Joss Whedon's Open Letter to Fans
As Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 comes to a close in the pages of Dark Horse's comic, creator/writer Joss Whedon addresses the whole experience in an open letter that was written to the fans.
So, our endless season ends. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve thrown up a little in our mouths, but most of all we’ve learned. Not you guys—us. We’ve learned what you like, what you don’t, how this TV show translated to the world of comics, and how it didn’t quite. We’ve lost a few fans along the way and, hopefully, gained a few. I can’t say exactly how much has changed, in our lives or our work. The only thing that’s certain is this: all of us involved in this venture, without exception, have weirder-looking hair.
If you’ve read this issue, you’ve got a sense of where we’re heading for Season 9. Back, a bit, to the everyday trials that made Buffy more than a superhero. That made her us. I was so excited to finally have an unlimited budget that I wanted to make the book an epic, but I realized along the way that the things I loved the best were the things you loved the best: the peeps. The down-to-earth, recognizable people. And Mecha-Dawn. (She has a tail!) So that’s what we’ll try to evoke next season—along with the usual perils, and a few new ones, of course.
Every season of Buffy had a different intent, and a different set of challenges, from which to build. The biggest challenge in Season 8 was that many years ago I wrote a Slayer comic and set it in the far future so that it could never affect Buffy’s life. I was so young. But the challenge of reconciling the optimistic, empowering message of the final episode with the dystopian, Slayerless vision of Fray’s future gave Season 8 a genuine weight. There is never progress without hateful, reactionary blowback. That’s never been more apparent than in today’s political scene in America. The mission was to deal with the consequences of Buffy and Willow’s empowering spell (the good and the terrible), steer toward a possible Fray future without undoing all the good Buffy had done (the girls still have their power), and tee us up for a very different Season 9. Some adjustments had to be made along the way, particularly when I completely changed my plan for Season 9. I changed it for the reasons stated above. No matter how interesting the world stage or mystical dimensions can be, Buffy’s best when she’s walking that alley, dusting vamps, and nursing a pouty heart. We’re not going back to square one, but our square will definitely have a oneishness to it. It should be nice, after the wild ride that was Season 8—not always perfect, but made with love and delight that I think shine through.
The people who need to be thanked really deserve more than just thanks—but we’re all too scattered for the inappropriate touching required to convey my gratitude and occasional awe. Scott Allie is why there are editors. Smart, patient, pushy when it’s time to be pushy—straddling the minutiae and the Big Picture in a way any show runner would envy. Georges—no book without Georges. If I didn’t make the smoothest transition from TV to comics, he sure as hell did. He drew wonderful likenesses that never felt like portraits, and panels that were dynamic, funny, and emotional. . . . No one could have evoked the ethos of the show better. Jo Chen’s covers make me cry. I won’t say more, or I’ll cry.
If I start listing the writers, this will be longer than the comic. But Drew Goddard writes the stuff I wish I had. Brad Meltzer writes like he was on the staff for all seven years (and is a nut for structure, which helped more than I like admitting). Jane Espenson, Brian K. Vaughan. . . . Wait, didn’t I just promise not to do this? Everyone brought such love and talent to the table, writers and artists and inkers and colorists and letterers and editors I’ve left in the cold (sorry, Sierra) in order to wrap this up. . . . The point is, this has been a long, strange trip, but it worked (when it did) because so many overqualified souls poured themselves into it. I’m grateful.
I’m grateful to the guys at IDW, particularly Chris Ryall and Brian Lynch, for handling the Angel series with such passion and hilarity, and for being kind and cooperative when I decided the two universes needed to be under one roof.
And I’m grateful to you guys, for coming on the ride. I promise it won’t get smoother. We’ve got a lot of new—and old—friends along, some new titles, and a bunch of limited series. . . . It’s nuts; I’m exhausted by the end of Season 8. So why am I so giddy about Season 9?
Maybe I’m a fan.
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