The Future of Buffy

Fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer were treated this year when Dark Horse announced the release of Buffy season 9 and the new, Angel and Faith.  The ‘scoobies’ transitioned from the screen to print media in 2007 when Whedon, with Dark Horse, decided to expand the series into comic book form.  At Comic Con this year Whedon reflected on the initial transition from tv series to comic book, commenting on switching platforms affected the tone of the narrative, and what Buffy season 9 will look like:


“Kind of the point of Season 8 for me was, ‘Hey, we’re a comic, and we can do these things.’ People were more interested in her life than the fact that we could draw bigger things…. Having discovered that we can do more than the television show, I’ve discovered that I don’t really want to.”


These comments reflect ideas expressed by fans in my own research, who indicate that consistency in character tone is one of the most important considerations in transitioning the Buffy narrative from tv series to comic book.  Elsewhere, Whedon has commented that the new comic book will feel more like the tv series. Ironically, it seems that the lessons from season 8 suggest that what is lost in the transition from one platform to another can be recovered by mimicking form and style; a technique which seems at odds with the rationale of transmedia storytelling: to exploit each media form to do what it does best. Regardless of the look and feel of season 9, it seems unlikely that hardcore fans of the series will ever abandon Buffy. If anything, news of the release of season 9 and the new series, Angel and Faith, has ensured the continuation and, perhaps, growth of the fandom as Buffy reaches audiences across dispersed platforms and markets.

The future of the franchise is still unclear.  Whedon, somewhat provocatively, told fans at Comic Con that he would love to take Buffy to broadway. Undoubtedly, the opportunity to watch a live stage adaptation of ‘Once More With Feeling’ would appeal to most fans; however, in a fandom so driven by personal character narratives, would a stage show introducing new and unfamiliar faces to the franchise irrevocably shatter established character profiles? Or, might fans simply enjoy a live sing along? Afterall, fans of the franchise have been staging karaoke-inspired events based on the musical episode since it aired in 2001. Talk of the new movie (which is set to release sometime next year), is also raising questions regarding consistency in the franchise. Both fans and stars from the original series seem incredulous at the prospect of a reboot without the creative direction of Whedon. Nonetheless, Warner Brothers seem set to push forward with the project. As a fan of the series, this concerns me, as I’ve grown attached to Whedon’s vision of the Buffyverse. I’m sure I’ll see it anyway.


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