A friend recently told me that Warner Brothers has decided to release a Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, without the participation of Joss Whedon. For those of you who, like me, watched the seven seasons of Buffy in order, such an idea seems more than a little surreal. Note: if you haven’t seen all of Buffy, or if you’ve only seen an episode here or there, nothing I’m about to say will make much sense to you.
Buffy is one of the few true masterpieces to come out of the television era. Those of us who actually watched it from beginning to end — the way you’re supposed to read a novel — live in awe of Whedon’s genius. The depth and subtlety of the characters and their evolving relationships, the beauty and symmetry of the multi-year interlocking narrative arcs, the rock-steady hand on the many post-modern experiments Whedon embedded in the work, and the sheer brilliance and wit of his dialog, none of these are things that can could ever be replicated by hired hacks.
But I guess this is not surprising. These are, after all, the same folks who decided not to promote Brad Bird’s animated classic The Iron Giant in 1999 because they were too busy advertising one of the worst movies ever made — the shockingly inept film adaptation of The Wild Wild West. Ed Catmull has told me that he is still grateful to them for that, since Brad Bird promptly took a job at Pixar and never looked back.
Apparently this is all part of a larger plan at Warner Brothers. A disgruntled WB employee has secretly leaked to me their plans for forthcoming releases, and here are some of the highlights: After Buffy, Warner Brothers staff will write and release a new Beatles song. Then the studio will be issuing a new Jane Austen novel, followed by a collection of all new Borges short stories.
They will follow this with two new Shakespeare tragedies and a Chekov one-act, an all-new Tolkien mythology, and then, in 2012, Beethoven symphony number 10 in G minor, followed by Mozart symphanies number 42, 43 and 44. Finally — and this is where you really have to hand it to the brilliant folks at Warner Brothers — they are going to come out with a new Holy Bible.
When asked for comment about this last project, a Warner Brothers spokesperson indicated that the studio had originally invited God to submit a treatment, but that a development deal with the Divine Creator had fallen through at the last moment, which is when they decided to go with in-house writing talent.
God could not be reached for comment.