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Interview with Joss Whedon and Erika Alexander regarding Giles Comic

Mrs Gordo

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#1
INTERVIEW: Joss Whedon & Erika Alexander Send Buffy's Giles Back to School

Buffy fans, rejoice. Whedon is back to co-write a miniseries about one of the core members of the Scooby Gang, Rupert Giles, played in live-action by Anthony Stewart Head. And Whedon has brought along another creative you may recognize from film and TV, Erika Alexander. As an actress, Alexander is best known for her role as Max on the Emmy-winning sitcom Living Single, but her more recent credits include the acclaimed film Get Out and the television series Bosch. Alexander also has comic book experience, as the co-writer of Dark Horse’s Concrete Park. Whedon and Alexander have cooked up a plot that involves Giles’ adult mind in a teen body, heading to high school in Los Angeles. Sounds fun, right?

CBR had a chance to pick the brains of both Joss Whedon and Erika Alexander about the four-issue Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles series, scheduled to debut with issue #1 on Feb. 28, with art by Jon Lam and Dan Jackson. We get the down low on Giles’ new status quo, his co-star Roux, which other Buffyverse characters we may see, and even managed to sneak in a question about that long-proposed Ripper TV show.

CBR: Joss, you killed Giles because you didn’t feel he worked in the comic book format. Did you have plans to resurrect him and send him to high school when you decided to kill him off?

Joss Whedon: I wouldn’t say he didn’t work — just, Buffy didn’t need a mentor (actually she did, but there is a time in your life where you have to walk through the world without them) and I needed a resonant moment. I remember telling Tony at Comic-Con… he was sad, but he got it. The bringing him back as a 12 year old came later. I liked the idea that Angel’s next arc was redemptive, but that the results were not what he expected. And then it was straight-up whimsy, which the books have exploited hilariously and poignantly.

I couldn’t bear the thought of him not having an arc of his own, and I thought throwing him into the American public school system would be the source of both fish-out-of-water hijinks and a chance to talk about something that’s important to me.

How much does the inner city Los Angeles setting of the series shape the story?

Erika Alexander: Los Angeles is a big part of this series. And why not, LA is a gorgeous, roaming, stucco, cement butterfly that provides a big canvas for us to play with. It’s also its own character in this mystery. Its sprawling highways help guide us to fun, new characters with their own quirks and mythologies.

Giles, on the other hand, is a fish-out-of-water in a double bind, because he’s locked in his teenage self, undercover, in a city high school battling a strange “virus.” Joss wanted Giles to explore rich, thorny issues like class, gender, race and privilege. The types of issues that someone raised in the city can’t escape. City kids also have to deal with puberty, college applications, the prom and constantly being bombarded with traffic, ads, branding and noise campaigns ad nauseam. It’s all competing for their mind space, a total energy vampire. The landscape adds an element of pressure and overwhelm that seems to suffocate individuality and breed conformity. It’s ironic that many students who grow up in these environments turn out to be great individualists and iconoclasts. So, after the initial shock, Giles will use his migrant abilities to adapt and fit right in.

What can you share about Giles’ “mysterious new friend” Roux?

Alexander: Roux is a student attending Living Legend Academy and Charter School and she’s got a secret. Well, she’s got lots of secrets. As a self-proclaimed “Watcher” she spends her day guarding her ward and she’s a bit of a busy body, so she’ll clash with Giles’ investigation. Roux has survived a tragic, complicated past and now she spends her time ruminating on how to survive the future and can she get a date to the prom. In that way Giles and Roux are two of a kind.

Will other main Buffyverse characters appear in this series?

Alexander: Yes, beautiful Willow will make a cameo. She’s Giles confidante and connection to his other life. She reminds him that while sailing the ocean he should be careful not to fall over the edge.

Artist Jon Lam is a newcomer to the Buffyverse. What made him the right fit for this series?

Alexander: Jon’s work rocks and he has a beautiful sense and sensibility for story. That’s a killer recipe.

Do you think about Anthony Stewart Head when you write young Giles?


