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Although word of a Buffy: The Vampire Slayer (film) reboot had made the rounds a few months back, not much news about the intended project had been heard, save for the fact that Joss Whedon, the man behind the original film (yes, it was a movie before it was a show), would not be involved. For any of the show's many, many fans, that news was enough to brand the project an outcast/outrage against the original cast and crew.
Now, Atlas Entertainment (by way of Charles Roven, executive producer of Batman Begins) and Warner Bros. have announced that the “Buffy” reboot is officially on and yes, Joss Whedon is still not involved. No word on who is directing the film, but Whit Anderson (who?) will be writing the script for what is being described as an “updated” Buffy.
Needless to say, the topic of casting hasn't been broached yet because let's face it, save for getting Sarah Michelle Gellar again (not going to happen, don't even dream), there's nobody that can hold a candle to her and Whedon's take on the Buffy character (you know, the original take). While not a die-hard Buffy fan (though I have plenty of friends who are), I've seen enough and know enough of its pop-cultural impact to know that kind of lightning rarely strikes twice.
On a side note, it has been really, really hard not to make a “fans sharpening stakes” pun up until this point. Though the likelihood is high that they are in fact doing so and headed for L.A.
Anderson notes how she is aware that die-hard fans are wary of bringing Buffy Summers back to the screen in a different form, though wary is a bit of an understatement. The word “pissed” springs to mind when thinking of the fans' general reaction. Anderson is quick to point out to the L.A. Times how Christopher Nolan's revival of the Batman mythos was a brilliant and successful take on an old tale made new. While she's right, let's clear the air on a few things.
One, Ms. Anderson, you nor anyone involved currently with the reboot project, are not Christopher Nolan. Two, the “Batman” series has been around for several decades and could use a face lift time and again versus the “Buffy” series one decade. Third and last, you just don't move on a such a project when the creator, whose name is near synonymous with the show, has not given you his complete blessing.
Which Whedon has not, in his way. Shortly after the news broke, Whedon gave his reaction to E! Entertainment in only the manner that Joss Whedon can.
“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. 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.”
Funny, biting, critical and self-depreciating all in one response? That's the kind of charm that came with the series, one that many believe will be near impossible to replicate, if that's even what Anderson and co. are aiming for. Suffice to say, all the backlash could serve as the best form of free press for the project and whether or not the final print (if it gets that far) is a bomb or not, all of the buzz just goes to show how Whedon's flagship series still holds it's ground in the industry as an icon to cult fandom, let alone pop culture.