After almost a week of rumor, the showrunner of a series that will continue the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer confirmed the series isn’t merely a rumor today. Monica Owusu-Breen, a writer on popular genre series including Charmed, Fringe, Lost, Alias, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has been working with Buffy creator Joss Whedon on a new story, and she has been tapped as showrunner for the new series. Today Owusu-Breen confirmed the project is real, while also clarifying a new slayer is on her way, but not Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy from the original seven-year series. Whedon will again serve as executive producer of the series, with returning producers going back to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, Gail Berman, Joe Earley, Fran Kazui, and Kaz Kazui. “For some genre writers, it’s Star Wars. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my Star Wars,” Osuwu-Breen posted on Twitter today. “Before I became a writer, I was a fan. For seven seasons, I watched Buffy Summers grow up, find love, kill that love. I watched her fight, and struggle and slay. There is only one Buffy. One Xander, one Willow, Giles, Cordelia, Oz, Tara, Kendra, Faith, Spike, Angel … They can’t be replaced. Joss Whedon’s brilliant and beautiful series can’t be replicated. I wouldn’t try to. But here we are, 20 years later … and the world seems a lot scarier. So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer … And that’s all I can say.”
Fans will recall that a new Slayer took the place of a Slayer that had been killed–at least in the early seasons of the show. Kendra, a fantastic and charismatic killing machine played by Bianca Lawson, was a Jamaican potential slayer who replaced Buffy Summers’s Slayer for three episodes after Buffy’s first death on the show (Buffy was quickly revived with CPR). Early word from the production is that the slayer to lead the new show will also be played by a black actress. Upon Kendra’s death, we were introduced to her Slayer replacement Faith, played by Eliza Dushku, who would co-star in the series for 20 episodes. At least sixteen other Slayers of various backgrounds were portrayed in the series following the episode “Chosen,” including one played by Felicia Day. At least 1,800 new Slayers were discussed in the series, 500 of whom worked for Buffy Summers’ organization which deployed Slayers globally into ten separate squads. Countless others were featured in Seasons 8-12 of the comic book series.
The idea of taking the Buffy-verse forward was discussed more upon the show’s 20th anniversary in 2016, and with so many series getting reboots it was inevitable Buffy’s time was coming. Unlike all those other shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is in many fans’ list of top 10 television series of all time, so the producers will no doubt take careful steps with the franchise. The brilliance of the Slayer storyline is actually perfect for continuation. Like the five decades of Doctor Who, Buffy always has had a built-in mechanism to allow the transfer of lead actors over time, while keeping the series fresh and surviving as a long-term franchise. As with the Doctor Who regeneration that has allowed for the latest new thirteenth lead actor to take over that series after some five decades, the replacement mechanism of a new Slayer for each dying Slayer has always been a make-ready key to ensure a going-forward show. Few would disagree that Buffy, Kendra, and Faith were fantastic characters, fantastic Slayers. No doubt the next in line can be just as exciting.
Here is Owusu-Breen’s Twitter post today clarifying the vision behind the new show:
Fox TV chairman/CEO Gary Newman first suggested a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot was in the works this past March, when he said the series “is probably our most ripe show for a remake. It’s something we talk about frequently…” Actors from the original series Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, and Alyson Hannigan have not yet chimed in, although Brendon asked his followers their thoughts, which seem to be split on a reboot.
Since the pre-production is just underway, don’t expect to be watching a series very soon. No actors have yet been tapped for the show with Fox 21 producing at this stage.