The day has finally come. Joss Whedon’s classic network teen horror dramedy Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting a reboot.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, 20th Century Fox, which owns the rights to the original show, and creator Whedon are on the same page and have commissioned a reboot of the series which will feature a black actress in the titular role of Buffy that was originally portrayed by Sarah Michelle Gellar. Monica Owusu-Breen, who worked with Whedon and his brother Jed on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD is slated to write the pilot and maybe more.
However, the latest word from Fox Television Group Chairman and CEO Gary Newman, given to the Television Critics Association press corps, provides a more sobering update on the reboot, stating (via Deadline):
“It’s not on an incredibly, fast track, but we’re hopeful.” He adds, “There’s actually no script to see. We’ve sat down with creators and had conversations with them about it. It’s a very exciting prospect. It’s fairly early. We haven’t pitched it to any possible licensees yet, all of that is still to come. We’re thrilled that Joss has engaged Monica who he worked with on one of his other series. She’s the person who is day to day on it. She has a great take on the show.”
By all indications the Buffy reboot is intended to be a TV series though it is not attached to any network or streaming service yet. Buffy the Vampire Slayer originally ran on The WB for five years before moving to UPN for two. The two networks would eventually combine into The CW.
Whedon will executive produce the series alongside Gail Berman, Joe Earley, Fran Kazui and Kaz Kazui (who produced the original Buffy film that inspired the TV series). Whedon has a notoriously busy dance card and it’s unknown if he will participate in the reboot beyond shepherding it to a network.
A Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot has long been rumored, with 20th Century Fox TV Chairman Gary Newman remarking earlier this year “(Buffy) is probably our most ripe show for a remake, it’s something we talk about frequently.” Still, it’s shocking to see it actually come to fruition.
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Despite its modest beginnings on two no-longer-in-existence networks and teenage pedigree, Buffy the Vampire Slayer is generally thought of to be one of the most influential and important TV series of the modern era. Its sharp sense of humor and approach to episodic and season-long storytelling can be felt throughout the entire TV landscape and particularly in the youth-oriented programs that have followed it on The CW.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer also has had a thriving second life in other media such as comic books. Its creator Whedon, of course, would go on to become something of a geek culture and eventually pop culture icon, creating little watched but much loved shows like Firefly and directing Marvel’s first superhero team up, The Avengers.
Perhaps its uncomfortable to some that such an iconic series could get the dreaded reboot treatment. At least the intention to update the show with a more inclusive, diverse cast is in keeping with the show’s original progressive spirit. Still, if Buffy can get a reboot, anyone can. Be sure to tell your boxsets you love them tonight.