Upcoming Buffy Movie Not Written by Joss Whedon; Panic and Rage Ensue

All of western civilization is UP IN ARMS over the fact that the upcoming brand spankin’ new Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie will not be written by Joss Whedon. It will instead be written by Whit Anderson, who just happens to be a ladyperson and not Joss Whedon. Not Joss Whedon watched Joss Whedon’s version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on teevee in the golden days of her youth and was super into how the character of Buffy was portrayed: smart, capable, ASS-KICKING, but “also allowed to be feminine.” (<– not touching that one.)

The ‘reboot’ (such a missed opportunity to use ‘revamp’) is being compared to Christopher Nolan’s slick take on the Batman franchise, in that it’ll keep the basic themes of destiny, love and sacrifice, but in a more modern setting with probs mind-blowing special effects, etc.

So basically what you’ve got here is a young woman who was a fan of a show as a teenager, grew up, honed her skills as a screenwriter (hopefully), and is now rethinking the show’s angle by putting together what might be the ultimate fanfic. And like, people are super pissed. There are hashtags on twitter and everything.

Here’s what I think: Joss Whedon is an epic genius / can do no wrong. Was he on our list of people who can do no wrong? Maybe he should’ve been. Joss Whedon gave us Buffy! Willow and Tara! Dr. Horrible! River Fucking Tam! HOWEVER, Joss Whedon also gave us Dawn, brought Buffy back to life for season six, took away Spike’s badness and killed Wash, which no, I am still not over.

I’m disappointed in everyone’s immediate hissyfit over Whit Anderson. I get it – I do – Buffy is Joss’s heartsoulbrainchild and I loved the original movie SO MUCH and the television series (after I bought the boxed set a few years ago because I was obvs wayyy too cool for vampires in the nineties) (I was also too cool for Dawson’s Creek, which is a mountain of regret we’ll discuss another day) but, I mean, did you read the season eight comics? Those were written by Joss Whedon and they were kind of crazy.

While I don’t usually condone supporting someone based strictly on their gender, I kind of do in this case. What will Buffy’s story look like through the brain of a woman who’s loved the series for years and years? I don’t know and I’d kinda like to find out. I think it’s good to give someone a chance to fuck up before you yell at them about not being Joss Whedon, you know? Go see Avengers on it’s opening weekend – that’s a solid way of showing your Whedon support. Ok now it’s your turn to tell me how stupid / wrong I am! Or we could just list our favorite River Tam quotes. It’s up to you guys.

ETA: Just found this, had to share obvs:

um shup up that's adorable

Laneia is the Executive Editor and founding member of Autostraddle, and you're the reason she's here.

Laneia has written 925 articles for us.

71 Comments

  1. “Jayne is a girl’s name.”
    “Also, I can kill you with my brain.”

    Le Sigh. Trash is such a good episode.

    While at first I was mad and disappointed about the reboot, and still kinda am, I too am curious about it. I hope Whit Anderson won’t let the characters down because they’re too great to be treated poorly. But… at the same time, I *kinda* wish that it fails miserably so that we can ponder about how great it would’ve been with Joss at the helm.

  2. “I swallowed a bug”

    “He looks better in red.”

    I kind of just wish people could leave things alone. If a movie is wonderful and has a great ending, why does it need a sequel? I get that people want to see more of their favorite characters, but that’s what actual fanfic is for.

  3. Finally. I am so glad I came upon this article. Everyone else is screaming their head off at what an atrocity it is to have Buffy not helmed by Joss. I am actually interested in what this Whit chic has to offer. I also grew up on Buffy and I also write. I can relate to the desire to be able to play with your favorite character.

  4. It’s no secret that I’ve tried to convert pretty much everyone that I’ve met into as big of a Buffy fan(atic) as I am… I also realize that several of the cast members are against the remake/vamp. But if this movie actually gets made/makes it to theatres, I’d certainly be interested to watch someone else’s take on Buffy & the Scoobies. Especially someone who grew up loving the show like I did.

    Maybe Joss Whedon can do no wrong, but does that really have to mean that “Not Joss Whedon” can’t get it right?

    P.S. – SPOILER ALERT? – Joss killed Anya… So I for one wouldn’t say that he can do no wrong!

  5. 1) how could you possibly resist saying revamp???

    2) I will watch the progress of the project (and eventually the film) with a careful eye I suppose. I just feel uncomfortable about an unknown rookie writer taking this project on. Fan or not, this script will be beat down by hollywood producers trying to make it sparkly like Twilight.

