Buffy’s toughest ‘Season Nine’ challenge won’t be supernatural

Sept. 15, 2011 | 11:11 a.m.

Sarah Michelle Gellar may have moved on from the Hellmouth, playing twins in the new CW show “Ringer,” but Buffy is still doing what she’s always done — staking (and breaking) hearts.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine” hits comic book stores this week, and new “Buffy” writer, “The Vampire Diaries” alum Andrew Chambliss, said it’s back to the basics for Buffy and her Scooby gang. After the destruction of the Seed at the end of Season Eight, the characters are now learning to operate in a world without magic. Chambliss said it’s an opportunity to explore Buffy’s character.

“Buffy is so much fun to write because she’s so relatable,” Chambliss said via email. “Sure, she may be the Chosen One, and she can stake a vampire in her sleep, but at the end of the day she’s just like us. She struggles to do the right thing, to figure out what the right thing is. And most of the time, her biggest problems are the ones that have nothing to do with slaying.”

In some ways, the new series is a return to the world Buffy and her pals occupied during their Sunnydale years on the small screen.

“Buffy will be trying to sort out her life in the way that most twentysomethings do,” Chambliss said. “This struggle will play a central role in Buffy’s journey throughout the season, and I think it’s fair to say that some of the season’s biggest surprises and challenges will come from the non-supernatural problems that Buffy is going to face.”

buffys9 2 variant fc fnl copy Buffys toughest Season Nine challenge wont be supernatural

Variant cover for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine No. 2." (Dark Horse Comics)

It’s a decision that comes from experience, “Buffy” creator Joss Whedon told fans at Comic-Con. Taking the new slayers out of the ruins of Sunnydale and making them part of a worldwide demon-fighting operation “became an albatross,” he said.

“Kind of the point of Season Eight for me was, ‘Hey, we’re a comic, and we can do these things,’ ” Whedon said. “People were more interested in her life than the fact that we could draw bigger things …. Having discovered that we can do more than the television show, I’ve discovered that I don’t really want to.”

That’s not to say the Slayer won’t face her share of beasties.

“Magic has left the world, and its absence is still rippling across Earth,” Chambliss said. “Early on, Buffy will see how this is affecting the vampires that she’s fighting. I won’t give away specifics, but Buffy will be dealing with a new kind of vampire menace.”

Here’s some more insight from Chambliss:

On writing Buffy: “When I sit down and get into the headspace to write Buffy, I end up drawing on a lot of my own feelings and experiences — and writing is fun when I feel so connected to the character I’m writing. The other thing that makes writing Buffy so much fun is her voice — her turns of phrase, the obligatory ‘-ey’ at the end of words, and all the other idiosyncrasies that are just pure Buffy (or maybe I should say pure Joss since there’s so much of him in the way Buffy speaks).  Writing in Buffy’s voice is definitely challenging, but it’s a good challenge and one that I really enjoy.”

On his favorite characters: “So far, Spike lands at the top of my list of favorite characters to write. I think that’s for several reasons.  One, he’s British and it’s just plain old fun to write with those cadences and syntax. Two, he’s a bad boy, which I am decidedly not, so it’s fun to step out of my persona and into his. And three, he and Buffy have been through so much together that there’s so much rich emotional history to draw from when I’m sitting down to write a Spike scene. I was a big fan of Buffy and Spike’s journey together in the later seasons of Buffy so it’s fun to be able to call back to some of those storylines.”

On adding to the Buffyverse: “I have to say, I’m also having fun writing another character. There’s a character named Severin that Buffy teams up with early in the season, and I think part of the reason I’m having so much fun with him is because he’s the first new character I’m writing for the Buffyverse. It’s fun to be able to create a new character and fill in all the details — from his backstory, the way he speaks, all the way down to weighing in on very specific things like his hair and wardrobe.”

On taking the mantle: “So many things go through my mind when I think about getting the chance to be a part of Buffy. … The Buffy TV series is such a big part of what made me want to be a TV writer, and here I was with the opportunity to write for the Buffyverse. It’s such an honor to be able to step into this world and work with Joss to continue it. At the same time, I also view it as such a huge responsibility. Buffy isn’t just important to me, but it’s important to so many people. There are so many fans who have connected and related to Buffy for a very long time and I hope to continue that through Season Nine. Fortunately, I have Joss and the Dark Horse Team helping me every step of the way, and I think that fans will definitely see that we’re really trying to tell stories that feel like they’re continuing the series.”

— Noelene Clark


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4 Responses to Buffy’s toughest ‘Season Nine’ challenge won’t be supernatural

  1. Caniff Foster Ditko says:

    I can't get over how bad art is in today's comics and that Buffy variant cover. Yes, there are some good artists out there but look at that variant cover for issue 2 featured above. The head is enormous in relation to the body. And…what is it saying?!! Nothing of interest in that cover at all. The traffic cop mentality of editors today has given rise to terrible work in both the art and writing of comics. Anything to make the deadline. They think covering up bad art is just having it over-colored to the point of taking out any focus to the design. In the process of rushing the work the standards of quality have dipped to a new low which, unfortunately, are not truly representative of the wonderful power of telling a story with great understanding and craft by a knowing talent.

  2. Anika says:

    I'm excited for Season Nine! I think it's great that they're returning to Buffy's roots. Season Eight was fun and all, but I'm hopeful that this will be much cleaner and will fit into the universe a little better. I'll still read everything either way though because, well…it's Joss.

    – anikaguldstrand.wordpress.com

  3. Veiry says:

    Spike and Buffy are my favorite characters, especially Spike, and I’ve missed Spike so badly in season 8. I am so looking forward to reading Andrew Chambliss's Buffy and Spike interaction.

    Caniff Foster Ditko, I do agree with you about the artwork. The art was my biggest complain of season 8. I’m not a fan of Georges Jeanty’s artwork. He is good artist, but his cartoon-like artwork style doesn’t fit with Buffy’s story at all. And after seeing Rebekah Isaacs’s Angel&Faith art, I expect more from these comics in terms of likenesses. They’re making these comics after the tv shows and not after some Cartoon Network show for 10 year old children – the art suppose to be more realistic – no silly bobbed heads and small boddies! I would love a new artist to take Buffy’s art over, someone with more realistic style! And I love Steve Morris’s covers. And I’m sorry that he doesn’t draw and the art inside.

  4. Venece says:

    Season 9 rocks! I never considered reading comics–until my Buffy addiction drove me to Dark Horse.

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