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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Is ‘Buffy’ without Joss Whedon the worst idea ever?

Hollywood took a cue from the White House and sent its bad news out into the world on a day when no one would be paying attention. On Memorial Day, The Hollywood Reporter slipped this onto the Net:

A new incarnation of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” could be coming to the big screen.

“Buffy” creator Joss Whedon isn’t involved and it’s not set up at a studio, but Roy Lee and Doug Davison of Vertigo Entertainment are working with original movie director Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband, Kaz Kuzui, on what is being labeled a remake or relaunch, but not a sequel or prequel.

Because that original movie was so awesome, and like totally deserves a reboot!

But wait — there’s more:

Vertigo and Kuzui are looking to restart the story line without trampling on the beloved existing universe created by Whedon, putting the parties in a similar situation faced by Paramount, J.J. Abrams and his crew when relaunching “Star Trek.”

One key difference: The original Trek didn’t suck.

One of the underlying ideas of “Buffy” allows Vertigo and Kuzui to do just that: that each generation has its own vampire slayer to protect it. The goal would be to make a darker, event-sized movie that would, of course, have franchise potential.

Oh, god, they’re trying to get on the Twilight bandwagon, aren’t they?

EW’s blog The Ausiello Files reached Whedon to get his reaction to the news. His response? “I hope it’s cool.”

Is Buffy without Joss Whedon the worst idea ever? Or take the corollary, if you like: Who could possibly reboot Buffy and make it worth watching?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me.)

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  • marshall

    My initial reaction is yea… this is gonna suck. When I started thinking about it, there IS potential to do something else, another storyline, another time etc. However, I still feel like something like this is way to soon. I think you need to sit on a IP for a bit until there is a new generation of people who aren’t familiar with Buffy before you try and ‘reboot’ it. I mean, we Gen-X’ers now make up a major part of the pop-culture consumer population – we’re going to automatically compare it to the original IP even if you don’t want us to.

  • Jesus

    The idea of a future/past movie would be alright, I could get behind that, IF Whedon was part of it. But if they don’t do that (Or getting the entire cast together, as well as Joss) it may very well be the worst idea ever.

  • Anne-Kari

    Oh, sigh. The original movie was pretty bad, but I became a huge, nerdy fan of the tv series. I just loved it – loved it when it was cheesy, loved it when it was genuinely funny, loved it when it was surprisingly serious and moving. Loved it so much I was willing to forgive some of the terribly weak episodes – and when it when it got really bad toward the end.

    But unlike most of Buffy fans, I just don’t care if they remake it in a movie. If I really feel like a new movie would somehow sully my own personal experience of the “Buffyverse”, I just won’t bother seeing it. Who know, maybe they will be able to make something new and interesting. Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter to me.

  • Yeah, it definitely looks like it’s going to be painful and sucky. If you want to make a new Buffy movie, for The Master’s sake why not have Joss Whedon do it? *headdesk*

  • Ryan

    Reboot? Fine. Don’t involve any old the original cast on TV? Fine. Probably a wise decision. But to not automatically involve Joss Whedon is almost sacrilegious.

    Plus as they say why make it into a Buffy movie anyways? Why not make a movie about a slayer pre- or post-Buffy? Why risk comparing yourself to the beloved TV show? I mean do they think they actually will get the fans of the show to see their movie without Joss? They must be crazy if they think that.

    Ultimately, it’s not the end of the world yet. They say having Joss involved is not off the table so there’s hope yet and who knows this reboot might be a good thing. Maybe.

  • JoshB

    “I hope it’s cool.”

    That’s a very Jossian response.

    I also hope it’s cool. It won’t be.

    And they got the director of the first Buffy movie? Argh, why not just get Paul Anderson or Uwe Boll and be done with it?

    This sounds like it could displace the Broderick Godzilla as my most hated movie of all time.

  • David

    Ooh, ooh- can we do a “Friends” nonboot next?

  • Leslie Carr

    I can see the potential here, but perhaps on the small screen:

    “Is there Buffy on Mars?” – because even the 1970s need a slayer.
    “Ashes to Buffy” – I mean, dang, someone has to drag 1980s fashion back from Hellmouth.

