Buffy creator Joss Whedon responds to movie being made without his input

I’m not a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan, which is largely because it aired at a time when I was barely out of college and wasn’t watching much television. (Because I was glued to the Internet.) I get that it’s a cult favorite and a successful teen vampire franchise and many of my friends watched it. It was also ahead of its time, as vampires and the supernatural have since become a phenomena in pop culture.

Joss Whedon wrote the 1992 Buffy The Vampire Slayer film starring Luke Perry and Kristy Swanson, and he created the television series, which aired on The WB from 1997-2003. He also created Angel, Firefly, and Dollhouse and is well regarded among fans for the quality of his work and for being so accessible. There’s a Buffy The Vampire Slayer movie in the works from Warner Brothers, which apparently owns all rights to the concept. It’s also being made entirely without Whedon’s input. He expressed his frustration to E! in a way that was both funny and very sad. How can anyone jack this guy’s work and ideas so blatantly?

After Warner Bros. announced today that they are moving forward with a Buffy the Vampire Slayer “reboot”—without the involvement of the iconic mastermind behind the TV series, Joss Whedon—I checked in with Joss for his reaction, and here’s what he just shared with me via email:

Kristin, I’m glad you asked for my thoughts on the announcement of Buffy the cinema film. 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.


Told ya. Just when you thought you couldn’t fan out on him any more, Joss treats this potentially devastating news with class, heart and humor. Just the kind of writing that would serve, oh, I don’t know, a major motion picture. Ahem.

If you missed the initial story earlier today, Warner Brothers is officially moving forward on a new feature film of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, having optioned the rights from the directors and production company of the original movie (starring Kristy Swanson). At this point, it’s not looking as though any of the TV cast or creative team will be involved in the project. And a young writer named Whit Anderson (who says she loved Buffy when she was the same age as the character) is set to write the script. (Hence, the “Whit” and “Anderson” jokes above.)

[From E! Online]

Good luck with that. Warner Brothers doesn’t care if they work with Whedon at all. They know they can put out anything with the Buffy The Vampire Slayer name on it and potentially make bank. Why hire the guy who created the show and the original movie when they can get an unknown for a few million less?

Header image via buffy-the-vampire-slayer.otavo.tv

LOS ANGELES - JUL 22: Joss Whedon at Comic-Con 2010 - G4 and LUCASFILM host GPhoria Strikes Back celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back at San Diego Convention Center on July22, 2010 in San Diego, CA .... Photo via Newscom

Exec. Prod./creator/director Joss Whedon at a screening of 'Once More With Feeling', the musical episode of 'Buffy, The Vampire Slayer' at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles, Ca. Friday, November 2, 2001. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

Amber Benson, Joss Whedon, Michelle Trachtenberg and Nicholas Brendon at a screening of 'Once More With Feeling', the musical episode of 'Buffy, The Vampire Slayer' at the Paramount Theater in Los Angeles, Ca. Friday, November 2, 2001. Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

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48 Responses to “Buffy creator Joss Whedon responds to movie being made without his input”

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  1. Elizabeth says:

    I really don’t know if I would go see it if Whedon is so obviously cut out of the process. Its less of an emotional thing (although it sounds like he got the legal shaft on this). Its more that I have always found him to be so creative and intelligent in his work. I like watching the work of someone who thinks/believes I (and other viewers) have a brain and a sense of humor and want to use both. In other words, he is ENTERTAINING. And I would miss not having that in the new movie.

  2. Kaboom says:

    It’s time some of those reboots seriously tanked at the box office to make the idea toxic. I’m looking at you, Spider-Man and Superman.

  3. Johnny Depp's Girl says:

    I am not sure I would want to see this movie either! Joss is the FIRST person they should have contacted and then bring the entire cast back and have fun with it!

    I would have seen that movie multiple times!

  4. Sophie says:

    I was a HUGE fan of the show back in the day and I just can’t see it being in any way good without Whedon’s input. sigh.

