If there was any place I’d want to be today, it would have been SDCC, Ballroom 20 from 5:30-6:30 pm. Dark Horse and Joss Whedon – the very thought of it makes me swoon in a totally fangirl way.
Scott Allie, editor at Dark Horse, started the panel off by mentioning Buffy Season 9 and Angel & Faith – both books are scheduled for 25 issues and they’re planning out the ending of each with Whedon now. He mentioned the scheduled Willow and Spike mini series and the Firefly/Serenity projects that Zack Whedon is working on.
And then the man himself came out, clad in a Much Ado About Nothing shirt – the project he completed in his downtime, shot in black and white with a cast of his friends and filmed in his home.
Once filming and production were finished – Whedon even wrote the score himself – the man who apparently has a phobia of downtime needed something else to do. Enter: Dr. Horrible 2. He’s been working on it for two years and is now waiting for the schedules to line up since “some of the actors in it are kind of successful.”
And then it was on to the question and answer sessions and, with someone as prolific as Whedon, questions ran the gamut from favorite genre to political leanings and his thoughts on the zombie apocalypse.
On the Buffy Season 9/Angel & Faith comics, fans wanted to know about Whedon’s involvement in the writing of the series. For Buffy Season 9, Joss worked with writer Andrew Chambliss on the larger structure, laying out exactly what he wanted to have happen in Season 9.
When asked to choose between Angel & Faith and Buffy Season 9, Whedon said, “Girls, you’re both pretty,” and then went on to say that he loved Angel & Faith because it’s new, but will always love Buffy. He can’t pick between them – they’re both his favorite.
What about the other comic about a slayer, Fray? Apparently, “she’s on the back burner, but she is burning. She’s on fire.”
Plenty of questions about Whedon’s Avengers – spanning from when he first realized it would be successful (he “hoped all along!”) to his vision for the film (he wanted to make it a “summer movie that’s still a movie and not a ride”) and his future with Marvel (doing two projects straight that he didn’t originate was hard for him, but he grew up a “Marvel boy” and has a “huge affection for that whole world – so it could happen”). Unsurprisingly, Whedon loves the darkness in Black Widow – something that he and Scarlett Johansson discussed when they first met. He considers the scene where Johansson is tied up to be the encapsulation of his entire career in one scene – “Look, she’s helpless! Whoops, no – she’s kicking ass!”
And what of his work has stood out the most to Whedon? “Hopefully, something I haven’t written yet!” For him, the interesting moments come when you write your way into discovering something – when you “find something out while you’re writing it.” He discovered while writing Astonishing X-Men that “in our society we are given two different directives that we are constantly trying to accomplish. That dissonance is what makes us human” – and there are echoes of that dissonance throughout his ongoing books as well.
He touched on the pressure against strong female protagonists (he was told, of the Buffy animated series that never came to be, that “she has to have a male counterpart who’s just as cool as her or we won’t do it”), why he did Much Ado About Nothing (among other reasons, he just wanted to shoot Amy Acker again), if he would bring Wash back in a hypothetical second season of Firefly (“I couldn’t just run in place, I’d have to move on to the next thing”), how to write a good villain (“If they believe that what they’re doing is right then that will be a good story. No one is completely evil except a couple of guys and no one is completely good except for me.”) and what his take on the zombie apocalypse would be (he’d make you stop and think by suggesting you should save, not kill, the zombies. And then? “Then I’d kill all of the people you love. No, the people you love – like your family.”).
And, in closing, what was Joss Whedon’s biggest geek moment? His life is one endless geek moment. An email from Joe Quesada where he said “’Just to be clear, the people you want on your X-Men are as follows’” was when Whedon had a nerdgasm. Also high on his list: meeting Neal Adams and Bernadette Peters.
In the end, the man who attributes his range and prolific nature to an inability to say no coupled with a love of a good story just wants to have more stories to tell. Next year, he hopes to have a whole new slate of things for us to ask questions about.