Alexander: I do. As Giles, Anthony did a wonderful portrayal and he is beloved, but I for this project think of Joss more. I mean, isn’t he the original template for the character Giles? Joss’ dry sense of humor, quick intelligence, shyness, and self-deprecating existential battles are charming and make a rich palette for my ear. So, that’s a lot of who this young Giles is now.

Is adult Giles in his teenage body a spin on when adult Giles reverted back to his teenage self in the show in “Band Candy”?

Alexander: Joss would have to answer that, but that’s a great guess.

Whedon: Not really. Giles in “Band Candy” was a teen in an adult body. Here he’s the opposite, a 50-something guy in an even younger teen’s body. The fun here is, his mind knows way too much, but his hormonal little body is calling way more of the shots than he’s been used to for a while. When we’re out of that phase we think we remember it, but the physical and mental taffy-stretching-machine of adolescence is something you have to be feeling to truly understand. We make it an origin story after the fact: how I came to be me. During… well, it is an origin story, but it’s the falling-in-a-vat-of-radioactive-acid kind.

In terms of look and personality, Giles would probably be considered a nerd in school. Any possibility of a story about bullying? I imagine that his knowledge and experience would make him the wrong kid to pick on.


Alexander: Hey, maybe you should write this series, because you’re right on time! [Laughs] Yes, bullying does come up in this high school, as it would any. But our Giles is uniquely armed to handle it. Imagine, you get to go back to school as your young self with your adult mind? Boo-yah! Now deja vu becomes foresight. Dude, it’s Freaky Friday meets the Matrixwith an 8-Ball. Sweet.

Being a big fan of classic rock and a guitarist, what’s the likelihood of Giles starting a garage band in high school?

Alexander: The 8-Ball says, “Not so likely,” at least in this iteration. But a Giles Playlist is embedded in this series, so that’s something.

Whedon: I thought no one did that any more, but my son’s in a band and he and his friends are voraciously listening to all the old stuff. So, I guess it’s a real possibility. Of course, Giles would be insufferably exacting and his band mates would constantly be quitting.

Is there any possibility of that Ripper spinoff series still happening?

Alexander: Joss, are you listening? We’re all hoping. Ruminating.

Whedon: I will never give up hope on that one. And Tony seems to be getting younger in real life, too…

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles #1 is scheduled for release on Feb. 28.
 

Taake

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#2
I liked the idea that Angel’s next arc was redemptive

What a brand new idea of that character :p

Anyway, it sounds like it could be a pretty funny comic! Glad they're doing it. Might be curious enough to check it out. :)
Thanks for sharing!
 
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#4
Was Giles base on Joss, I've not heard that before? Or was Alexander just buttering up the boss :)

It's nice that Joss has never given up hope of a Ripper series, though not sure I actually believe that either :rolleyes:
 

Taake

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It's nice that Joss has never given up hope of a Ripper series, though not sure I actually believe that either :rolleyes:
I don't really either, but it's nice that he's not completely shuttingt he idea down :)

I think she was buttering up the boss, hehe, I don't think I've ever heard anyone make this suggestion:
I mean, isn’t he the original template for the character Giles? Joss’ dry sense of humor, quick intelligence, shyness, and self-deprecating existential battles are charming and make a rich palette for my ear.

Xander, sure. Giles, no. Even if it is young Giles
 

EarthLogic

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#6
I liked the idea that Angel’s next arc was redemptive

What a brand new idea of that character :p
Yeah that made me roll my eyes. Makes it all the more apparent (like we needed anymore proof :rolleyes:) he has no understanding/interest in the character beyond the concepts of 'star crossed love interest' and 'screws-up-then-tries-to-redeem-himself'.
 
Taake
Taake
haha, just saw that I wrote "of" that character and not "for" that character... I'm a doofus :P

EarthLogic

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And then it was straight-up whimsy, which the books have exploited hilariously and poignantly.
What's he referring to here? Giles' arc or Angel's?
 

Mrs Gordo

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I think he means Giles. Like the storyline where he tried to get with Olivia in a 13-year-old body. That definitely seems like Joss' idea of whimsy. ;)
Lol it’s true I think he meant Giles* but don’t you think that the “books exploiting a character hilariously” also applies to Angel.
 
