Warner Bros. has officially pulled the trigger on a Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot, and the Buffy fandom has already cried foul because Joss Whedon is not involved. He really does not even need to be. He had seven years on the series, five for Angel (which only gave him one additional year), and an incredibly interesting comic book series that looks like it will continue for some time. Whedon’s work still exists, and a reboot cannot discredit that.
I have definitely cried foul over reboots. The Transformers movies bother me, but not because they are reboots. They were just bad movies. Star Trek definitely bothered me, but I am over it. At the same time, Battlestar Galactica was a both a reboot and an amazing series. Even The Prisoner reboot had its positives. Objectively, reboots do no damage to the original properties. In fact, they draw more attention to the overall franchise and work as nice entry points for new fans. So what is the problem?
Fan narcissism, honestly. There is an interesting interplay at work when someone creates a story and someone else receives it. Two different perspectives exist, and fans notably seem to believe they have the truest form of the story in their heads. Go outside of that vision and acquire their ire. Many will even speak loudly of what really amounts to revisionism because then some work no longer exists.
If you do not know what I mean, just talk to hardcore Star Wars fans to hear about there only being three movies. Talk to Matrix fans who might say that there is only one movie. Comic book fans will say entire runs of a book simply never came to form. Some Battlestar Galactica fans might tell you that the show does not exist beyond the nuked Earth they found, nor does an episode exist in which Apollo falls in love with a prostitute. I used to say that there were only two live action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies. That is until I realized that it simply comes down to my having no say in the matter and I just did not like the movie.
Now the Buffy fans are having their view of the franchise compromised because Warner Bros. wants more money. There is no telling how well the movie will actually turn out – just that it will be different. And the worst thing that will happen – and what these people fail to see – is that more people will be exposed to the Buffy story and start looking into the DVDs and comics. Of course, this is also likely to cause problems. Fan narcissism prefers when something is mine rather than ours. The mere existence of new Buffy fans will cause an interesting schism in the fan community.
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I actually would really like to see a new version of Buffy out there. For years it was said that the focus of the story was on a bunch of outcasts coming together to form a surrogate family and finding great strength in that amidst morality tales and fables. While that sounds good to me, I found the execution to be lacking. The protagonists were all way too attractive to make for believable outcasts. And Buffy herself, even if she were somehow considered the weird new girl, would not be excluded for too long given her outgoing personality and California template good looks.
What I would like to see in Buffy is the same thing I was asking for in a Spider-Man reboot – a black protagonist. An all-white cast in an all-white high school does not work for me, but a group consisting of the comic book geek and the computer nerd palling around with the black girl with a recent high school arson history sounds like a group that will not be making homecoming court.
What I would also like to see in the movie are actors and actresses portraying age appropriate roles. The actress who ultimately gets to play Buffy should not be in her 20’s. I already have to suspend my disbelief in accepting vampires and some valley girl who is the latest chosen one to slay them, so do not push it by making me think college age kids are a good fit for the awkward years of high school. They may often make for better actors and actresses, but teens have a natural awkwardness that only teens can portray.