What a Difference Seven Years, an All-Star Cast, and $180 Million Makes

Joss Whedon has always been a big name in my circle of friends. This is the man who brought us Buffy and Angel, the man who made the short-lived and overlooked Firefly, and the man who made Dollhouse – a series I’m still trying to forget.

Now Whedon’s Avengers is breaking box office records having just had the biggest US opening weekend of all time. Joss Whedon is suddenly king of the blockbuster, the man can do no wrong and wears a crown made entirely of frozen fanboys’ tears of joy. This achievement is all the more impressive when you consider the fact that this is Whedon’s second film as director and that his first attempt was nowhere near as successful.

Serenity has a few things in common with Avengers; featuring an ensemble cast banding together to share witty dialogue and fight the good fight against bad guys from outer space. That’s pretty much where the similarities end. Serenity had no big-name actors compared to Avengers, which hired the entire contents of IMDb. The budgets are separated by $180 million with Avengers costing the same as five and a half Serenitys. The origins of each film’s mythology are also wildly different; Avengers having had six feature films preceding it and decades of back-story in comic form, while Serenity was a spin-off from a 13 episode TV series that was never aired in full.

Joss Whedon’s talents as a film-maker have always been there. What has changed in the past seven years is that he has finally been given an audience willing to watch. When Serenity came out I was in full fanboy mode and saw the film three times before it was even released, a feat easily trumped by a number of other fans, but the general population barely noticed its appearance. In total Serenity made less than $40 million in cinemas, while Avengers has already made well over $700 million and counting.

Joss Whedon has only released two films as a director and they are barely comparable. His third bucks the trend even further, an adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing shot in black and white in a matter of days at his own house. Whedon is sure to be a success in the future but it looks like he’ll be keeping us guessing with each new film. Now where’s my Giles spin-off?

Joss, Don’t Be a Giles Tease

Way back in 2001 as the character of Rupert Giles left Buffy the Vampire Slayer (greatest TV show ever made) Joss Whedon first toyed with the idea of a spin off series made by the BBC and starring Anthony Stewart Head in his role as Rupert Giles. This series was to be called Ripper and Whedon has been mentioning the series/special in interviews ever since.

On Wednesday The A.V. Club ran an interview with Whedon discussing The Avengers in which he revealed that Ripper still isn’t completely dead yet. The relevant part of the interview is below:

The thing about Ripper — the essence of it — is that the BBC came to me at one point like, “It doesn’t have to be Ripper. It can just be [Anthony Stewart Head], and there’s magic, and he’s Tony, cuz he’s awesome.” And that’s the thing: For some reason, he keeps getting sexier every year. That’s not happening to me! I’m like, “What are you doing?” And that story was always about a mature guy who’s lived, and about the choices he’s made. So you could make that now, or you could make it 10 years from now. And I’ve tortured Tony more than any other living human with, “We’re definitely gonna do this!” Because I thought we were. He’s working so much, though, I’d feel too guilty. But that’s the thing with Ripper: It doesn’t go away in my head because he’s still right for it, and he could still bring it.

If Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favourite TV series of all time then Rupert Giles is my favourite TV character of all time. Clearly nothing would make me happier than if Joss Whedon were to finally make Ripper at the BBC with Anthony Stewart Head. I just wish that the project would either happen or that Whedon would stop bring it up and raising my hopes.

Come on Joss, poop or get off the pot. I’ve been waiting eleven years already.

Sooo…. There’s Going to be a Buffy Film

The rumours of a new Buffy film appear to be true. Written not by Joss Whedon but by Whit Anderson who is… someone apparently.

This is essentially a reboot, something that is happing to franchises much sooner these days with varying degrees of success. Oh Spiderman, how I love you.

I could happily go off on a rant about leaving well enough alone, but this is a particular franchise that I am a little too close to to be objective. Once the film is out I will be judging it, but not before. Here are four reasons I’ll be waiting to judge:

1. Reboots can sometimes be good.
2. Joss Whedon has messed up the franchise himself in the “Season 8” comics.
3. I actually enjoyed the original film, not a lot but it is fun.
4. No matter how bad the film is it can’t stop the original series being my favourite series ever.

Give me a year and I’ll be treating Whit Anderson like she’s James Cameron.