On June 23, 1964 — 50 years ago today — Joss Whedon came into this world. That date also kicked off a half-century of badass characters and wisdom dropping from the creator of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," and "Firefly" and the assembler of the Avengers.
We love Joss Whedon, and we can think of no better way of celebrating his 50 years on this planet than by taking a look back at some of his own words that capture his intelligence and wit.
"I think there's a lot of people out there who say we must not have horror in any form, we must not say scary things to children because it will make them evil and disturbed... That offends me deeply, because the world is a scary and horrifying place, and everyone's going to get old and die, if they're that lucky. To set children up to think that everything is sunshine and roses is doing them a great disservice." Source
"You can either watch TV or you can make TV." Source
"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by and they CANCELLED MY FRIKKIN' SHOW. I totally shoulda took the road that had all those people on it. Damn." Source
"My visions of the future are always pretty much standard issue. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer... and there are flying cars." Source: "Fray" foreword
"Very occasionally, if you really pay attention, life doesn’t suck." Source: "Once More, with Feeling" liner notes
"If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do." Source
"Just remember it's what's INside that counts, as I used to remind girls in high school constantly. CONSTANTLY - until I realized that I was empty inside. Empty and homely. Man, that's a rough combo." Source
"People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don't like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy." Source
"People with real power never fear of losing it. People with control think of little else." Source
"Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don't forget food. You can go a week without laughing." Source
"The greatest expression of rebellion is joy." Source
"Beautiful revelations of power are often written by the guy who got kicked around and didn’t have any power." Source
"I think weed’s a fine thing, for the enjoyment of and, occasionally, for thinking about movies."
"Never sit at a table you can’t walk away from."
"Somebody once asked me if I have anything like faith, and I said I have faith in the narrative. I have a belief in a narrative that is bigger than me, that is alive and I trust will work itself out."
"Life’s too short to dwell on the things that didn’t happen."
"Why do it again if you can’t do it better?"
"I'm the least confident person in so many ways. But I believed that if somebody gave me the chance to tell a story, I would tell a story [well enough] that the person who gave me the chance would get their money back."
"If I find out I have to write today and nothing else, that’s a perfect day."
"Everything we do really is just a little marker on the long road to death. And sometimes that’s overwhelmingly depressing to me, and sometimes it makes me feel kinship and forgiveness."
"My stories do have hope because that is one of the things that is part of the solution—if there can be one."
"Everything is a drug. Family, art, causes, new shoes… We’re all just tweaking our chem to avoid the void." Source
"Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity: we need it to stand on this earth as men and women. The misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who is confronted with it. We need equality, kinda now." Source
[Why do you write such strong women characters?] "Because you're still asking me that question"
"Actually, I'm, no offense, very tired of being labelled as "the guy who kills people". Shakespeare (he's this hot new writer) does it way more than me, and everyone's all excited about how he, as it were, holds a mirror up to nature, while I'm like the Jason Voorhees of the writing community. Unfair." Source
"I don't allow funny stories on set. They waste time. Time that could be spent in the writer's room, wasting time."
"I have many dream projects. But all the money in the world means just one thing: spaceships. Spaceships in trouble."
"As for my political bent, it comes from how I was raised -- and my own very strong sense of being helpless and tiny and terrified (that goes away, right?). The only trouble it's ever caused me is that once you take a stance as a person, people are always using that as a yardstick in your work, which can be kind of limiting."
"All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn't your pet — it's your kid. It grows up and talks back to you."
"There's a time and place for everything, and I believe it’s called 'fan fiction'."
"If you have a good idea, get it out there. For every idea I've realized, I have ten I sat on for a decade till someone else did it first. Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE." Source
"If I were God I'd end suffering & violence but first a run of FLAWLESS tweets, funny/topical - inspiring but not preachy, just great #tweets" Source
"2014: I'm going to EMBRACE LIFE & whisper in its ear 'I'm on to you you piece of s**t' & people at the party will think 'Joss loves life'" Source
"I have a desperate longing to have a desperate longing" Source
"I'm one of the great thinkers of my generation. I think about stuff LOTS -Now I'm thinking about thinking OMG DID I BREAK REALITY" Source
"You either believe women are people or you don't. It's that simple." Source
"I'm not getting $100 mil on Avengers 2. If I were, I would come on this site and laugh and laugh and laugh. I'm not making Downey money. I'm making A LOT, which is exciting. I'm not pretending to be a poor farmer, an Everyman, an ANYman. But that number is nuts." Source
"I don't actually have anything against anybody, unless their belief precludes everybody else's." Source
"Stay crunchy, even in milk..." Source
"Part of fulfillment is need, is longing, is being unfulfilled, that’s the nature of tragedy and a lot of drama." Source
"I felt this was a story that had not been told. I just needed somebody to believe as strongly as I did, and I found a giant corporation that did, which is the best person of all!" Source
"Even if you’re writing a 'Die Hard' rip-off, have something to say about 'Die Hard' rip-offs. The number of movies that are not about what they purport to be about is staggering. It’s rare, especially in genres, to find a movie with an idea and not just, 'This'll lead to many fine set-pieces,'" Source
"The stupidest person in the room might have the best idea."
"Think in terms of what audiences think. They go to the theatre, and they either notice that their butts are numb, or they don’t. If you’re doing your job right, they don't."
"The two things that matter the most to me: emotional resonance and rocket launchers. Party of Five, a brilliant show, and often made me cry uncontrollably, suffered ultimately from a lack of rocket launchers." Source: Audio Commentary for "Innocence"
"Stories come from violence, they come from sex. They come from death. They come from the dark places that everyone has to go to, kind of wants to, or doesn't, but needs to deal with. If you raise a kid to think everything is sunshine and flowers, they're going to get into the real world and die.... That's the reason fairy tales are so creepy, because we need to encapsulate these things, to inoculate ourselves against them, so that when we're confronted by the genuine horror that is day-to-day life we don't go insane." Source
"There’s great shows out there. I’m not like, ‘Oh those stodgy voters, they don’t get how great we are, blah, blah, blah,’ because the fact that I’m ever having a conversation about the Emmys in regards to a show called Buffy the Vampire Sayer means that something’s gone horribly right, so the critical understanding of this show has been so gratifying. The fact that the critics got it and appreciated it from day one, and the rabid, almost insane fan base is great. Anything else is just gravy."
"People want the tragedy. They need things to go wrong, they need the tension. In my characters there’s a core of trust and love that I’m very committed to. These guys would die for each other, and it’s very beautiful. But at the same time, you can’t keep that safety. Things have to go wrong, bad things have to happen." Source
"A work of art takes on a life beyond its creator, and when that happens, it’s the most gratifying thing in the world. It’s like raising a child who becomes a grownup and is suddenly talking to you." Source
"You are going to change the world, because that is actually what the world is. You do not pass through this life, it passes through you. You experience it, you interpret it, you act, and then it is different. That happens constantly. You are changing the world. You always have been." Source