The Unfinished Projects of Joss Whedon

From Dr Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog 2, to a Liam Neeson action movie - we round up Joss Whedon's potential projects...

Joss Whedon surely needs no introduction. The creator of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Angel, Dollhouse and Firefly is surely known to all who reside within these pages. For those who don’t watch TV, he is the writer/director of the first two Avengers movies. For those who don’t watch superhero movies, he also wrote or rewrote Toy Story (for which he received an Oscar nomination), Twister, Waterworld, Alien: Resurrection, and Speed. For those of you who come for the comics, he wrote for Astonishing X-Men, Runaways, Frey, and the forthcoming “Victorian female Batman” mini-series, Twist.

He is clearly very prolific (famously, he filmed a version of Much Ado About Nothing while on holiday from The Avengers), but even with such a voracious work ethic there is a litany of projects that, for one reason or another, remain uncompleted.

Now that his work on The Avengers films has come to an end, and with his stock being at an all-time high, it now would be the perfect opportunity to resurrect some of the projects that never made it to fruition. Here are some of the ones we would like to see the most.

The Servant Girl

At Comic-Con 2007, Joss announced he was going to team up again with Summer Glau (Firefly‘s whacked-out, ass-kicking fugitive psychic, River Tam). Little is known about this project, but it appears it would have been some kind of musical ballet, not words that would normally get pulses racing, but with Whedon at the helm, it could be something really special.

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Chances of revival: slim

The amount of time that has elapsed since the announcement and subsequent silence since, suggests this is unlikely to happen. However, with the release in 2014 of In Your Eyes (based on a Whedon screenplay originally written in the early ’90s), you can never rule anything out. It’s also likely Summer Glau would relish the opportunity to work with Whedon again, having last done so with a recurring role in the second season of Dollhouse way back in 2010.

Wonder Woman

Long before he was brought on board to assemble certain Avengers into a coherent (and incredibly profitable) movie, Whedon spent a lot of time working on developing a Wonder Woman movie. Yet, after a couple of years stuck in development hell, Warner Brothers finally decided, somewhat inexplicably, that Joss was not their man to bring this superhero to the big screen.

Chances of revival: none

With Wonder Woman finally getting involved in some big screen action (debuting in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, with a stand-alone movie scheduled for 2017, and Gal Gadot in the role), it is clear there is no chance of seeing Whedon’s version of this Amazonian princess anytime soon.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog 2

Not content with walking the picket line during the 2008 Writers Strike, Whedon recruited his brothers Zak and Jed, and future sister-in-law Maurissa Tancharoen, formed a production company and made this online gem. Mixing his love for genre and musical numbers, it tells the tale of the titular character (played by Neil Patrick Harris) and his attempts to get into the Evil League of Evil and win the affections of Penny (Felicia Day), but is thwarted at each step by the obnoxious superhero, Captain Hammer (Nathan Fillion).

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Chances of revival: Inevitable, surely?

Though it’s been seven years since it first appeared online, the follow-up has never been far from the minds of either Whedon or the cast. To date, the only thing that seems to have prevented a follow-up already is a matter of timing. There has been talk of scripts, written songs and informal sing-alongs, but nothing concrete. With Whedon & Co. occupied by the Marvel Universe (Joss with Avengers, Jed and Maurissa with Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.) and the cast busy with their own successful careers, there just hasn’t been time for this to happen. But now, with Joss having a bit more free time, hopefully this can find some traction.

Goners

Announced a decade ago, this the details of this film have been kept very quiet. All we really know is that it is an ensemble piece which is the ‘antidote’ to the ascension of the torture-porn genre. In the interim, we have seen the release of horror comedy The Cabin In The Woods (co-written with, and directed by Drew Goddard), but Whedon has stated “there’s something about this that hasn’t been expressed yet.”

Chance of revival: Not so much, for the moment at least

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Whilst Whedon still thinks about the project, it still has a chance of seeing the light of day. However, he recently told Buzzfeed that following the enormous strains of Avengers: Age of Ultron he just couldn’t hack another ensemble piece for a moment, so we might have to wait a little bit longer for this one.

Wastelanders

Following the success of Dr. Horrible, there was talk of another web-series, this time co-created by Warren Ellis (of Transmetropolitan fame, not the Nick Cave collaborator of the same name). Previously described by Ellis as “a funny story about the end of the world,” it would no doubt be a bit darker than Whedon’s general tone, but sure to be as funny as hell.

Chances of revival: Unclear.

Confession: If I could make a (metaphorical) blood sacrifice here and now to make this happen, I would. Seriously. But I can’t, so we might have to wait a while for this.

Myriad Buffy Projects

Over the years there have been numerous mooted Buffyverse spinoffs at varying levels of development, none of which have come to fruition. From Buffy: The Animated Series to Faith The Vampire SlayerRipper (a Giles origins show for BBC), Slayer School, even Spike: The Movie. That’s without mentioning the Whedon-less Buffy movie which was floating around for a while.

Chances of revival: Deader than the staked undead

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So much time has passed since Buffy went off the air that it seems an actual vampire invasion is more likely. Most of the cast have categorically stated they would not be interested in reviving their characters, notably James Marsters (aka Spike) and David Boreanaz (aka Angel), both of whom have aged a bit too much to play immortals. Perhaps more importantly, Sarah Michelle Gellar has distanced herself from the character, stating that period of her life is over.

The Buffy cartoon would be the most practical of the lot to revive, needing none of the original cast, nor struggling with the issue of ageing, but after the turmoil in trying to get it up and running in the first instance, this seems dead too.

Another possibility is Ripper. As recently as last year both Joss and Anthony Stewart Head have expressed interest in finally getting this done, so perhaps there is hope for that one after all, especially as ageing is not an issue with the Giles character.

However, what seemed to be the most likely Buffy revival actually had nothing to do with Whedon at all. Fran and Kaz Kuzui (who produced the original movie), started in 2009 to look at rebooting Buffy as a movie franchise, which may, or may not, have had something to do with the phenomenal success of the Twilight movies. However, despite having a script written. It was reported that the project has been on hold since December 2011. Hopefully, this is the last we’ll hear of that.

Suspension

In the early ’90s Whedon was at a meeting with a junior executive at Fox where he was pitched “a dog movie, a movie with a dog in it.” As a counter, Whedon jokingly pitched “Die Hard on a bridge.” The junior exec convinced him to write it after being told “I guarantee you will never be pitched a dog movie again.”

The script ended up selling in 1993 for $750,000 and to our knowledge, he has never been pitched another dog movie. However, Whedon was subsequently replaced on the project and after spending a lot of money in pre-production, the movie was shelved.

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Chances of revival: Surprisingly large

Despite being nearly a quarter of a century old, this might finally get off the ground. Last September, Liam Neeson told Empire he was working on a film of the same name, with the same premise, and in April of this year Whedon confirmed that this was, in fact, based on his script.

While there have been no further updates on the project, Neeson doesn’t yet seem ready to step back from the geriaction phase of his career, so this getting made is a distinct possibility.