“In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.”
More than 16 years ago, Buffy the Vampire Slayer officially finished its run on TV, and many fans thought the aforementioned opening lines from Joss Whedon’s cult hit would never be heard again.
12 months ago, die-hard Buffy fans were equally thrilled and mortified to hear an official announcement from Fox TV that a fresh sequel of the Sarah Michelle Gellar-led property was in the pipeline. Whilst the idea of returning to the beloved universe shared by both Buffy and its spin-off series Angel excited many, the idea of recasting such an iconic series also drew a great deal of ire from fans who could not imagine any other actors taking on the roles of Buffy Summers and the Scooby Gang.
Thankfully, the new series showrunner, Monica Owusu-Breen, was quick to reassure fans that she had absolutely no intention of recasting the classic roles, and that the new series would most likely take the form of a sequel series following a whole new generation of characters.
— monicaowusubreen (@monicabreen) July 26, 2018
A HEALTHY DOSE OF WHEDONISM
Filled with quirky characters, razor-sharp wit and off-the-wall humour, Buffy the Vampire Slayer became a cult classic not only due to the heroics of its titular hero, but also because of the trademark blend of endearing characterisation and comedy that creator Joss Whedon injects into his franchises. Attempting a follow-up series devoid of the same unique tone would surely doom any series revival to failure before it began.
Thankfully, not only is the new Buffy boss Monica Owusu-Breen more than familiar with Whedon’s trademark wit having previously worked closely with him on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but Whedon himself has been confirmed as returning in the capacity of Executive Producer on the new series – so hopefully we’ll see this approach translate across well to the new show.
A NEW SUNNYDALE HIGH
High school can be hell for some, and none more so than the residents of Sunnydale, whose local high school was built right on top of a literal Hellmouth. Whilst Sunnydale High School, along with the entire township of Sunnydale, was destroyed after the battle at the Hellmouth in the Buffy finale, if the previous seven seasons proved anything it’s that some people’s memories can be extraordinarily short, and the idea of Sunnydale being rebuilt right atop the ruins of its former location is probably not that far a stretch.
Another option may be for the new show to find itself centred in the city of Cleveland, where it was repeatedly suggested a second Hellmouth resided and where the slayer Faith was stationed for some time.
WOLFRAM AND HART
Whilst the inter-dimensional law firm of Wolfram and Hart owes its origins more so to Angel rather than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this new series also has the potential to tie up some loose threads left over after Buffy’s sister show also got cancelled one year after Buffy did. Whilst the Buffster herself seemingly put a definitive end to most of her Big Bads, the threat posed by the near-omniscient trio of demons who served as the firm’s senior partners, the Wolf, the Ram and the Hart, were still at large following the Angel series finale, and would provide a more than convenient stepping-on point for whoever the next Slayer is.
It’s also clear that Wolfram and Hart have not been forgotten by Joss Whedon either, having revealed in the director’s commentary for the Avengers: Age of Ultron Blu-ray that Thor’s vision scene featured an intentional nod to the trio of demons, with three separate background characters dressed as a Wolf, a Ram and a Hart.
SOME CLASSIC CAMEOS
Unfortunately, both Buffy’s Sarah Michelle Gellar and Angel’s David Boreanaz have both been forthcoming in suggesting that they would not be returning for the new series, and whilst Boreanaz was clearly supportive of the series revival at last year’s New York Comic Con, he was more than certain that he “ain’t putting on that makeup anymore”.
Those two on-again-off-again ill-fated lovers are no doubt the two characters most Buffy fans would be itching to see reunite on screen after all this time, but there are still a plethora of great Buffy and Angel characters who have the potential to pop up in this new series and help stitch the old and new threads of the Buffyverse together.
The next most beloved character we’d want back (at least in a cameo capacity) would have to be Alyson Hannigan’s Willow Rosenberg. In the Buffy series finale, Willow proved herself to be Earth’s most powerful witch, as she activated all the world’s potential Slayers. If 16 years later something has gone awry and the world is dangerously low on Slayer protection once more, no doubt Willow would probably be the first to know.
Delving into the cast of Angel, we could also potentially see upcoming Supa-Star Amy Acker return to her role(s) of Illyria/Fred, whom Joss Whedon has been clear he had many future plans for, had Angel been renewed for a sixth season. Viewers could also be reacquainted with that other fan-favourite vampire with a soul, James Marsters’ punk-rock bloodsucker, Spike.
A LITTLE (OR A BIG) DASH OF SOMETHING NEW
Whilst honouring the legacy of the Buffyverse is no doubt important, equally important is the need for this new series to be able to stand on its own two feet and thrive on more than just nostalgia alone. If that is going to happen, the new generation of characters that Monica Owusu-Breen introduces us to will need to be just as engaging, and equally as loveable as Buffy and her friends were to the ‘90s kids who grew up following their supernatural exploits. At this point, we really don’t know who they will be or what direction the new show will take, but one thing’s for certain: they have some massive Slayer-sized shoes to fill.
At this stage, little else has been revealed about the progress of the new show, especially given the recent Fox/Disney merger, which saw many projects delayed, or some even axed altogether, but Fox TV CEO Gary Newmann has admitted that whilst they are excited about the prospects of the new show, it’s not a project they want to rush through development. So the good news is we can rest easy for now, with the knowledge that the studio actually seems to want to give Owusu-Breen the time she needs to deliver a product that fans will love. In the meantime, we’ll just have to break out our Buffy and Angel box-sets, or look forward to Whedon’s next TV project, the Victorian-era series The Nevers, currently in development for HBO.