  5. Ruby Red Lips2 says:

    With the TV cast this may have had a slightly minute chance at being creddible, but with a new cast and even worse w/o JW’s input this is not going to be BTVS as we remember

    The TV show was amazing on so many levels – I cannot possible see how this would work…ever ever ever

  6. Rosali says:

    i still love that show and keep watching my dvds over and over.. why should someone want to see that movie? Buffy without one of the original cast and without Joss Whedon??? I will not even watch that crap when it will be shown on tv.. what a waist of time..

  7. Cleo says:

    Based solely on a glimpse of SMG on Swan’s Crossing, casting her on Buffy was a gift for me just as seeing Kristi Swanson in the movie was awesome after seeing her in Dead Friend. I didn’t like the Firefly movie at all. I’m not eager to see another Buffy movie but the character is strong enough to have longevity and become a pop culture staple. Batman survived terrible earlier films.

  8. gabs says:

    Dumbest idea ever. Buffy without Joss Whedon? PASS!

  9. mln says:

    Isn’t this what happened with the first movie, basically the studio thought they could make the movie without Joss’s input and eventually he quit and the movie sucked big time??? I hope he gets another project soon because seriously he is so smart and funny and talented and I love all of his series.

  10. No Sensei says:

    Once more with [out] feeling…

  11. devilgirl says:

    The movie will suck (haha) withoput Whedon involved.

  12. Hollz says:

    I’ll be letting my wallet do the talking and NOT be seeing this. Unless I download it to tell people the show is better 🙂

  13. mike says:

    As much as I like Buffy, it’s probably a good move. Whedon has been anything but golden with the BO, and even his fans are saying his Buffy comics that continue the story after the TV show stink.

    He is more a financial liability than anything else these days. He’s never had any luck with movies, but lately, even his touch with TV has failed. Anyone remember the DOLLHOUSE? Does anyone want to remember the DOLLHOUSE?!

    At least without Whedon in the way, WB and its chosen director can take the franchise in whichever new direction they want to.

  14. Justez says:

    I agree with the make bank part, and think it will probably do well. But Buffy has a huge internet fandom, and if they don’t like this, I’m pretty sure there will be some type of backlash.

  15. Jeane says:

    NONONO!! This movie will be awful without Joss!

    Joss Whedon is the only guy in Hollywood’s old boys club who is actually GOOD in creating strong female heroes that I can relate to. They are going to ruin everything Buffy stood for 🙁

  16. Jeane says:

    @ Mike, you may be right in a way, I know I’m still pretending Dollhouse never existed, but without Whedon I’m afraid they will take the concept and completely ruin it. You know they will be casting Blake Lively as Buffy, Megan Fox as Willow and Shia Lewhatever as Xander and Ashton Kutcher as Giles…

  17. mln says:

    @mike I actually really liked the second season of DOLLHOUSE 🙂

  18. RHONYC says:

    they are probably gonna sex it up for box office.
    this sounds like it’s gonna be sucky, straight from suckville.
    boo! 🙁

  19. Hollowdoll says:

    Not interested in a remake. It will never be as good as the original. Not gonna waste my time or money. Especially if Joss Whedon isn’t in on it, cuz it will be aweful.

  20. A~ says:

    This movie has bomb written all over it.

  21. danielle says:

    Loved the show – although not so much the last couple of seasons. I just can’t see a movie working without Joss and the original cast.

  22. Bam Bam says:

    Fail! With the oversaturation of vampire stories right now (Twilight, True Blood, Vamp Diaries and other movies), it would have spectacular to catch the market. I’ve loved vamp movies/series but I have to tell you, I’m tired of a lot of them now. Without the TV cast, it holds little appeal and would be just another cut em up movie.

  23. Julia says:

    That is a film I won’t be watching…

  24. lucy2 says:

    I watched the show back then, and recently watched the whole box set again – I loved it even more the second time around. The main reason that I, and many of the other fans, loved it was the heart and the humor in it – and that was all Joss Whedon. I honestly can’t see fans of the show watching this movie without JW being involved.

