SDCC: Buffy black from the dead?

Never Slay Never Again? There appear to be serious plans to resurrect Buffy again - but will a total reboot and recasting work?

Anyone familiar with pop-culture in modern times would likely be cautiously thrilled by any sentence that includes the words ‘Buffy‘, ‘reboot‘ and ‘Joss Whedon‘. Every so often the idea of continuing the mythology that became Whedon’s signature work, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, gets discussed and the general feeling seems to be that as long as Whedon was involved it would likely be a good thing.

That being said, the news coming out of SDCC that there are indeed tentative plans for more Buffy and with Whedon involved, has had something of a mixed reaction given that the notion seems an entire reboot of the original concept and character rather than a continuation of the existing mythology.  Wit discussions having started late last year, there are now plans for Whedon to work with Midnight, Texas showrunner Monica Owusu-Breen (who also serves as an executive producer on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD) on the new show, with her also serving as show-runner for this and Whedon serving as executive-producer and assisting on scripts. The show, according to Hollywood Reporter and Deadline sources would seek to be contemporary and inclusive with strong indications of there being a black actor in the title role.

This has led to strong opinions on both sides. Certainly the original show  – which amazingly debuted its run twenty-one years ago – spoke to an entire generation about empowerment, self-confidence, equality and the nature of good, evil and all the shades inbetween and if the show was indeed a total reboot for a new generation it would make just as much sense to discuss and represent colour, creed, faith, sexuality and all the factors that remain topical and important in the modern world. Others note that Buffy was a singular show of its time and while there would be plenty of ways to extend the rich mythology of the ‘Buffyverse’, there would be problems in merely trying to repeat the character and dynamics. Why not, they ask, simply have a new Slayer entirely – a concept that was already built in to the show during its initial seven year run (on the WB and UPN networks). There had already been another black Slayer, Kendra (Bianca Johnson) created when Buffy temporarily died in battle and the show had also shown glimpses of a black 1970s Slayer who fought Spike (James Marsters) and the original Slayer in Africa.

It was a position that Whedon himself seemed to have when speaking to the Hollywood Reporter only a few years ago when asked about his feelings on resurrecting the show… “I see a little bit of what I call ‘monkey’s paw’ in these reboots. You bring something back, and even if it’s exactly as good as it was, the experience can’t be,” he said at the time. “You’ve already experienced it, and part of what was great was going through it for the first time. You have to meet expectations and adjust it for the climate, which is not easy.”

All being said, it is early days with confirmed interest and discussions but no firm plans as to where or when we could see any result. Whedon’s hands-on involvement may be tempered by his new role as show-runner for HBO‘s The Nevers

And as the show noted in one of its most famous story-arcs, however much you may want to bring something good back from the dead, there are also downsides and consequences…