To be a diehard Joss Whedon fan is to suffer a death worthy of one of his indelible characters. With news recently breaking that Warner Bros. has gone in another direction for the much anticipated “Wonder Woman” movie (see “Joss Whedon Won’t Write, Direct ’Wonder Woman’ — Despite Doing ’A Lot Of Legwork’ “ ), Whedon and his admirers were dealt another blow — perhaps not as painful as the end of “Buffy,” but it still stings.
On the eve of his exit from the high-profile comic book movie, the creator of “Buffy” and “Firefly” spoke to MTV News about the continuing adventures of his favorite vampire slayer — on the page and in film (see “Re-Buffed: New Comic Book Series Resurrects Vampire Slayer” ) — his take on recent big-screen comic adventures, and yes, what that “Wonder Woman” movie was going to be like. Watch Whedon wax on “Wonder Woman,” what’s next for “Buffy” and more.
MTV: Where do you begin with a project like “Wonder Woman”? Do you start with the famous bracelets or the lasso or the invisible jet?
Joss Whedon: That was absolutely the stuff that came first. Why the bracelets? Why the lasso? Why the invisible jet? The bracelets and the lasso are so much a part of who she is and the journey she goes through. They’re not just cute and they’re definitely not silly. She’s not going to spin to change her clothes.
MTV: Would you put her in modern times?
Whedon: That’s pretty much what the story is about, her inability to deal with modern times. She’s a fish out of water. It’s basically “Splash.” I just took the script from “Splash” and changed some of the names. Not all the names; I like some of the names.
MTV: You could’ve just used a script from Buffy for “Wonder Woman” …
Whedon: There’s definitely a connection. There’s a reason why they called me to write “Wonder Woman.” As someone said, I basically have two things on my résumé, wonder and women, so I might as well. But she’s actually very different than characters I’m used to writing. Diana is someone seeking out greatness. She’s already awesome. She’s the most beautiful. She’s the strongest. She’s morally not remotely complex. She’s completely righteous, so needless to say, she’s in for a lot of trouble.
MTV: Who is your villain?
Whedon: No villains, there won’t be conflict of any kind. She’s just trying on clothes. I’ve created a new villain.
MTV: Buffy has been rumored to come back in every conceivable form before, including TV movies and theatrically released films. How did the comic come together?
Whedon: I was trying to put together TV movies and different venues to use characters I loved writing and then the comic thing happened almost accidentally. Dark Horse was interested in reviving the comic, and I started thinking about it. I had sort of lost my other avenues of storytelling. I thought, “There’s no reason why I can’t continue the story here.” And then my brain exploded. I started having all these ideas and grand plans and no free time whatsoever.
MTV: Is “Buffy” as a comic going to be bigger and more epic than ever before?
Whedon: The show was very mundane, deliberately mundane. There were many things we couldn’t afford to do, but there were also certain things we wouldn’t do, whereas a comic has got to work on a grander scale. We really can take the characters wherever we want — and of course that means I can kill them.
MTV: And you like killing your characters.
Whedon: I do. I likes me a kill. I don’t like people, and I think if there were fewer of them, it’d be better.
MTV: But people are never quite dead in the Buffyverse, are they?
Whedon: Yeah, I know. I talk a good fight but the fact of the matter is, most of the people who die work more on the show after they die than before. So I should probably stop complimenting myself for that. If we have a story idea and we need someone who’s died, we’ll just dance around that in a heartbeat, because a good story idea is something you never turn your back on. Those are hard to come by.
MTV: Is there ever a danger in creating these new storylines that you paint yourself into a corner if or when you do a “Buffy” movie?
Whedon: At some point you have to let go of that fear. The movie audience is going to be different. In terms of a Buffy movie, both David [Boreanaz] and Sarah [Michelle Gellar] have pretty much got swinging careers and have never really wanted to revisit the characters anyway. It’s doubtful that would happen. I never say never, and it would be fun to do it with them. I would be willing to overlook certain discrepancies. Ultimately, a movie would have to pick them up later in their lives anyway. I would have to fudge it with David, like “He got his mortality back for five years and then he lost it again,” or something like that. I don’t think anybody’s going to mind that much if they get a movie.
MTV: Comic book movies have never been hotter in Hollywood. What recent book-to-film adaptations have excited or disappointed you?
Whedon: I still would love to see a little bit more visual panache that matched the power that the great comic book artists bring. And some of the storytelling. It’s hard. I think they did a great job for the most part with “Batman Begins.” But with Batman, that’s an easy world to get right, because it’s so visceral and gothic and exciting. I’m a purist about Daredevil, and actually am a fan of that [movie]. I realize I have friends who are right now falling over and clutching their hearts, but it’s got some good classic storytelling in that movie. Some doesn’t work, but it’s underrated.
MTV: What can you say about “Goners,” another one of your upcoming directing efforts?
Whedon: You’re not going to understand where this is coming from, but there may be a young woman who gains some powers — not something I’ve written about before, but I’m excited to try some new territory. Got to stretch. It’s a horror fantasy. It’s a little darker than I’m used to. “Goners” is a very personal thing about human connection and questioning whether there is such a thing at all. It’s very dark emotionally as well as just creepy as I can make it, reclaiming some of that horror [from “Buffy”] without going into the torture-horror-porn fad that’s ruling nowadays.
MTV: You’ve been attached to so many high-profile genre projects over the years. One wonders what you would have done with the third “X-Men” movie.
Whedon: One’s always curious. Their mandate in “X-Men” was, “Let’s have a lot of new characters.” But you already have four movie stars. I was like, “Can we go backwards instead?” And that really isn’t what they wanted. They wanted to show off Beast and Angel, and I get that. Ultimately, I was not the best guy for that. But still, one fantasizes …
MTV: What if it were a junior “X-Men” movie? You could focus on Kitty Pryde.
Whedon: I’d love to do a Kitty Pryde movie. That would be cool, and Ellen Page is so good. We should just do that!
Check out everything we’ve got on “Wonder Woman”.
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