    My opinions on this sort of echo those comments in the LA Times article. I feel it is way too soon to redo. The show is not that out of date yet. It’s nothing like Batman, which was a comic book hero that has had tons of iterations. The fans will not take changing the Buffyverse well. I am keeping in mind that every time a popular book or comic becomes a show or movie, hardcore fans always go nuts. So, I won’t do that regarding this attempt. But I will keep a critical eye on it. I’m not accepting “eagerly anticipating” the film.

    I also don’t know how Not Joss Whedon got the job as she has no writing credits to her name. She does apparently have a headshot in circulation.

  6. I’m grudgingly keeping my judgmental mind a tiny bit open, but I’m leery. Mainly because this *isn’t* a writer who’s honed her skills, this is a woman who has NO writing credits to date taking on a recent, beloved, but historically uncelebrated franchise. If there’s not a person at the helm who can push through a clear vision, the movie is way too likely to succumb to focus-group blandification, and end up with sparkling vampires or retconning from hell.

    My broader fear is that if the movie tanks, it’ll be that much harder to do another revamp of the Buffy-verse, which would be a loss. A lot of people love Buffy, and a lot more people are willing to cite it as an influence these days, but I remember during the original run, when the Emmys largely disdained any acknowledgement of the series other than technical awards. Is Buffy big enough to warrant many attempts? I think so, but I don’t know if studio backers agree.

  7. “Bible’s broken; contradictions, false logistics. Doesn’t make sense.”

    “…His brains are in terrible danger…”
    Book: River, please. Why don’t you come on out?
    River: No! Can’t. Too much hair.

  8. Argh! Since everyone listed my favorite River Tam quotes already, I’ll just quote one of my favorite pieces of dialogue in the show.

    “A psychic, though? It sounds like something out of science fiction.”
    “We live in a spaceship, dear.”
    “So?”

  9. I’m not happy about this at all!
    If it were not for the fact that vampires sell these days, this would not even had been considered. It’s all about the money, and I have no doubt that even with all the Buffy fans rage about this, all the brainless Twilighters will run to the cinema to watch this rip-off, and make the phonies a lot of cash anyway.
    No Joss Whedon, and no original cast, means it is not Buffy! Hell, I wouldn’t have cared for no Joss if it at least had the cast! But now it’s just another vampire movie, using the Buffy name.

    And if Whit is such a fan that she claims to be, she would have stayed the hell away from this.
    But she’s nothing but an unknown, trying to make a name for herself riding the Buffy/vampire wave. No respect there!

    I hope this movie flops so bad it hurts! I’ll maybe watch it out of curiosity when it comes out, but I’m not gonna support it with even a cent of my money.

  10. I have never, ever, ever watched an episode of Buffy.

    Am I a bad lesbian/geek/human?

    I think it’s just because… you know… I loved that movie so much. I mean…. Kristy Swanson. I was basically in love with her and her pink tights/training montage.

  11. I’m just going to celebrate a genre movie starring a lady. Obviously, I have no idea what a Buffy movie without Joss Whedon would look like, but I’m not going to assume it would be terrible. In his post-Buffy career, he hasn’t exactly inspired confidence with Dollhouse or Dr. Horrible, in my opinion.

    And sometimes reboots are amazing: Star Trek, Sarah Connor Chronicles, the first three seasons of Battlestar Galactica, etc. So, I’m reserving judgement, but thankful that there is still some interest in girl-centric movies.

    • But consider this:

      Star Trek – based off a TV show that aired in the 60s and various movies from the 60s-80s
      Battlestar Galactica – based off a TV show that aired in the 70s-80s
      Sarah Connor Chronicles – based off a movie franchise with the first film opening in 1984. Also is a continuation of the original rather than a reboot

      Contrast with Buffy, which started airing in 1997 and which still continues through comics. It’s beyond ridiculous in my mind to reboot a franchise that is so (relatively) new.

      • I can’t really figure out who the target demo is for a new Buffy. The CW has tried to build a network out of remade 90s tv with some success (90210, Nikita), so it’s possible 13 year olds would be interested. I do think it would make more sense to wait another five or ten years before rebooting the franchise.

