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"The words 'Let that be a lesson' are a tad redundant at this juncture."
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June 12 2010

Buffyfest blogs from Philly Comic Con. Covering the panels of James Marsters and Clare Kramer.

Hey, at least he's honest, if a bit succinct. I haven't read a lot of the making of Buffy, so I didn't know that Joss didn't want the character of Angel or that he didn't like Spike. He did give him some good bits in OMWF, but not much time in his other episodes, post Season 2. I'm sure there's some fuzzy memory or interpretations going on, but still interesting.
True, mostly. Except for the obvious "Fool for Love." (A Hole in the World?) Yes, written by Petrie, but Joss was very much involved and the ultimate creator. I think that this is more exageration than obfuscation on JM's part. I really believe that Joss' mixed feelings (and eventually exhaustion) regarding vampires must have caused some tension with writers who loved to write them. However, I think that Joss realized that they gave some depth and history to the mythology. (I have to admit bias, because I loved the four of them with a passion, and the flashbacks were sublime {IMHO}) I believe that Spike was a delight, but a problem. Was he a second/stand-in Angel? Was he a cynical voice? Was he worthy of Buffy? All I know is that for me, he put the dynamic in the dynamic tension between creator and creation, and (yeah, for me alone) that dynamic rivals Frankenstein.
Videos and photos are up now from today's James Marsters panel. We'll try to get Clare Kramer's panel updated soon. Enjoy!
I was there, and James was fantastic! (I have photos from the same angle but on the other side of James.) I missed Clare's panel, because I wasn't even aware there was one (or I might have been in on a different panel). Clare is really sweet and much better looking in person than on TV as Glory.
Interesting and honest interview, although it sounded like some actors were being a little whiny about having to do the musical. They were getting paid pretty good money for these jobs.

[ edited by GhostsWatcher on 2010-06-14 02:17 ]
Joss wrote some of the most spectacular developments in Spike's character arc. Spike's soliloquy in the church in Beneath You and the ultimate heroism in Chosen. So while Joss might have initially been hesitant, he certainly gave Spike some of the character's most interesting development, if not some of the best writing. And as has been mentioned above, Whedon's involvement in Fool For Love was also central (really, so many writers put touches on that episode--I believe it was Marti who wanted Buffy and Spike to sigh in time at the end while on the back porch).

I remember reading Petrie worrying that he'd written Spike as too much the heroic Bond type when he escaped from the Initiative, that Spike was evil and yet the scene felt like he was being presented as the hero. Both Espenson and Joss replied saying no, he is the hero. In that moment, he's the hero.

Someone should show James Marsters Whedon's "Writer Environment" interview, in which Joss speaks very well of Spike's character:

Jeff: So when did you realize that Spike was more than just a villain?

Joss: Pretty much when James Marsters auditioned for it. Um, Spike was ya know, Spike was somebody that I loved conceptually and then ya know, James just brought and then kept on bringin'. So, it just, it was a pretty gradual process but it was always happening.

Jeff: A unique transition in that character from just a villain to almost the typical anti-hero. And yet never completely there.

Joss: Well, as a villain he was, ya know the Master that we started with was a straight up villain like, his belief system was just evil. And what was fun about Spike was, I said ok great and, and Mark, Mark Metcalf did a wonderful job, but now we need a villain who, that we can relate to in the way that we're relating to our other people, so that thematically they can become useful. So to introduce this guy who is clearly 'oh I'm such a bad ass' and then have him very tenderly in love with another vampire, so from the very beginning the idea was well he's not just, ya know a cardboard. He's, he's, he's gonna have levels to play. Um, how many I didn't at the time realize, but ah, in a way he, he really didn't change that much. Ah, he's a character that I always liked a little bit more than Angel because --

Jeff: He's got more of an edge.

Joss: He was more evolved, though. He had more of an edge, but at the same time ya know he was, ya know he chose to have a soul.

Jeff: Sure.

Joss: Ya know he ah, he learned from his mistakes and he um, Angel was kinda the classic Lestat puffy shirt, ya know...

Jeff: Right.

Joss: Um, and ah, and Spike was sort of the new mod rebellion against that, so I ah, I like that character. I always, I always thought he was a good guy even when he was a bad guy.

Jeff: Bad boy though, chicks love bad boys.

Joss: They do, they do. If they loved bad dancers the way they loved bad boys I would have been like, whoo.

Jeff: You would have been writing that.

Joss: Oh yeah.

Jeff: So it was an easy decision to bring him from Buffy over to Angel.

Joss: Um, the WB said they would not renew Angel unless we brought him over, so yeah it was a very easy decision.

Jeff: Really? Oh.

Joss: Um, and it was also an easy decision creatively, yes. We were, it was, and the best decision because we had a great ensemble on Angel um, but Spike and Angel's history meant that he and David played off each other in a way that nobody could, male or female and, ya know, David did some of his best work because he was in the room with James and Spike and Angel just... you think it's a banjo act and a banjo act but it's really not, they're so different.

Jeff: Instant conflict and yet great comedic moments.

Joss: Yeah. The two of them were so funny together.

So I can definitely see where Joss might not have been fully on board in the beginning (but even then he saw the potential when Marsters auditioned), but *never* having liked Spike is an exaggeration. I think Joss wouldn't have kept Spike (and Marsters) around if he wasn't a valuable part of the story and the creative team.

[ edited by Emmie on 2010-06-15 08:11 ]
I think James was trying a (very ill-advised and badly thought-out) bit of sit-down comedy schtick rather than responding seriously to the questions.

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