  25. Dizzybenny says:

    of course they will make this turd in 3D,just so people will spend more money for 2-3 effects.

  26. Katija says:

    I think this movie will be a straight-to-DVD disaster. Twenty years from now it might make sense. But everyone knows Buffy as Sarah Michelle Gellar. What, they’re gonna cast some Disney starlet trying to sex up her image and expect the audience to buy it? Please. It would be like doing an X-Files movie and re-casting Mulder and Scully.

    (And yes, I’m revealing here that I was a huge dork in the late ’90s! 🙂 )

  27. Katija says:

    @ Jeane

    I totally agree. Can you imagine a Blake Lively Buffy? Urgh. I’m only down with this re-make if the opening sequence involves staking Sparkles.

  28. lola lola says:

    Huge fan. It was the dialogue that made the series great and that mostly came from Joss. Why not involve him?!? That’s just stupid. You have a man with proven talent and you’re not hiring him? Just stupid. Or maybe just cheap. Whatever. It will bite them in the ass in the end…

  29. Lindy says:

    I’m a huge, huge Joss fan. (I even liked Dollhouse–I just don’t think Eliza Dushku had the chops to pull off that role). I’m a college professor and I love Buffy/Angel so much that even taught a course using episodes from Buffy (about a year after Angel went off the air). The students had a great time and the show is rich enough and intellectually and emotionally challenging enough to be able to serve a good purpose in an actual academic course.

    Anyhow, all that is to say that I won’t go see this. Without Joss it’s bound to suck. He’s original, creative, witty and interesting, unlike anything that WB will be able to come up with. And I agree that Buffy and Angel are shows that I keep coming back to and enjoying.

  30. original kate says:

    i freakin’ love buffy but i will not be seeing this movie. joss whedon is as integral to buffy as sarah michelle gellar, alyson hannigan and all the rest.

  31. Persistent Cat says:

    It won’t make bank without Whedon. Like everyone said, it was the writing and the depth of characters that made that show so strong. It can’t be pulled off in 90 minutes.

    I laughed out loud at his response. That was hilarious. That’s the writing I know and love.

  32. LittleDeadGirl says:

    I have to sigh at another vampire movie being made and this one based on Buffy. I was of the age where all my friends loved the show and I hated it with such a passion. I’m sorry but True Blood is about the only good thing that’s come out of this vampire supernatural phase.

    I love scifi and vampires and werewolves but they are almost never treated with respect in movies. It’s like the comic book franchise … for every Batman reboot that’s amazing we get about 20 pieces of shit. I’d pass on this movie with or without Wheadon attached to it.

  33. dj says:

    Whedon likes and respects strong women. That seems to be divergent from Hollyweird’s view on women. I will just end there before I go on a feminist rant.

  34. Grandizer says:

    Having only watched the first 2 episodes of BTVS and the last 2 episodes, I am not in the position to say anything about it. Knowing JWs work though, I am not surprised to see studios trying to make bank on it.
    In their eyes, the product they have STARTED all the Vamp we see in the movies and on TV now. And why wait 15 to 20 years to remake, that is just less money in the pockets of the money makers. I actually think they will do a 3’fer and laugh all the way to the bank…
    Reason, many people accept lower quality movies for the enjoyment. They are not all going to be AWESOME movies, you get many ok movies that make 85-120 Mil… And trust me using cast with smaller pasts or histories will still make them money.

  35. gloaming says:

    @ lucy2 “I honestly can’t see fans of the show watching this movie without JW being involved”

    You’re absolutely right, I’d even go so far as to say his fans will protest this, they’ve done that before and rightly so.

  36. xxodettexx says:


    not going to see it unless it is whedon-driven… seriously WB is STOOPID if they do this and think they can get the cult following… echoing PersistentCat, [echoing everyone else in the Buffyverse]: it was the writing and the depth of characters that made that show so strong…

    nuff said!

