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“Ladies and gentlemen, there is no cause for alarm. Actually, there is cause for alarm. It just won’t do any good….”Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “The Harvest

Apparently while I was otherwise occupied with work, a feast, and a new baby “niece,” the Whedonverse was exploding from a bombshell.

So here’s the news as I understand it.

Here’s my thing:

If the WB thinks that they’re going to attract a large amount of BTVS TV fans to this new movie, they are hugely delusional. Fans of the TV show are fans of Joss’s version, Joss’s writing, and Joss’s direction (not to mention specific actors). Many Buffy fans have gone on to follow Joss’s other work. They are not just Buffy fans, they are Joss fans. So a Joss-less Buffy just does not compute, and they’re not going to support it.

The hard-core fans that are prolific social media contributors, the ones that any film or franchise should really love to have on their side, are going to be vehemently against it. Many fans of the original Buffy movie have been won over to this camp. So if they think they’re going to get the pure nostalgia fans, I think they’re going to find the pool has been severely depleted.

HOWEVER…

I think what they can get is a new generation of potential fans. Those who are too young to have seen the TV show during the height of its popularity, who haven’t yet been evangelized by the hard-core fans. And here I’m speaking about teeny-boppers, and maybe those a little older. In a best-case scenario, this new movie would capture some of the Twilight crowd and convert them to Buffy fans.

The good news of this scenario is that if the movie really captured them, they’d go in search of more Buffy-ness, and find the TV show. The high-quality fans among this group would find the TV show clever and compelling, and we’d add more and younger numbers to the BTVS fan army.  Sweet!

Here’s the problem with this scenario: For many who haven’t yet seen the TV show, the name “Buffy” carries a bit of a geeky stigma. Your average teeny-bopper, if they are aware of Buffy, might not be as open to it as Warner might hope. So I’m not sure that getting a small percentage of the Twilight groupies is really worth Warner’s investment in this movie.

Personally, I’m looking at this like the new Yogi Bear 3D disaster, and all the other recent remakes and reboots of 80s/90s icons. It doesn’t count. I don’t support the idea. I’m not going to pay to see it. If we’re lucky, it will come across better than the Fame reboot, and if we’re really really lucky, it will reach the level of the Star Trek reboot (I’m not holding my breath). It won’t be canonical. It won’t be “true” Buffy. But it might net the fandom a few new members.

One thing I really hope, though, is that none of the Buffy TV cast buy into it. I kind of think they’re all uber-loyal to Joss though, so I doubt it’s likely. So far, the stars that have responded have not been supportive of the idea – scoffing might be most descriptive of their reactions. However some folks can be lured with dollar-signs during dry spells.

I’m not going to get hysterical over it. It’s a crying shame, for sure. But there’s nothing we can do about it. I’ll leave Joss to his pain, keep my money in my pocket, and hope for the best.

Also, I’m incredibly skeptical about the writer, Whit Anderson. Apparently she’s my age – she was Buffy’s age when the show was airing. That’s very weird for me. Would I, as a fan, feel comfortable rewriting something as iconic as Buffy? A world of no. I’m having terrible visions of glorified fanfiction come to life on the big screen. My wiggins could not be any bigger.

Some articles about the whole uncomfortable situation:

Notable quotes:
“Anyone casually browsing Twitter at silly o’ clock last night would be forgiven for thinking a hell mouth had opened under our feet as the internet came close to breaking point under mass geek outrage at the news a Buffy reboot is storming ahead without Joss Whedon…”
SFX, Read more: Tweets of the Week: Reactions to that Buffy reboot news from the stars

“We’s all heard the rumours, and hoped that’s all they were. But no. Warners Bros is going ahead with a new Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie without the involvement of creator Joss Whedon. Instead some actress called Whit Anderson (she was in Yes Man) is writing the script, thus immediately becoming a candidate for a) the most hated woman on the internet and b) the bravest woman in showbusiness.” – SFX, Read more: Buffy The Vampire Slayer Movie Going Ahead Without Whedon

“Okay, the immediate reaction to Warner Bros moving ahead with a Buffy movie without Joss Whedon is to an immitation of Darth Vader at the end of Revenge Of The Sith (minus the stacked soles). The second reaction is to try to tell yourself, “give ’em a chance, it may not be utter crud.” But however pragmatic you try to be, it just seems downright insulting not to have Joss on board in some way.” – SFX, Read more: Buffy Movie: Joss Whedon’s Reaction

“I think it’s a mistake. They have to reach a whole completely new fanbase, and we already have that fanbase. So it’s going to really be hard to do that. But you know everyone – they remade The Flintstones. Twice, I think.” – Nicholas Brendan via Contactmusic.com

“It’s a very big mistake in my opinion. I mean, if Joss isn’t involved, it’s only the title…. (I wouldn’t go back) not without Joss. Joss is the only reason that we would go back. I mean, it’s just ridiculous to think of that TV show without Joss. That’s just silly to me. And all the fans know that, too, so I don’t know what they’re thinking.” – Alyson (Hannigan) Denisof, on Cinemablend.com

“I wouldn’t want to see it, no…. The Kuzuis didn’t do a great job on the movie the first time around. It was Joss’ script at the age of 19, but they changed a lot of it. They said, ‘Look, we know best and we know how to make this movie,’ and it became quite schlocky and high camp….The bottom line is if a movie was ever to be made, it should be made with Joss Whedon, whether it’s a retrospective or not. But it would be madness to do it without him. [The Kazuis] have the rights to because they have the rights to the original movie, but it should be interesting to see. It may be a bit like watching a car wreck.” – Anthony Stewart Head, via Moviehole.com

From The Man, Himself:
Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, “Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER.” Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, “I’ll make a mint! This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!” Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?

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. I can’t wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I’m making a Batman movie. Because there’s a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.

Leave me to my pain!

Sincerely, Joss Whedon.
E! Online Article

And support from the Twitterverse:

“#Buffy without #Joss… SO WRONG!” – @jaugustrichards

“Apparently, they’re rebooting ‘Buffy’ w/out Joss Whedon: I told him that asking to play the title role would frighten the Studio Execs.” – @amber_benson

“I think Joss’s reaction is perfect — I can’t add anything new.” – @Jane Espenson

“I want to reassure all Americans that I’m taking the threat of a new “Buffy” movie without Joss Whedon seriously.” – @ShadowFTC

I'm with JoJo

"My stance on the Joss-less BUFFY remake." - @BrianLynch

Hart Hanson & David Boreanaz

"I just informed DB that they are remaking Buffy."- @harthanson

From the Blogosphere: