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July 02 2008

(SPOILER) Joss Whedon talks Buffy #16 and beyond. He tells MTV News, "Buffy lends itself to a comic book universe more than anything I've ever done. Buffy is a comic book." Also first details on the season 8 arc Jane Espenson will be writing.

I kinda got from that interview, he just made season 8 to make sense of Fray...
So,Oz returns in an arc written by Jane Espenson and he's the central figure of the arc.I wonder if this is the arc before Brad Meltzer's which had the unassigned writer because I thought Jane was suppose to write issue 21,the start of the standalone issues giving us the various points of view.Maybe she's doing both?

Naked Willow is coming and more hints of the Scoob's world being turned upside down coming up.
I don't think it's unfair for anyone to immediately jump to the "another sex scene with Buffy" place about Naked Willow, is it? I tend to hope not. For some reason Buffy and Willow getting together would be, in the long view of the series, one of the biggest kicks in the sack Xander could take as a character.

Also, we've already *had* Naked Willow, about as revealingly as it can be given in comic format. Unless they're going... more revealing?

Very glad to know that the return of Oz is much more clear now, and not possibly just being related to the flashback issue.
shesmyeverything, that is pretty much the same message I got from the interview.

I can't believe that we are half way through season 8 already. I guess I reckoned that we would know more about Twilight by now.
I kinda got from that interview, he just made season 8 to make sense of Fray...

If this was the only article I'd ever read on Season 8, I might see that too. But I think here it's just the angle the reporter took from what Joss was saying. I think it's just one piece of the puzzle.
Sunfire, I think the Fray focus is more than just the interviewer's interpretation -- here is the direct quote from Joss:

"The world of Fray has been a huge influence, in fact, the influence on season eight," Whedon said. "At the end of the series, I had something that categorically did not connect, and rather than throw out continuity, I used that. The present is so interesting with tons of slayers, and the future as we know it is quite the opposite. So why is that? And is that the death of magic?" "The world of Fray has been a huge influence, in fact, the influence on season eight," Whedon said. "At the end of the series, I had something that categorically did not connect, and rather than throw out continuity, I used that. The present is so interesting with tons of slayers, and the future as we know it is quite the opposite. So why is that? And is that the death of magic?"

To me, his emphasis of the word "the" in sentence one shows that his need to connect Fray's world to Buffy's was, in fact, the driver for Season 8.
I don't see how it contradicts. Joss has always explained Season 8 by saying, "I had stories left to tell," and probably one honkin' huge one was "how do we go from oodles of slayers down to none?" 'Cause remember, Fray is the first in a long, long time. Long enough for the Watchers to go completely bonkers. And Joss, continuity-minded as he is, probably felt an itch about resolving that.

Sounds like fun stuff coming up. I probably won't get my copy of #16 until after the 4th, alas.
Sunfire, I think the Fray focus is more than just the interviewer's interpretation

I'll try again. Options:

1. Buffy Season 8 is because the voices would not stop talking.
2. Buffy Season 8 is because he needed to explain the connection to Fray.
3. 1 + 2 + randomness.

Some say 2, previous interviews mentioned 1, I'm going to be all crazy and suggest multiple motivations are possible and people are overthinking this.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2008-07-02 15:58 ]
Agreed Sunfire -- thanks!
We're really halfway through Season 8? Only 32 issues? I thought the issue count for S8 was 40+ for some reason. Or was the arc broken up into S8 & S9, perhaps?

mgmn, I thought we'd know more about Twilight at this point too. Big reveal at the end of the Fray arc would be cool.
It's 40 issues, but this arc brings us up to that midway point.
I thought the series had been hinting to Fray since the end of S7. Didn't Joss start Fray before Buffy the show ended? Didn't the Scythe appear in Fray before Buffy?
In a way, I wish Buffy were more of a comic book. Meaning it feels like AN episode of Buffy is being put into comic book form and we get 1/4 of it every month. And while I can't quite put my finger on it as to why; that plays differently than a four issue mainstream comics story.

Hate to say it but I really don't quite know what the hell is going on. Jeanty's artwork isn't helping. Other than "the stars" his art is too imprecise to be able to distinguish some characters from others. Especially in long shots. Those are just way too sketchy and they confuse the hell out of me.

But I think it will all come together when, after all is said and done, the giant sized three inches thick hardback of Buffy the Vampire Slayer - the Complete Eighth Season "on DVD" is released.
I thought the series had been hinting to Fray since the end of S7. Didn't Joss start Fray before Buffy the show ended? Didn't the Scythe appear in Fray before Buffy?


Yes and yes. The first issue of Fray was published in 2001, though it took 'til 2003 for them to get all eight issues out.
Well, not that I was prescient or anything, but all along I said that Joss was going to use these Buffy comics to bring an end to the slayer line as we know it, since that is a given from what was revealed years ago in Fray. And this confirms that, a point I find tremendously depressing. I really wanted to be wrong.

As to whom is involved in this, and whom would cause the pain, and whom we might not expect, that is really just a few people. It will not be Angel or Spike, nor will it be a known big bad like Glory or The First Evil- too obvious. If it is a living person, it will have to be Giles (not Riley)- and I can come up with very good reasons why Giles might want the slayer line ended especially if he comes to understand that having so many slayers really does pose significant problems for survival. If it is not, the only other possible person it could be is Tara- and that is not somewhere I want to go.
"A sort of mystical STD" is a very witty phrase. Just noticing.
How about Xander, Dana? He's seen Slayerhood and magic bring nothing but trouble to his nearest and dearest.

As to "the end of the Slayer line" -- well, no. It puts the line on hiatus until Fray. And, ostensibly, Slayers weren't needed before Melaka was called... so it's not outright catastrophe.
"A sort of mystical STD" is a very witty phrase. Just noticing.

Except that it seems wrong, since it was the roommate and not the boyfriend. So the thricewise thing, if still relevant, seems to be differently so.
I'm sorry, were there other things discussed after naked Willow? Things hazy. Feeling dreamy. Has Tiny Fey returned to the, uh... fray?
I remember when Season 7 introduced the scythe some viewers were like WTF ? Or they just didn't care. Or when they found out, they were a little apprehensive about comic book continuity/details intruding on the show (except for the Jonathan comic book existing, everyone loved that little detail). Some, after reading Fray, were cool with it and/or loved the scope of how far Joss had in mind for the Buffyverse. Others were still "meh" toward it. I can see how some fans maybe aren't too thrilled with the book becoming both about Buffy and Fray, but to me it feels seamless. I was cool with Fray being the future of the 'verse when I read the monthly issues (and the deal was sealed even more solidly when she showed up in Tales of The Slayer), pretty thrilled about the scythe showing up as an actual prop in Season 7 (gotta take happies where I can in that season), and although I'm a little apprehensive about time travel until I read this week's issue, I'm cool with more Fray storyline being addressed and Joss pretty much revealing to us that we're gonna get to see the whole picture of what that flashback scene in Fray was referring to.

"The end of the Slayer line" doesn't necessarily have to mean that all the non-Buffys&Faiths will die (and possibly including those two in whatever mass catastrophe takes place). We already saw that happen a lot in Season 7 and a bit (and way more poignantly, IMO, with "The Chain" and Renee) so far in Season 8. They could just get de-powered or end up in another dimension or something (re: the big portal-looking thing in Fray with presumably Buffy's hand being the last thing to go through it...someone's feminine hand, at least).

I dunno...the end of the Slayer line might not necessarily be as bad or depressing as you'd assume at first.

Tangent: Since "everyone who ever could be a slayer, will be" was the gist of Buffy & Willow's plan/spell, does that mean when a baby girl is born who would've been a potential, she's instantly a Slayer, strength and all (or more likely, a Slayer right from conception?) ? That would pose some problems for parents trying to get a handle on or discipline their rowdy toddlers. And also, more are being added to the line every year with new births of specific girls ?

Whatever magic/force (beyond whatever those African shamans did to The First Slayer) governs the slayer power (or whatever) seems to do a lot to ensure there's plenty of fodder for the line. I wonder if there're always roughly 2000 potentials, or if that number increased in ratio with the population growths throughout history. So like, 10 others during the time of The First, a few hundred to pick up the mantle during Joss's blonde medieval girl's time (the one from the poem, killed by vamp Saint Just, in Tales Of The Slayer), etc. Just random guesses. It's another one of those bits of mythology that I can't help wondering about, same as with how the Watchers manage to track down the locations of the active slayer and some potentials (Kendra, Faith).
One thing (the tenor of these comments reminds me of many of the letters concerning Zenobia's pregnancy in the old King Conan comics) okay I'm not familiar with Fray but it's set in what, the late 25th Century or so?

So if the end of magic occurs in, say the middle 23rd Century, there's plenty of time for the scenario of Fray #1 to be in place without affecting Aunt Buffy 's Adventures in Slayerland.

Maybe.
But I think it's clear that Joss wants to resolve the discrepancy, DaddyCat, and he'd prefer to do that with characters we know rather than just launch in with all-new people.

Kris, I wonder about those things too. I especially feel sorry for any expecting mothers of potentials, who must have had one heck of a time with the baby kicking. And discipline might very well be a problem with parents who rely on force; not so much with parents who rely on the "I'm not mad, I'm disappointed" speech which so many of us dread.

I think potentials can stop being potential, as Kennedy said in S7, once their "slot" is filled by some other girl. So I don't think there are any slayers older than Buffy, which might be a contributing factor to why everyone calls her "ma'am."
Hmm, if Joss does exile them to another dimension, maybe I can sue my way into the gossip columns.....
The slayer line does not "die" but it effectively dies out for several hundred years. That was the import of Fray, which left the "how" of that question unanswered. Now it is getting answered. Yuck.

ManEnough- I honestly believe we are being set up to believe that it will be Xander. Which is precisely why I am certain it will not be him. I understand Xander has had a tough time, but I cannot see him aligning himself with Twilight- the very person who caused all his misery- as a result. Makes no sense. I could make a better argument for Willow- especially as we know that it will involve someone unexpected and cause tremendous pain (ie, Tara)- but even there I think Joss risks really upsetting people if he makes Willow evil again. I still think it will be Giles, and it will be because he finds himself with some choice that involves ending the line (and saving the world) or not (and having something horrible occur- we already know Giles is willing to sacrifice the few to save the many).
Dana, why do you not want the "how" answered? I don't understand.
Yeah, I don't understand that either.

I mean, it doesn't exactly mean that they're all gonna die. I just reread Fray today before jumping into "Time of Your Life," and Urkonn specifically states that he does not know whether or not the Slayer who banished all of the demons dies.

I've often thought that the Scoobies might prevent the Slayer line from being eliminated, thus effectively erasing Mel's future. Though I'm sure that would piss off many fans, and I don't know if Joss would want to get rid of such a wonderful playground.
Unplugged: I agree that it is possible that Fray's future will not come to pass, or that it will, but it will be different or something. Just the fact that Buffy is going to her time is alerting her and the Scoobys that there was a "death of magic," and this might be the impetus to try and change that.

As far as Giles, I have a question. Remember in the first S8 arc when Giles is talking to the big demon guy in his lair, or whatever? The demon says "We are not amused...Three of our brood slain!" and Giles says: "They broke protocol." I feel like I am missing something very critical. Why was Giles talking to this demon? What is the protocol? Can someone help me out with that?
Regarding the winnowing of the slayer line back to one, it could be that Willow's spell worked only on those potentials already born at the time it was cast. Thus the slayer line would fade out due to attrition as the current group dies over time, until finally there is only one left, at which a potential is called again per the old ways.
barboo, that is exactly what I was thinking. So, I think your idea is absolutely brilliant!
The way I see it, it's simple enough. Slayers only exist through magic: they're powered by the essence of a demon energising their bodies. If you somehow manage to banish all magic and all demons from the Earth (as Urkonn said will happen), then all current Slayers will become ordinary women again. Nobody has to die.

Potentials will keep on being born, but none of them will become Slayers because there's no demonic essence anymore to activate them. But in Melaka's time the magic comes back, and she (and Harth) do get Called.


As for toddler Slayers and foetus Slayers - I don't think so. Buffy said every girl who can be a Slayer - and girls under the age of puberty can't be Slayers. Problem solved. :-)
I really intended to read this article carefully and conscientiously, in great depth and detail, so I could, y'know, ponder the upcoming wonders and apply my Sherlockian powers to deciphering the hidden clues.

Unfortunately, I sorta lost my concentration when I hit the phrase "naked Willow", and my brain is still glazed over...
As far as Giles, I have a question. Remember in the first S8 arc when Giles is talking to the big demon guy in his lair, or whatever? The demon says "We are not amused...Three of our brood slain!" and Giles says: "They broke protocol." I feel like I am missing something very critical. Why was Giles talking to this demon? What is the protocol? Can someone help me out with that?

I read it as the demon side broke an uneasy truce agreement and therefore any complaints about the demons who broke it getting slayed weren't going to generate any sympathy or misgivings on the Slayer side. But yeah Giles did seem to carry extra authority there, so all kinds of things we don't know about yet could be going on.

Unfortunately, I sorta lost my concentration when I hit the phrase "naked Willow", and my brain is still glazed over...

Man knows how to get his reading audience's attention in an interview.
I'm okay with time lines shifting, things being re-written. Then again, I liked Back to the Future.

RE: slayers, death of. I liked the combination of barboo, TamaraC, & stormwreath's opinions. I look at it as a drastic shift in what once was equilibrium. Tons of slayers, lots of magic, lots of demons. It's against nature's way to be "normal", in equilibruim. Well, to counter-act that imbalance, there needs to be a shift towards no monsters, no magic, no slayers. It's as if it takes 2 centuries to get back to "normal"- one girl, demons and monsters. What do you think?

And, as far as un-doing it, let's say it can't be un-done. The essence of the scythe was taken, girls were powered up in Season 7... you can't take back that. Now you just have to deal with it... maybe pass on some wisdom to the newbie (Fray) on what to expect. As, you know, we can all expect the cycle to occur again as our world is always trying to find the balance and yet be in equilibruim at the same time.

Like applying string theory to the expansion of the universe.
Naked Willow... Ummmm

As long as this comic doesn't end with my buffy passing away I'll be relatively content.
Nothing from this article can eclipse Jane Espenson writing an arc centered on OZ, nothing.

I have no more comments, ever. (kidding)
Hi, guys. I did not say that I did not want the "how" answered. What I said, was "yuck." Different meaning. See, my fear is that this comic series was set up to do one thing- to end all future for the Slayerverse. I mean this in the sense that Joss can use this to bring an end to the series, for himself, that is. So what we are seeing here is a storyline that will end the verse as we know it. And it is that that I find "yuck." I know that virtually no one will agree with me here, but my fear is that the changes being wrought will forever alter how the verse operates. When S7 ended, we had a beuatiful coda to the series. Buffy alone no longer existed; girls were empowered to be slayers, and it was a communal vision of female empowerment- the series went out on a high.

Fast forward several hundred years to Fray. Something went wrong after Willow cast her spell. I was content not knowing what that was, and how something as powerful as the slayer line ended up essentially defunct. Because, Buffy went out strong. Now we are going to see that strong conclusion be amended. And we know that it HAS to do with Willow casting the empowerment spell and altering the original spell that created THE Slayer. Knowing it will be the Scoobs that create the end of the line just depresses the hell out of me. Hence, again, yuck.

Look, Star Wars was great. And then they made the second series and forever crapped up that story- and now Indiana Jones bringing in, you know, Close Encounters- these are real nuking the fridge moments. I don't want to see that happen to Buffy. I guess this was a more serious answer than I initially intended, and these are just my thoughts, and I hope I am wrong, but my sense is, we are seeing closure being brought to this tale, forever and forever. It may take a few years to get there in comic time, by which I could be like 60, but still.
Ie. Dana5140, that Joss is partly doing this to silence fandom's request for more B'verse films and/or shows?

Joss is only 9 years younger than I am; as I've said, I hope I get to read his autobiography.
Knowing it will be the Scoobs that create the end of the line just depresses the hell out of me. Hence, again, yuck.

I don't think there will be yuck factor. I expect it's going to end well. I don't mean happily (although I do suspect that for Buffy), but I do think it won't be disappointing.
Dana - I don't want the Buffy verse to end either.
I understand the sentiment, Dana5140. Thatís why I donít have a problem with enjoying the comics but seeing them as a different sort of canon than the TV series...
Always hard to know whether or not to read interviews marked as having spoilers. Left this one 'till after I read #16 and I knew Oz was coming back already so, phew, I got away with that one ok. Wish I hadn't known about centaur Dawn before reading the issue though - need to be stronger in future!

Dana5140, it's pretty easy to argue that getting rid of magic would improve Buffy's world considerably. I wouldn't see slayers losing their powers as depressing (whoever is responsible) if at the same time the world is rid of vampires and demons (sorry Angel and Spike ;).

However, I don't have clue how season eight will end because while it is being tied into Fray, I can't see how we can have a season nine without magic. Twists and turns ahead no doubt. If everything is neatly wrapped up at the end of season nine, I'll be perfectly happy with that as it's two more than I ever expected.

[ edited by cypher on 2008-07-04 04:18 ]
Dana, Here's the way I see it:

As of "Chosen", "Fray" already marked the end of the Buffyverse; it was done, that was the future, some 21st-Century Slayer put the mojo to bed and disappeared from history along with it, end of story. Two or three (or more) aborted attempts later to return to the 'verse didn't work out, so, there already wasn't going to be any more to the story (except for fanfic, which I don't count.) All of the stuff that makes you go yuck? It was already done - the only thing missing were the details as to how it got there. That was the future of the Buffyverse.

Then, here comes Season 8. And with it, there's a chance to tie up the loose ends, but: with the meeting of the two Slayers, there's also an opportunity for the story to go someplace totally different; the "Fray" universe in the original series might still come about, or it might be completely changed because of Buffy's trip. I can't fathom why someone would rather not have any more story than take a chance on the possibilities.
Rowan- because the story ended perfectly, that's why. Reversing all or part of it in my estimation will alter that perfect ending and tear down the wall of feminine empowerment that had been built up. And tinkering (potentially) with the Scoobs- whether Xander, Willow or Giles- risks damaging all that came before. But hey, you know, ymmv, of course. Me, I am just depressed- and Fray was not on the radar for the vast majority of people who regularly watched Buffy when it was on- and Joss certainly did not have to make any of it canon, which is a decision he used in other regards, right?
I loved the nuking the fridge moment. :-) There's two reasons why I don't fear the ending you suppose, Dana.

First, the creator and writers have a way of confounding our (entirely logical and well-thought-out) explanations and predictions. Second, while I agree that "Chosen" was a beautiful ending, that "ending" isn't ruined by subsequent developments. Just as "Becoming Part II" isn't ruined by our discovery, pretty soon after (or almost at the same time, thanks to some ads), that Angel wasn't irrevocably dead, and just as The Empire Strikes Back isn't ruined for me by the prequels. For me, at least, the stories retain their power - sometimes that power is enhanced and colored by later development but, for some reason, it's almost never diminished. But that may well be, as you say, a personal mileage issue . . .
Personally I found the ending of season seven and the message of female empowerment was less than perfect due to the fact that all the potentials not with Buffy (the vast majority) had no say in becoming slayers and it was in fact forced upon them. While I understand the message in theory, in practise it was a bit of a mixed message.
Dana5140:
Fray was not on the radar for the vast majority of people who regularly watched Buffy when it was on- and Joss certainly did not have to make any of it canon