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Sineya
#11
Whedon seems to be the consummate politician about a "Ripper" series. It gets promised like a politician's tax cut but never seems to materialize. He is not going to burn a bridge he hasn't crossed yet and he knows he can keep his fans in a state of hope if he doesn't dismiss it outright. As one of the major stars behind the scenes in Hollywood, if he wanted to do it he would have set something in motion by now. It could be a lot more entertaining than Junior Giles, school nerd.
 

Mrs Gordo

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I have no interest in watching a show about Ripper. But I wouldn't mind a comic on it. But you know I'm not a big Giles fan really. He's ok but I'm not sure I'd watch a whole show on him.

What is incredibly frustrating is no mention of Season 12..... not a peep. Grr.
 
P
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We got that twitter pic of Gage & Joss, that gave me hope

thetopher

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#15
This seems like an okay thing since we're never gonna get that BBC Ripper series.

Joss wanted Giles to explore rich, thorny issues like class, gender, race and privilege.
Ooh, are we gonna here all about Giles' white privilege? Goody.
 
Spanky
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HOLY COW!! a topher sighting.
Not calling you a cow mind you...
heifer maybe.
Though if you were in India I guess it would be a holy cow but I digress...
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#16
I actually wouldn't mind a Giles story centric story as a spinoff. I understand not being totally excited for it, but I wouldn't mind it. We got a show about slayer (Buffy) , a vampire (Angel) , and then he could give insight into the world of watchers as well as his upbringing. Its almost like a perfect trinity and more interesting than the other [proposed spinoffs I saw floating around when BTVS ended
 
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#17
I couldn’t bear the thought of him not having an arc of his own, and I thought throwing him into the American public school system would be the source of both fish-out-of-water hijinks and a chance to talk about something that’s important to me.
Honestly, every time I read an interview with Joss I feel the urge to yell at him for being so damned stupid. Giles going back to school sure sounds like a fanfic written by a teenager who can't think of anything else to write about. Hey, Joss, Giles would be bored senseless at school. Why on earth would he need to go back to school anyway if he has the memories of 50+ years old Giles? Next ob BtVS, Spike going back to school to explore the issues of toxic masculinity in high school. The hell...
 

Mrs Gordo

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Honestly, every time I read an interview with Joss I feel the urge to yell at him for being so damned stupid. Giles going back to school sure sounds like a fanfic written by a teenager who can't think of anything else to write about. Hey, Joss, Giles would be bored senseless at school. Why on earth would he need to go back to school anyway if he has the memories of 50+ years old Giles? Next ob BtVS, Spike going back to school to explore the issues of toxic masculinity in high school. The hell...
OMG yes - please send Spike back to high school - that I would like to watch/read.
 
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Sineya
#19
"Ripper" may get written. It may even get bought. That doesn't mean it is ever going on the air. A lot of properties get bought "just in case" then a new executive moves in and cancels everything his predecessor did just to show that he is better than the previous one. Joss has not problem keeping all the balls in the air when he is juggling issues raised in questions at a panel. His answer, as for all questions he gets asked, is, "Never say never."
 

DeepBlueJoy

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#20
OMG yes - please send Spike back to high school - that I would like to watch/read.
Giles in high school is like Jack O'Neill's clone in high school.

They'd both be completely freaked out by their (hormonal bodies) attraction to girls young enough to be their (mental age) daughters... and they would not be a good fit in any school. The first time someone tried to bully a kid used to fighting off demons and winning? Even without adult strength, I wouldn't bet against Giles in a fight with a teenager who wasn't a martial artist.

It is a situation made in hell for him (an adult) and potentially a situation where he could end up hurt or hurting someone else b/c there are no fair fights here... It just strikes me as a form of torture. Why would he agree to it? He's not a child in mind. It's both unnecessary and idiotic. Better to declare him a 'genius' and send him to university with a guardian... Let him get his 'official' degrees out of the way by the time he's once again an 'official' adult.... maybe even study things he didn't study before. He's more than prepared for university. I'm sure Willow could come up with papers showing he'd been home schooled. If they could come up with papers to send him to school, they can set up a time for him to take the requisite entry exams, if necessary. Or just magic him perfect score SATs/ A levels or whatever they're called now.
 
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