‘Buffy’: Season 9 writer hails from another vampire camp

April 05, 2011 | 12:41 p.m.

 

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The "Buffy" 25th anniversary cover. (Dark Horse)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s gift was death. Fans never exactly found out if that was because of her avoidance of it, her resurrection(s) or her propensity to dole it out to evildoers.  Whatever the definition, we’ll get to see, and read, more about it after  the announcement over the weekend that the Dark Horse comic book will continue with a Season 9 in September.

Along with creator Joss Whedon, and whatever writers come along during the book’s run, Andrew Chambliss will have a guiding hand in continuing the saga of the slayer, her pals Willow and Xander, and other denizens of the Buffy-verse. Chambliss is currently keeping his writing fangs sharpened as a scribe on “Vampire Diaries.” (Gasp! Vampire crossover!) We won’t get any Season 9 spoilers out of anyone, but Jevon Phillips caught up with Chambliss to shed a little sunlight on who he is.

JP: So how’s “Vampire Diaries” going?

Andrew Chambliss: We’re just wrapping up the writing for the season … in terms of airing, maybe six more to go. This season we told a huge story where we found out that Elena was part of this ancient curse. Kevin [Williamson] and Julie [Plec] are so good at finding ways to ground stories that could be really big and find really human moments in it. … It’s such a bigger story where we’ve opened up the supernatural world.

JP: Is there any friction between the crowd that follows “Vampire Diaries” and the crowd that follows “Buffy”?

AC: Not that I know of. I have not come across any fans who take one camp or the other. In terms of approach, “Buffy,” with the demons and magic, goes places where “Vampire Diaries” doesn’t necessarily go. “Vampire Diaries” is a much more grounded show, but I do think there are fans of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Vampire Diaries” and that there’s a huge amount of crossover. Because at the end of the day, the similarity that Joss [Whedon] has with Kevin and Julie is that it’s always about the characters and their emotions and those real human moments.

JP: How did the Season 9 writing gig come about?

AC: I kept in touch with Joss since “Dollhouse” ended, and I ended up working with Jed [Whedon] and Maurissa [Tancharoen] on the “Dollhouse” comic book. They’d been talking to Joss about how much fun we were having and said nice things about the work I was doing on it. … I got an email from Joss, and he asked me if I wanted to be on ["Buffy"], and how can you say no to that? “Buffy” is such a huge part of what made me want to become a writer, especially in television. It’s just sort of surreal that I’m going to get an opportunity to participate in that world.

 

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"Buffy" variant cover by Jo Chen. (Dark Horse)

JP: How far into the development of the season are you?

AC: In terms of the broad strokes and the way we’re breaking down the season — it’s going to be 25 issues — we’re looking at five-issue arcs with some stand-alones thrown in there.  We have those arcs figured out, and we’ll soon be going in there to make sure that all of the character journeys are there. We’re still early on in the scriptwriting process.

JP: So, any particular characters, beside the main ones, that we can expect to see? Any favorites for you?

AC: There are a couple that I can’t mention cause I don’t want to give away any big reveals that are coming down the line. At the end of the day, I’m just excited to write Buffy and where she is in her journey as a character coming off Season 8 where she was running this huge army and it literally was “the world’s going to end.” She ends the season potentially saving the world but destroying magic. She always thought she was going to die, but now she has to answer all of these questions that hit when you normally enter your 20s. Who am I? What am I going to do? Will I be a slayer all of my life? At the same time, you have Willow facing similar questions. She’s been cut off from magic, so how much of her identity was wrapped up in being a witch? It’s interesting. … I’m discovering Buffy as a writer while she is on this path of trying to figure out who she is.  Also excited to be writing Spike. He’s definitely a character that I’ve enjoyed.

JP: Just curious … how was your experience on “Dollhouse?”

AC: “Dollhouse” was kind of like a dream come true. I’d worked on “Bionic Woman,” but there was a lot of turnover. …  For me, the great thing about ["Dollhouse"] was being able to watch all of these really great writers break story and write scripts and rewrite scripts. It was kind of like the perfect training ground to develop great habits.