  12. If you don’t like Anya you haven’t seen “The Body”.I’m glad that everyone has joined in my outrage at every movie that isn’t written by Joss Whedon, like “Harry Potter Movie Not Written by Joss Whedon- Public Demands Answers”. There should be a disclaimer on every movie not written by Joss Whedon, akin to “coffee will burn you” on cups, just so the public is fully aware that this movie isn’t written by Joss Whedon and lawsuits are thus prevented.
    also… “No power in the ‘verse can stop me”

  13. Buffy’s already been written thru the eyes of a woman many, many times. Her name is Jane Espenson and she’s my fav Buffy writer after Whedon. We don’t need some “hip fan fiction” by an unknown.

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  15. “I threw up in your bed.”

    I have lots of feelings about this. HOWEVS I’m going to be reserving my Whedon-biased judgments for when there’s more info about cast and story and stuff. Clearly it won’t be the same Buffy we are so very fond of and attached to, and maybe that’s a bad thing, but it could also be interesting maybe a little bit I’m sleepy?

  16. My only issue with Buffy being made into a film (again), is that.. Buffy ended. It finished, and was beautiful and poignant, and formed this amazing symbol of women sharing their power with each other, and was done. How many TV shows get that chance? Even with the Season 8 comics, the end of Season 7 felt like a proper ending. The idea of bringing it all out again, (particularly so soon).. kinda urks me.

    But who knows, maybe it’ll be awesome? Or maybe I can just ignore it. I want more Firefly. Why can’t they bring that back (again)? Serenity was totes not enough of an ending.

  17. No offense, but if you don’t like it, can’t you just not watch it? Like, I think the Americanized version of Skins is going to be bad, and hence I probably won’t watch it. It’s existence doesn’t negate the existence of the original British version.

    And honestly, I am in favor of any Buffy appearance, even if it’s non-Whedon Buffy. I mean, when’s the last time you saw a film where there was a female main character (that was not a romantic comedy)? Seriously. Name the last female-fronted film you saw and the date you saw it on. I’m curious.

    • Yeah, but the internet exists, so we can also *whine* about it! Duh. The internet is for complaining (& porn).

      I would call The Kids Are All Right a drama instead of a rom-com but if you don’t count that ummm I watched Heathers a week or so ago (but I don’t really disagree with you, there aren’t as many women as men on our big and small screens and it bites).

    • omg pacey / joey forever!

      but seriously, this is tough news to swallow. i just hope whit takes it in a completely new direction (like Joss did vs. the original movie), such that it’s positively incomparable to the show. oh who am i kidding, that’s impossible. there’s no way this is going to do Buffy justice, unless she takes all the awesomeness of Becoming and Band Candy and Hush and the Body and Something Blue and ups it by 1000 Once More With Feelings. can she do that???

  18. i kind of think buffy should have ended after season 5 because the finale was SO FUCKING GOOD but also i’m thankful for 2 extra seasons, so. i can’t imagine a movie being made out of it, especially if it’s not the same actors, but also i’ve never seen the original movie. i don’t know, i probably won’t see it, but only because i never go to the movies anymore.

  19. I am coming back to comment more usefully later/read other people’s feelings, but let me just say: the reason I am very pissed off about this is that Whit Anderson was an athletic student council president — you know, the exact opposite of someone who was an outcast in high school, which is what the show is grounded in and what it’s about. And yet she thinks she has the ability to tell these people’s stories, because the experience of the dominant group is universal, right? I wonder where I’ve heard that theory before. Oh yes, everywhere.

    So while it’s great that she’s like, female and whatever, I was a Bronzer and BtVS changed my life, and as far as I’m concerned this thing does not exist. The end.

  20. I really don’t know how I feel about this. I love the show SO MUCH. I don’t think I can stand to see a reboot, especially one without the original cast (of the tv show).
    Also, I’m wondering where they are going to go with this? Because the ending of season seven wrapped it up so completely, even with the season eight comics (which, though I enjoy them, feel like a weird afterthought), it feels done, so unless they go back and redo earlier high school/university years, I just don’t understand what they’ll do.
    I guess I’ll see it, but I’m not expecting much.
    And if they twilightize it, I am going to go down to hollywood and shoot everyone.

  21. “if wishes were horses we’d all be eating steak”

    “were there monkeys? some terrifying space monkeys maybe got loose?”

    “i shaved my beard off for you, devil woman!”

    now i need to go back and watch episodes 1-12 of firefly on netflix. also cry.

