Little News, Lots of Love at ‘Buffy’ Reunion
March 21, 2008 3:32 PM
Thursday night’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” reunion is definitely the highlight of this year’s Paley Festival. Tickets for the event sold out within two hours of going on sale, and with good reason. Almost all of the major players from the show were in attendance at Hollywood’s Arclight Theater.
The event was the biggest “Buffy” reunion since the show ended in 2003. In attendance at the panel were Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers), Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris), James Marsters (Spike), Emma Caulfield (Anya), Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase), Seth Green (Oz), Amber Benson (Tara Maclay), executive producers Marti Noxon and David Greenwalt and creator Joss Whedon. Notably missing from the lineup were Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg), Eliza Dushku (Faith), Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles) and David Boreanaz (Angel).
Much of the discussion was about two of the show’s most memorable episodes—season six’s musical “Once More With Feeling” and season five’s “The Body,” where the characters deal with the loss of Buffy’s and Dawn’s mother.
The reunion was as much a chance for the cast to catch up on “Buffy” as it was for fans. Case in point: Ms. Gellar was unaware until recently that Buffy was experimenting with her sexuality in a recent issue of the “Buffy” graphic novel series. (Mr. Whedon last year put season eight of the show in comic book form.)
As for future “Buffy” projects, Mr. Whedon says it’s a possibility to explore and thinks “it would be really cool,” but it would take a lot of coordination with the cast. For example, Mr. Whedon says, he “would love to take ‘Buffy’ to Broadway,” something different from season six’s “Once More With Feeling” episode, but not everyone in the cast would be on board (including Ms. Gellar).
Any potential future project, though, would incorporate events from the season-eight comic, he said, noting events in the graphic novel take place in the same world as the show. Mr. Whedon also said Mr. Green’s werewolf character Oz returning in the comics is a “definite yes.”
The cast and crew agreed that the series’ writers really made the show unique. Ms. Gellar feels the writers were able to take the pain of youth “and make the evil into monsters. … The pain and the story was universal.” Ms. Noxon echoes that sentiment, noting that metaphor was something the crew kept in mind.
In dealing with the pain of growing up, the show definitely had its controversial moments. Some episodes featuring violence at a high school were delayed in the wake of the Columbine shootings. Season six featured a scene where Spike attempted to rape Buffy. When the show included a same-sex kiss between Willow and Tara, The WB raised concerns. Mr. Whedon recalls the network saying, “We got a lot of gay this year” (referring to same-sex situations on “Dawson’s Creek” and other shows). However, the only time advertisers pulled out of sponsoring the show was when Buffy, fresh from being dead, worked at a fast-food restaurant.
As for the fans, you have to wonder what kind of questions people would ask during this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When given the chance, some of them didn’t even have questions, but only shared their love and thanks for the show. As a reporter on assignment, I was hoping to hear more about Mr. Whedon’s next project, “Dollhouse” with Ms. Dushku, or Ms. Trachtenberg’s upcoming stint on The CW’s “Gossip Girl.” But as a fanboy myself, I probably would have done the same thing.
Here’s to you, Buffy Summers, Class Protector, Sunnydale High Class of 1999.
— Sergio Ibarra