  37. xxodettexx says:

    @dj: amen! whedon’s writing of his female characters was what made me “love” that show

    let’s put it this way: i have all seven seasons, which i continuously watch over and over again [esp on terrible days] and i find myself laughing and loving it just as much as i did back in late 90s/early 2000s

    @RHONYC: “it’s gonna be sucky, straight from suckville” LOVE IT!

  38. Squirtle says:

    @No Sensei: That’s my very favorite episode, everrrrrrrrrr! 🙂

    Yeah This is downright BLASPHEMY!!@!!@!! I, for one, will not stand for it. Boycott! Strike! Whatever you want to call it, you don’t take a perfectly good recipe and screw it up by taking out the main ingredient!

  39. coexxi says:

    Oh my…. I still love Buffy so much! Without Whedon it probably will be a disaster like the first movie.

    Firefly was awsome (Serenity was nice, but in my opinion it couldn’t just close all the open questions from the series which is of course the problem because there was not enough time!)

    Dollhouse: cheesy but had its moments.

    Joss Whedon is really talented and I hope he will create something else shiney and awsome…

  40. Persistent Cat says:

    True Blood doesn’t hold a candle to Buffy. I like True Blood, don’t get me wrong, but it’s mild entertainment at its best. Buffy was a masterpiece, so full of layers and could generate so much debate. True Blood is inconsistent and poorly written. The last season finale had two seconds of suspense but then blew it (I won’t say with what in case someone doesn’t know).

    Sookie is supposed to be a strong female character but all she ever does is scream for Bill to save her. Buffy was constantly saving Angel’s hot, shirtless ass.

    Buffy did it all first and did it all better.

  41. loopygorilla says:

    OMG my friend was obsessed with this show! lol

    i watched it like once every few months.

    its all just meh to me.

  42. Girlnone says:

    I’m confused–would anyone, other than the loyal fanbase, WANT to see a Buffy movie? And why would the loyal fanbase go see a Buffy movie that didn’t involve Joss Whedon or the original cast in any way?

    The only way I’m going to see this is if Buffy hunts down and stakes the Cullens one by one.

  43. Emily says:

    They’ve already tried making a Buffy movie without Joss involved. It tanked in 1992, and it’ll tank in 2012. Given Joss’s massive cult following (because let’s face it, BTVS was only ever a cult show), I can’t see this turd getting any mainstream success, especially with all the Twihards refusing to see anything where vampires don’t sparkle in the sunlight.

    The only reason I see for not using the original cast is that Spike and Angel will show how much they’ve aged since the series ended, which as vampire they shouldn’t. But some creative makeup use could rectify that.

  44. jemshoes says:

    Kristy Swanson was adorable as the original Buffy. I can watch this movie over and over and STILL laugh at her Valley Girl vampire slayer. And wasn’t Donald Sutherland a great touch of pathos for an otherwise over-the-top campy comedy!

    Joss Whedon and Anne Rice were there long before Stephenie Meyer dreamt up Sparkles and Sulky. Buffy without Joss has box-office bomb written all over it, because it won’t have been written by Joss!

  45. I Choose Me says:

    I told my Mr. Gordo and Kitty Fantastico about this news. They were not amused.

  46. CB Rawks says:

    I am loyal to the Buffy series and NO, I don’t want to see a movie that is not made by that writer and those actors.

    I loved the original movie too. I never think of them as being the same story though. -That way I can accept both actresses in the role, and they are very different. Also the movie is just light and adorable, never makes you cry or feel ascared.
    Didn’t Fran Rubel Kuzui write the movie? (Best name ever)

  47. kimberly says:


    no no no

    that is the dumbest line I’ve heard this week

  48. Melanie says:

    I just wanted to point out to mike that he did actually have success with movies. He wrote Buffy, which they made into a show and we’re now talking about and he also did Toy Story, which was good enough to make two sequels of.

    I always think Whedon’s dialogue is cringe worthy but he always manages to write stories that get me hooked. That is, if I will actually go to the trouble to watch them.