    WASH IS DEAD YOU GUYS

  22. The reason I’m ticked off is because the Buffy fan community has wanted a movie forever, and Joss is still alive as is the rest of the cast. He always said he was willing to do a movie if the stars aligned. So, this is a huge missed opportunity. And I think the movie studio just didn’t want to pay Joss Whedon and the rest of the cast.

    This isn’t a reboot of the TV show Buffy, but the movie which was a flop. Joss basically disowned the movie because it was nothing he envisioned.

    For the record, I like Dawn, chipped Spike, and the Season 8 comics.

  23. “They weren’t cows inside. They were waiting to be, but they forgot. Now they see sky and they remember what they are.”

    I can hardly believe that one wasn’t posted yet! ;)

    Regarding the revamp, at first I was extremely disgruntled. If anyone were to ask me what my passions are, my immediate answer is BTVS/the Whedonverse. I can’t imagine anybody successfully augmenting the legacy of the TV series (I am not a fan of the original movie, which for what it’s worth isn’t EXACTLY a Joss Whedon production.) Some people have the right idea (IMO, obviously) with their reaction – the idea of a BUFFY re-boot isn’t ideal, but the idea of a new SLAYER…that is something else entirely. Either way I will definitely be in theaters when this comes out & after giving it about a week, I’m feeling supportive of Whit Anderson. As an intense fan, if I had the skill & ambition I would likely be thinking like she is.

    The series is so ingrained in me that I can’t imagine being satisfied with a new cast (another reason why a Buffy SPIN-OFF rather than reboot would be more appropriate – new SLAYER, c’mon), it’s like how I enjoy Law and Order: SVU but don’t like Law and Order: Criminal Intent. I love Buffy, I enjoy Faith, I am sure I would enjoy new-slayer-X.

    (For all Veronica Mars lovers out there – somewhat parallel series, it would be like pulling in some new chick & calling her Veronica in a different setting, you just can’t. Alternatively it would work fantastically with a new cast & new characters.)

    In response to the comic books “sucking” – realize the comic verse is purposefully worlds different. So many other comments above I’d like to agree with (i.e. Anya & The Body.) This comment could go on forever, so I’ll cut it. ;)

  24. Youre curious to see what a woman can do with the buffy? are you aware that marti Noxon is female and was co producer for buffy for a long ass time? … k

    Im a hoge fan of both Buffy and Angel, have been since the day it came out. have the comic books, and box sets for both series. I will NOT be watching this movie because its going to be a bucket of crap. now.. some of you may be wondering if im bitter about the fact that Joss and the original cast will be absent from thsi move…

    … the answer is YES. -_-

  25. You’ve given me new perspective, Laneia.

    Originally, I have to say that my feelings fell within the majority. The whole “No Joss, No Dice” mentality. But you’re right. If this young woman was a fan of the show and is simply recreating (nothing about the movie is going to be the same as the series, except for the character of Buffy to the best of my understanding) the original concept, I’ll totally pay attention when the movie comes out. I would kill for the opportunity Whit Anderson has been offered.

  26. There’s some misinformation in this article: The original Buffy The Vampire Slayer MOVIE is being remade, NOT the TV show. FOX only owns the rights to the characters in the original theatrical film. So you can all stop worrying that Ms. Anderson is going to ruin our beloved characters, none of them will be there! Not even the Buffy that everyone knows.

    Joss turned the project down because it was a rehash of a project that didn’t come out the way he envisioned it the first time around. [And, one presumes, that he couldn’t continue with the other characters he created.]

    The problem with getting any TRUE Buffy/Angel project off the ground is buying the portion of the rights back from Kuzui, the Japanese company that staked him in the TV series. They know there’s a lot of money at stake (no pun intended), and are going to ask for an arm and a fang (okay, yeah, pun this time) for the release. Or worse… they’ll want in on the production.

    FOX is hoping to trade in on the name and start a new franchise. As well as hoping that no one ever goes on the Internet or watches TV to find out that this project bears almost NO resemblance to the series.

    • Okay, my info was a little bit off. [That’s what I get for trying to write from memory.] The Kuzui’s are a couple that own the rights to Buffy and have since the beginning. Apparently, THEY’RE the ones pushing the new Buffy project forward and FOX is on-board.

      I haven’t found any information about the rights to the characters created in the TV series. Their either held by Sanddollar or by Whedon himeself. Either way, no one can argue with Joss not wanting to be a part of this unless he has complete control (over the universe he created).

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