SFX Issue 120

August 2004

SFX historical notes: File under “This never happened”

News:

BUFFY ANIMATED SERIES IS GO!

Jeph Loeb talks to SFX about the Slayer’s return


Mere months after the cancellation of Angel and the assumption that the Buffy franchise was well and truly dead comes news that the long-mooted Buffy animated series may finally happen.

“We think Fox became aware of this wonderful treasure and wanted to move forward again,” series supervisor Jeph Loeb tells SFX. “But as to where and when it will air – for right now, that’s a secret that’s being kept under wraps.”

The show was all set to go two years ago when Fox pulled the plug on the proposed series. According to Loeb, scripts had been written, characters had been designed and actors had cleared their schedules when Fox decided to bail on the project. Now, though, with no Buffy series on our screens, Fox has decided to resurrect the animated show.

“We knew we had a terrific show that was entirely unique in animation and still true to the amazing Buffyverse and all things Joss,” says Loeb. “We just needed someone to remove the stake so we could live again. Fox Television saw that they had this wonderful property and with both Angel and Buffy off the air, here was a chance to keep the franchise alive.”

Loeb confirms that they’ve already had Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Head and Nicholas Brendon in the studio recording their voice parts, however, he’s reluctant to confirm how many other Buffy actors will be joining the new show. Sarah Michelle Gellar has turned down the offer to return, with Buffy now being played by actress Giselle Loren, who has already voiced the vampire slayer in two video games.

“I studied Sarah Michelle Gellar,” Loren recently told the MSX website, “and I learned how and where to place my voice to match hers and then I watched specific seasons of the show to understand her mannerisms and her inflections. Finally, I created my version of Buffy as she seems on the page. Joss has created an amazing world and [Gellar] has a very specific style. I just got lucky enough to be able to do it.”

The series will be set when Buffy and the Scooby gang are still at high school, though Loeb maintains the series won’t be intended for a younger audience.

“We never set out to aim for a younger audience, but we didn’t want the cartoons to have sex either,” he laughs. “It’s still true to the humour, horror and wit of Buffy, and yet, it’s something all its own. Since it is set in the first year – Joss calls it Episode 7.5 because Buffy has now met Angel, but doesn’t know about his ‘Angelus’ side – Joss felt that the metaphors for teen angst were never stronger or more clearly felt then in the early high school years.”

With the animated series now a go project and any hope of a Faith series eradicated by Tru Calling getting a second series, a lot is resting on this. But Loeb denies any pressure to live up to Buffy and Angel.

“We’re doing the best job we can,” he tells us. “We have an amazing animation crew led by Eric Radomski, who was largely responsible for the look and design of Batman Animated and Spawn. Those two projects redefined how people looked at animation and he’s done it again here. Bottom line: Joss isn’t going to put his name on something that he thinks sucks – or is of less quality than he wanted. The truth is that we had a number of offers in the past two years, but the compromises we’d have had to have made to meet the budgets would have lessened the show. Joss wouldn’t do that to Buffy or her fans!”

And just how involved is Joss in this project? Surely he’s already got his hands full with Serenity?

“As you know, anything that goes on in the Buffyverse, he has a tentacle around. That’s tentacle, Joss, not testicle…” he laughs.