Well, I gotta say - the first part of that statement is irrelevant to much of anything. It's part of the story regardless of who did or didn't read it. Lots of people probably never read past "The Hobbit", but that doesn't make "Lord of the Rings" non-existent, either. As for the second... well, he didn't have to write any of it, either - including the TV series. Why would an author want to waste time writing a story set in their own creative universe just to say, "Oh, but I'm just kidding, this isn't really part of the story..."
Rowan- but that is what Joss did by his own admission, throw out some stuff that was canon in order to do the comic. That was my point. And Warren, hey, is a mistake, by their own admission, right?
I also re-read Fray before the latest Buffy, and I'm intrigued as to how exactly Joss intends to tie up the continuity gap between the end of S7 and the situation described in Fray. Just to remind of a couple of very specific things from that. We are told that the last Slayer called before Fray was called in the 21st Century. So you'd imagine it might be Buffy (and certainly I would think anyone reading Fray when it came out would assume that was Buffy). But it's very clear the way it's talked about that there was one last Slayer called at that time, and that we were still in a situation where one is called, and she dies, and then another is called. Obviously, this is because at the time Joss wrote Fray he hadn't come up with the way he chose to end S7. But that means that if Joss really wants to tie his continuity up, we can't go from the current situation in S8 to no magic/no Slayers in one step. We would need to get down to one again, and the succession of one called at a time being restored (and that, and the death of magic, within this century). I'm not sure that an assumption that Willow's empowerment spell worked as a one-off gets us out well enough. If it did, then presumably Joss wouldn't feel there was a continuity gap to cover.

The fact of Joss using a time rift and introducing all the tricksiness of time travel paradoxes does add something else into the mix. If Buffy's going to Fray's time changes what happens with the death of magic, and so changes what Fray's world is like, it would be a classic time travel paradox, and I'd be interested to see how Joss and the other Buffy comic writers handle that. Personally, I find time travel paradoxes fascinating, but I think few writers embrace them well (Terry Gilliam is one who does very well, and always springs to mind).

Much as I understand the desire for there always to be the potential for more Buffyverse stories, personally I'd be happy to see everything tied up by the end of S9, with continuity with Fray established. It's rare for something actually to complete in a satisfying way, what with early cancellations or shark-jumping and outstaying the welcome with other shows. If Joss has a complete vision for this, and we get to be able to see it in total, that would for me be a lovely thing.
I get what Dana is saying and have the same feeling. I did not feel that way at the beginning of S8, but it has been developing along with my disappointment with S8 as a whole.

[ edited by newcj on 2008-07-04 17:01 ]
I'm enjoying Season 8, it's arguably a better "season" than Season 7 was IMO (although the best episodes of Season 7 like "Selfless" and "Conversations with Dead People" and a few others, they still outshine the average Season 8 episodes for punch and emotional oomph), so at this point I'm glad we got more canon Buffy stories (and who says canon had to be thrown out to create Season 8 ? I was fine with the Buffy doubles and no The Immortal, whereas Warren kind of is a mistake in Buffyverse logic unless Joss explains in more detail how he was kept alive/resurrected). I'm very much looking forward to the Buffy/Angelverse having a definitive end some day. Whether, in my eyes, that should be Season 9 depends on how I'm feeling by the end of Season 8 and then during Season 9. I love this universe, but I don't want to have to wait another ten years for the definitive conclusion.
Dana, Fray was always canon.
Dana5140:
Rowan- but that is what Joss did by his own admission, throw out some stuff that was canon in order to do the comic. That was my point. And Warren, hey, is a mistake, by their own admission, right?


Exactly what part of what was canon was thrown out?

If you mean "The Girl In Question", remember that no one, including the audience, ever saw Buffy's face. All there was to go on was Andrew's word, which - knowing how little of anything he ever said was true - I can't fathom why anyone would take at face value. Now we find out he lied. Big surprise, and no different from, say, finding out in "Enemies" that Angel really wasn't Angelus, and really wasn't with Faith and Wilkins.

And Warren's appearance is a mistake. Well, so what? There's an oops, yeah, it was a continuity goof, now we need something to fix it. Big deal. Considering all the authors I've seen that make absolutely no effort to keep any sort of continuity, or even pretend they care, I can live with it. It's an easy enough one to erase. I'll start worrying about stuff like that when it's decided that Willow really hated Tara and is secretly in love with Spike.

Kris:
I love this universe, but I don't want to have to wait another ten years for the definitive conclusion.


Me, neither. I'd be happy for the story to keep going, but on the other hand, I'd hate like hell to check out myself before I find out how it ends...

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