Joss Whedon: From a Vampire Slayer to a Dollhouse

A comics interview article by: Josh Green
While at San Diego Comic-Con, Josh Green got the chance to catch up with writer/director Joss Whedon to pick his brain about what’s to come for Buffy and Dollhouse.


Josh Green: What’s next for Buffy comics?

Joss Whedon: Jane Espenson is finishing her arc, then Brad Meltzer, an extraordinary writer, is doing an arc, and then I am finishing up the season myself. And we’ll finish Season 8 to close it out.

JG: Are you going to do a Buffy Season 9?

JW: We’re going to do a Season 9 for sure. I don’t think Dark Horse would be very happy if we didn’t.

JG: Is there any more Sugarshock coming up?

JW: You know, I don’t have any planned. But I am really dying to do it. It is just a question of time. I loved working with Fábio [Moon]. I am very proud of Sugarshock.

JG: Is the lost season one finale “Epitaph One” like a second pilot for Dollhouse?

JW: I wouldn’t call it a second pilot, but it definitely is a different vision and it will contain a lot of things about the characters about who they are and where they’re heading that people might not have seen or expected.

JG: You talk about your former shows in the way that some would speak of a lost love. So I am wondering if going into Dollhouse Season 1, did you have any concern about becoming that emotionally involved into a show again? And also how did you feel when you found out that FOX was going to let you and Dollhouse keep dating?

JW: Well I have been hurt before, it’s true. So I made the decision early on just to phone it in. And I really feel that that’s better for me. [Laughter]

No, I’m a little bit wiser and a little bit more removed with how I deal with the whole business of it. But when I get into the story; that is the only world I live in. I love the characters and I love the cast so much. But when I am in the writer’s room and we’re talking about them -- that’s our life. In the same way that it’s always been. All we do is get excited and come up with things, that we’re a little embarrassed what we thought of.

JG: Can you talk about how close Dollhouse was to being cancelled?

JW: I’d say it came extraordinarily close to being cancelled. It came down to some very simple numbers that people worked in a very complicated fashion to fudge. But my shows have never gone that big, but they are marathon runners. And this is the studio where I did those shows, even though they weren’t on the (FOX) network. They know that, so they fought hard to make it as easy for the network as possible. So it was really basically the hardcore fan base that tipped the scales. And that scale was tippy.

JG: How would you say how Dollhouse stands alongside your other shows?

JW: I think with this show I want to say to people who felt a connection to me, that maybe you want to back away and avoid eye contact. [Laughter] That maybe there is something horrible wrong with me. I think of this as a work that actually frightens me at times in a way that my other shows seldom got to.

JG: How does the second season of Dollhouse change in comparison to the first?

JW:We always intended for Paul [Ballard] to find the Dollhouse. We didn’t want him to be like the reporter in The Hulk [TV Show], showing up too late every five minutes each episode. His obsession with Echo is going to be tempted because he is going to be in there with her, partially to protect her but to also find out what is really going on. But you can gaze into the abyss or you can actually live in it. So we’re going to see that Echo is starting to grow and that everybody else really starts to come apart a little bit.

JG: What political and ethical dilemmas are you interested for season 2?

JW: Well I think ultimately the thing that fascinates me is morality and personal politics. Yet I would say in terms of second season, the abuse of power and the different kind of forms it can take is going to become broader and more impactful than it has been.

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