check the original unaired pilot which had Riff Regan playing Willow before Alyson Hannigan took over the role.

While none of us know what Joss Whedon has in mind, maybe they are thinking about Buffy not set in this time period. Maybe a prequel style thing, but the only thing that has me nervous is that Whedon hasn’t stated much, and we don’t know if he’ll continue on with the show if it sells. Maybe they want to use some of the storylines from the comics.

My final question is that if Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot happens, can we expect another brilliantly memorable musical episode or The Body?