SDCC 2007: Joss Whedon

With that show of trust in his fans, the one-man panel of Joss Whedon was off and running. He began with a laundry list of projects in various stages of development, with a couple looking close to green-light time.

First off, Goners, which “Got some studio notes, and you know how studios are. I had to sit through all these notes about how my script could be better. And they were right.”

Next, Drew Goddard (“he’s tall and kinda sexy”). “Drew and I have written a movie together. This is something that we have not told anyone, so it’ll be a secret, right? It’s a film called Cabin In the Woods, and it is the horror film to end all horror films, literally. And more about that I will not say.”

And, Ripper: “Sometime in the next year, I will finally get to film Ripper.” This is the long awaited 90-minute piece for the BBC.

He pointed out: “There’s something else going on generally, which is I get sick and tired of not entertaining you guys.” Which was greeted by the expected raucous applause.

This is the only other man at Comic-Con who could stand on a vast empty stage by himself and have an intimate and enthralling conversation with 5,000 of his closest fans. (The other man being Kevin Smith) The Q&A which followed consisted of the usual questions regarding the new comics he had in the pipeline with Dark Horse and IDW Comics, as well as the never-dying requests for an Angel movie (“It’s entitled Bones: Season 2”) and a Big Damn Sequel (“I’m all up for a big damn sequel. I hope there’s some big damn sales for the special edition. They made the special edition because people keep buying the movie.”). He also mentioned he’s working on a ballet for Summer Glau and his lifelong dream of making a musical.

But there are some things that even Joss Whedon will not do. When asked to do the dance of shame, his response was “Guys, you’re killing me. I love you, but I’m not gonna dance.” He resisted even the most persistent rhythmic clapping from the audience.

Marsia took her turn at the mike to ask Joss if he had considered any kind of direct-to-DVD or other ways to finance more future stories, just as JMS had done with Babylon 5.

“There’s just so many more venues, and creative ways of financing, and expressing … It’s kind of similar to the sort of things that a bunch of us want to do, so that we can keep expressing ourselves, as often as possible until people tell us to shut up.”

When asked about how he went about creating his worlds, he explained that ideas come with their worlds, but “I’m not talking about franchises. I can honestly never hear that word again and be perfectly happy. Because I think franchising is starting to interfere with storytelling.” Applause. “A franchise is a beautiful thing, but it should be earned, it shouldn’t be sought.”

Other questions spanned the Jossverse, including scrapped plans for Tara’s return, and Wesley’s role in the Angel comic: “Wesley’s dead. So obviously he’s going to be the star.” It must be observed that while Joss’ fans obviously adore him, they are restrained in their gushing. A young man took the mike to say that his Dad "made" him watch Firefly, which he did, despite the dubiousness of his Dad’s entertainment tastes, he was hooked after 5 minutes.

He asked: "What was going through your mind when you came up with the idea? Were you watching Star Wars and said, Wow, I wonder what would happen if Clint Eastwood was in this?’"

Joss: "No, but from now on – Yes."

Before reluctantly wrapping up the panel, he went on to share with us that one of his fears was that he’d been forgotten. To which the audience were quick to assure him otherwise – that not only is he remembered and loved, but the fandom itself is strong, and that we will rise again.

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