The final issue of Dark Horse Comics' Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 was released in comics shops today. Series creator Joss Whedon spoke about the series and the upcoming Season 9 series in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. There are spoilers ahead, so if you have yet to read the series and want to remain in the dark on the plot points, I strongly suggest you exit now.
Again: spoilers ahead.
Still here? Well, you've been told. Anyway.
Whedon sounds like he feels like he got a little carried away with supernatural elements that were easily done in the comics medium that would have been a budgetary nightmare on television to the point that the story strayed a bit from the fact that Buffy Summers is, on some level, a human being that we should be able to relate to. I've pasted some of his quotes below, but do click over to the source link and have a look at the rest of the interview.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So no more magic, huh?
JOSS WHEDON: [Chuckles] Well, let’s not use hyperbole. No more magic in the sense of not so much entirely convenient magic. I wanted to play with the idea of the world dimming a little bit. Possibly because that’s how I feel about it, or at least this country in the last 10 years. And I wanted to do a little bit of a reset, where things seem more back down to earth. I got very excited when I had a comic book with the idea that I could do absolutely anything. We hit a lot of beautiful notes and I’ve got a lot of great writers working [on the comics], and I’m very proud of it. But at the same time, it’s like, yeah, “You can do anything” is not really the Buffy mission statement. The Buffy mission statement is, “What does this feel like?” So I wanted to bounce it back a little bit to the real world.
Issue No. 40 is clearly setting up Season 9, and makes it seem like it is going to be far more human-scaled.
It will be more like the television show. With the comic, we just sort of said, “Wheee!” Ultimately, “Wheee!” caught up with us in a cavalcade of mythology. It became clear, as it did with the show, that people really liked when Buffy’s adventures reflect what she’s going through in her life [and] what we’re going through in our lives at that age. That was the thing in season 8 that we didn’t tap into as much as I think we ultimately should have.
Not that anybody who’s a Buffy fan should be that shocked that you did this at this point, but Joss, you killed Giles.
Yeah, I did. I did. I have several reasons for that, some of which I can’t reveal because ripples from that event are going to be a part of both [the Buffy "Season 9" comic and the new Angelcomic]. Part of it was really just feeling that Giles’ place in the comic book did not sit the way it did in the show. To have this paternal, expositional guy there — it wasn’t really something that played in the comics the way it did when Tony Head [i.e. actor Anthony Stewart Head] does it. I wanted to make all this matter and have something that would send emotional ripples through all the characters. Also, I’m a prick. But I did tell Tony it was going to happen before it did. At first he said, “Oooh,” a little worried. Then I said, “Angel’s gonna kill you.” He said, all excited, “Oooh! That’s great!” [Laughs]
You mentioned earlier about getting into a bit of trouble thanks to the freedom that comic books afforded you. But what was your favorite “We could never do this on the TV show” moment?
I gotta go with giant Dawn. I loved giant Dawn so much, absolutely more than the readers, but I didn’t care. The idea that Dawn becomes a giant and all the permutations of that, some of which we didn’t even get to do, that was such a delight for me. It just absolutely fit in the universe. It was the right kind of problem for Dawn to have.
Again, these are just some highlights; there is quite a bit more over at Entertainment Weekly.