Ironically, I think that the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" that many of us love dearly is, technically speaking, a reboot.
The thing is, the first exposure we had to "Buffy" was the film released by 20th Century Fox, and although Joss Whedon was the screenwriter of that film, he was deeply unhappy with the fillm itself, and given the chance to refigure the property as a television show, he took a shot at it.
The result remains one of my favorite TV shows. Sure, there were bum episodes and even a few rough seasons, but throughout its entire run, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" was a model for what TV could be, and when you look at the landscape of great television today, I would argue that much of what is being done right now is built on the work that Whedon was doing. He took genre seriously, and instead of just dealing with a monster a week, he realized early on that he could use the horror to amplify the drama already inherent to high school and college, a period of constant turbulence for many young people. The show dealt in big bold metaphor, and it did it well. There was a great sense of humor to it all, and yet the show was able to push into some jet-black areas when it wanted to, a heady combination.
Now Warner Bros. has confirmed something that has been rumored for a while now, and here's the press release that showed up here at HitFix headquarters just a little while ago:
Atlas Entertainment announced today it is rebooting the beloved franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Warner Bros. Pictures. Atlas’ Charles Roven and Steve Alexander will produce the feature film alongside Doug Davison and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment (The Ring, How to Train Your Dragon, The Departed). Whit Anderson is writing the script.
Warner Bros. Pictures optioned the rights from creators Fran and Kaz Kuzui, and from Sandollar Productions (Sandy Gallin and Dolly Parton), for Atlas and Vertigo to produce. Buffy the Vampire Slayer first appeared as a film in 1992, subsequently becoming a cult hit and spawning the wildly popular television series starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz, among many others.
“Whit approached us with an exciting idea about how to update Buffy,” said Roven. “There is an active fan base eagerly awaiting this character’s return to the big screen. We’re thrilled to team up with Doug and Roy on a re-imagining of Buffy and the world she inhabits. Details of the film are being kept under wraps, but I can say while this is not your high school Buffy, she’ll be just as witty, tough, and sexy as we all remember her to be.”
Whit Anderson is represented by CAA, Wirehouse Entertainment and Julian Zajfen at Ziffren, Brittenham, Branca, Fischer, Gilbert-Lurie & Stifflemen.
So the thing that most fans are afraid of is true: Joss Whedon isn't involved with this at all. I find it odd how they call Fran and Kaz Kuzui the "creators" of the material. Joss Whedon is the sole screenwriter on the feature film, and he's credited as the creator of the show, so how the hell does that make Fran and Kaz Kuzui the "creators" on any level? Rightsholders? I'll buy that, but calling them the "creators" of the material is inaccurate and insulting.
As a fan, I can say that I am not eagerly awaiting this character's return to the bigscreen as long as it's being handled by anyone other than Whedon. His voice, and the voice that evolved among the excellent writing staff on the show, is what defined "Buffy" for me, and if I want more of that, I can read the comics that build directly off the show, where that voice is intact and the characters continue to grow and change.
This is for non-fans. This is for someone else. And that's fine, I guess, but do me a favor, Warner Bros., and don't try to sell me this as the "Buffy" I already know and love. It's obvious it won't be, so instead of trying to snow me, just sell it as what it is, a brand-new version of something designed to hook a whole new audience.
We'll definitely keep our eye on this as it moves forward, and we'll bring you more on it as the shape of the project comes into focus.