by Shawn StJean
Because isn’t it about bloody time?
AND: All one has to do is survey the (cough, cough) brilliant spate of films that (de)populated theaters this September and October. Was there ever a better endorsement for Netflix and the wasteland that is network television, than for Hollywood to simply roll over and rely on the fact that people will suffer anything to get out of the house? I mean, Halloween Yet Again??
I’m sure the realities of Hollywood are more convoluted than insider texts like Entourage and Wag the Dog and The Player reveal to us. And so there may be compelling reasons against it; some might claim Joss Whedon CAN’T legally (or emotionally, ethically, temporally, blah, blah) make a BTVS movie. But seriously, did we really need the eighth (or is it 9th?) Rocky sequel, when there are perfectly good–damn good–properties lying around, unexploited? That people are dying to see (see what I just did there?) In Hollywood, even in 2018, be sure of it: nothing dissolves legal obstacles like good, old-fashioned obscenely stacked numbers of zeroes on direct deposit readouts.
Now, as a die-hard fan, I’m as dead-set (chuckle) against revivifying this franchise as anyone else, IF it’s going to suck. And I’m not talking blood-sucking, I’m talking wind-sucking. So let’s establish a wish-list. Hey, it’s not like I’m writing Santa Claus here. Hollywood suits love money. It’s a natural (as unnatural subjects like vampire-slaying go. Okay, I’ll stop now.)
–Joss Whedon must be attached. Change the entire cast, if you must–let those has-beens like Eliza Dushku and Sarah Michelle Gellar appear in cameos as alternate characters if they so choose–but Whedon is the soul of the Buffyverse. No one does a hero shot like him. Oh, and, I hear he knows how to write as well as direct. Go figure.
–Casting is critical. Here, the budget-friendly move is the better move: use all unknown actors for likes of Buffy, Angel, Faith, Spike, and the Scoobies. But make sure they aren’t just pretty faces, a la the CW network. These characters, each in their own way, are more tough than good-looking: Buffy with her mixed sense of destiny, Xander with his stupid courage, Angel with his inner torment, Giles with his world-weary sagacity.
–Epic-level plot. Cf. Serenity. Here’s my idea: take a page from Beowulf‘s second act (the descent into the lair of Grendel’s mother.) In the TV series, the baddies were always coming up out of a Hellmouth below Sunnydale. This time, our heroes must leave home and descend into the Hellmouth. Maybe someone (Willow) gets kidnapped, Persephone-style, and Angel goes down–typically alone–to the rescue. Except Buffy hears about it, and, knowing he can’t do it alone, goes after him. Scooby gang follows her, and viola, it’s a party. I’d love to see Anthony Stewart Head appear in surprise-reveal as the Head Demon /Big Bad.
Push the envelope. Hollywood has a way of playing it safe, homogenizing and pasteurizing anything non-vanilla. If you recall the Entourage movie. . .ah, wait, YOU DON’T?? Exactly my point. The script had very little of the edge and risk of the series. It had cameos, it had sets, locations, ad infinitum. But it was clearly a phoned-in cash-in. We Whedonites deserve the opposite. What made our beloved shows so great? Allegory: High school as Hell, young people as freaks, adults as monsters, power as addiction, the healing power of friendship. Mythology revisited: women as defenders and predators and not prey, the vampire with a soul, friendly ghosts. Humor: sexual awkwardness, Spike, puns, Halloween as a day off for bad-guys.
–Merge Galaxies in the ‘Verse. Barring the comic-book extensions, we last saw Angel’s crew facing off against the uber-minions of Wolfram & Hart. It would be compelling to see the likes of Gunn and possibly even Wesley join the fun. Maybe split the San Andreas fault from Los Angeles to Sunnydale as the Hellmouth opens wide. . .
-And speaking of verses, How about a Production Number for the After-credits scene? Hey, if you are a Buffy fan, you know why. There’s no point catering to the general public on this–by the end, everyone will be a fan. And guess what? Might just wanna release the original series on Blu-ray. . .yeah. . .in fact, that will pay for the whole deal, Suits, and you know it. So. . .
–Spend the Money!! It needs a respectable budget. We dig special effects aplenty, sure. But the creative people have to be paid what they’re worth, and they need to be good. There’s no way this film won’t make it back–hell, half the people in the world will go to see it.
-Release it in early October. There’s nothing to stand against it. It will kill.