JP: So with your first comics gig, how has it been working with artist Georges Jeanty? And do you want to continue to write in this medium?

AC: Working with Georges is great. He’s just doing covers right now, and I am constantly impressed. He will send 80 different concepts for a cover, each one well thought out. I can just imagine how it’s going to be to get pages coming in. I can’t tell you how excited I am to work with him. And to the second part of that question — I would love to get more into comics. It’s something I’ve been interested in since I was a kid.  I’m excited to have my entrance into that world with Joss.

(WARNING: Spoiler for those who haven’t read Season 8!)

JP: Do you think that if the show had still been on the air, events that happened in Season 8 like killing Giles and making Angel the temporary bad guy again, and things that you’re planning for Season 9, would have played well on screen?

AC: I think, obviously with a television budget and all, you wouldn’t have been able to do a season as big as Season 8 was, but they mostly would’ve been able to go through all of the same journeys for the characters. And what we’re planning on Season 9, which is mostly about Buffy growing up, is definitely a place that Joss would’ve wanted to take the show — with Buffy questioning what the rest of her life is going to be like and realizing that it might not end with her dying trying to save the world.

– Jevon Phillips

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Comments


17 Responses to ‘Buffy’: Season 9 writer hails from another vampire camp

  1. Alex Walker says:

    Just wanted to let you know about a minor typo–on The Vampire Diaries, her name is spelled "Elena" :)

  2. eternalcthulhu says:

    Sweet.

  3. squid says:

    Duhh

    #Winning

  4. Veiri says:

    Nice interview! I'm so excited to see SPIKE in Buffy's story again. Spike&Buffy are my favorite characters ever.

  5. Elena says:

    Looking forward to season 9!

  6. Jevon Phillips says:

    Thanks, Alex.

  7. Katherine says:

    I watched all 7 seasons of Buffy on TV, yet could never get into the comic book. I just rewatched Season 6 of Buffy this past week with my foreign exchange student and realized how much I disliked that season. Even the music was bad. Season 7 wasn't much better, and now I know that in Season 8, Giles gets killed off. He was my favorite character after Buffy. So I'm not going to follow Season 9 nor watch the new Buffy movie. Buffy's greatness ended with "The Gift" in Season 5.

  8. Vitor says:

    This new covers are getting me breathless. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is Life.

  9. Eilonvi says:

    great interview!

  10. jun says:

    Now that Whedon has ruined Buffy with Season 8 Vol 7 its time for someone else to relaunch the franchise with a new movie.

  11. Angel says:

    What about i Angel , he's going to be in season 9.

  12. hadeel says:

    i love buffy shes my beast character

  13. lulu says:

    I have, and always will, love Buffy
    I was so happy that the wonderful story will be carried on.
    If the story had stopped dead at the end of the TV show I would have deeply regretted the loss of all the wonderfull plots and characters.
    I cant wait till september.

  14. Sabrina says:

    Buffy is a legend. To have a strong 100 lb. woman kicking ass and taking names is something you don't see. Sarah Michelle has been immortalized on screen and in print as the true Vampire Slayer. She is like Elvis to the vamp crowd. I will watch whatever comes out and represent because I am a die hard fan. Have been since the beginning and whatever comes next I will be waiting. For those who can't get into the comic kick rocks. I guess you can't follow the story line or read. It's awesome to be able to keep the vision going! I will be a fan forever!!!

  15. Stavross says:

    Spike should become the main love interest again with out a doubt.

  16. Kylemac says:

    I thought it was pretty clear that "death is [her] gift" referred to her death. The episode where she died is called "The Gift" – she didn't kill anyone in that episode (that I recall) nor was she resurrected.

    Well, anyway, in terms of the actual comics, I've been pretty disappointed in them. The art has been "meh" at its finest (interior of course – the covers have been lovely….lovely deceptions) and I don't know if the writing is just as bad or if the art has just been bringing it down.

  17. Maty says:

    It must've been really difficult switching mediums- the comic form basically makes any story arc or setting available (within "sensible limits")- whilst celluloid shrinks the possible due to budget. Looking forward for Season 9…

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