  • D

    “Why not make a movie about a slayer pre- or post-Buffy?” My thoughts exactly. Why don’t they make a story about one of any of the thousands of slayers there were since the dawn of time till Buffy? Hell, how about a Faith film?( yeah, Eliza Dushku is busy, but still)…
    And the movie (if it ever abandons development hell, where it should stay) will probably suck. I mean, don’t they remember how few people liked both the original film and the tv show? And they hired the same fucking director? WTF?
    God, I hope they don’t try to duplicate the Angel/Buffy romance. It will look like cheap twilight knockoff(“ohh… a vampire and a human girl), and it wasn’t till season 2 that it got ineresting anyway. Even if your not a Spuffy, you gotta admit the Buffy/Spike relationship was more interesting as a whole(heck, even Riley was, till he went all emo on us). Also, can’t they even bother to involve one of the series writers, like Drew Godberd or someone? They gonna try to get all serious and dramatic, and remove the witty dialog, which was always one of the series strongest points. Or else they’ll try to introduce typical Hollywood “humour”…
    You know, I could never stomach you xers bitching about your childhood memories being raped by Hollywood, but those were YOUR childhood memories. First Dragonball, now this. Sight…

  • D

    You know, Joss reminds me of Michael Moore saying “I hope it’s funny” about “An american carol”…

  • Victor Plenty

    First Dragonball, now this.



    Great googly moogly!

    I had to read that several times before my brain could accept its existence, but now… thanks for the best laugh I’ve had in some while.

  • LaliR.

    A buffy movie with no SMG or Whedon is not a Buffy movie.

  • D

    Please, Victor Plenty, do care to explain.

  • PaulW

    This isn’t like taking Star Trek away from Gene Roddenberry… ’cause he passed away in 1991, and the Trek franchise had been taken over by others since then (Moore, Berman, Braga) and who promptly over-saturated the market with distilled spin-offs until the series went kaput and the studio handed the product over to Abrams. The problem is that Joss Whedon is still alive, and Buffy is for the most part his baby regardless of the Kuzuis’ early film… and wasn’t it because the Kuzuis mangled Whedon’s script with a hideously weak film that he tried promoting the t.v. version on his own…? So why make a movie based on a popular franchise without any input from the guy who made it the popular franchise it is? It’d be like making a live-action version of Spirited Away without Miyazaki’s input. It’d be like making a t.v. series based on Pulp Fiction without securing any plot ideas from Tarantino. It’d be like re-making the Star Wars prequels but with Kevin Smith directing… them… hey wait that’s not a bad idea there…

  • Paul

    I enjoyed the first movie, but the TV show was so much better that the only reason I can think that they don’t want Whedon to do this new movie is that while Whedon is the superior artist, his works aren’t pulling down the megabucks they might be dreaming off. Sure, Whedon’s making money, but not JK Rowling money. Whedon makes the kind of art that requires a particular sort of personality to appreciate.

    So if those two money grubbers hire a good writer/director team and back off, it might not be a bad idea. Then Whedon can join the ranks of great writers with lousy business instincts like Neil Simon (I think he’s the guy I’m thinking of) who wrote “the Odd Couple” and sold it for a flat fee($250,000) instead of royalties so never saw another dollar again.

  • Victor Plenty

    D, humor is often difficult to explain. I suppose the part of your comment that I quoted struck me as funny because it seemed to be comparing apples to oranges. Or, perhaps, comparing things even more unrelated to each other than apples are to oranges.

  • Shadowen

    It’s gonna suck.

    But then, the original movie did too, so eh.

    I would have to disagree with you on Star Trek, MaryAnn: the original series did, for the most part suck, aside from a few moments of total brilliance.

    Not unlike the original Buffy film. (I still giggle with the scene where the principal hands out detention to all the vamps Buffy staked.)

    I tend to be on the side of Michael Caine. Why remake a good movie or TV series? It’s already been done well. Remake a bad one, because if the idea’s sound, maybe it just wasn’t done well enough last time. Everyone loves a come-from-behind story.

    I doubt it will be an alternate universe, strictly speaking. An alternate universe in the way you were inferring implies some sort of temporal disturbance that splits the timelines at a critical moment. We’re more likely to get a re-imagining.

    As for darker and more cinematic…hell, the TV series was darker and more cinematic than the original film. I read that as “putting it into line with the tone of the series”. The film was camp; the series was low-budget action-horror-dramedy.

    So go ahead. Remake the original Buffy film. Touch the series…well, maybe you can have the middle nine episodes of the first season–you and the fandom will have words.

  • D

    I wasn’t comparing them in terms of quality or style. I was saying that both of the were shows that I loved (DB on my childhood, Buffy on my teen years), and both of them are going to get the Hollywood treatment. Something that so far only you xers and up( I am assuming that you are that, I apolagise if I’m wrong) had got a taste of until now.
    And it’s not like it’s the first time the two were mentioned to getter. Hello, James Marsters as Picollo…

  • Victor Plenty

    D, you didn’t need to compare them in terms of quality or style. The simple suddenness of the comparison was part of what made me laugh, I suspect.

    Another factor was its brevity. It reminds me of the lightning-fast quips that always get me laughing on RiffTrax and its predecessor, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

    Whatever caused it, my laughter was merely a spontaneous reaction, not intended as any critique of your ideas.

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