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Was Gunn's old gang going to join up with Holtz

burrunjor

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Nov 13, 2018
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Had a thought after watching That Old Gang of Mine on a recent rewatch.

Gunn's crew in that episode are very similar to Holtz' warriors in terms of being fanatics who want to kill all Demons and Vamps regardless of their alignment. We know that Kate was going to take Justine's place in season 3 (which might have been quite cool. I'm not sure as I do like their touching reconciliation, but at the same time that might have been a more memorable ending for her than just being quietly dropped?)

Do you think Gunns old team were meant to be Holtz new minions instead? They'd lost their new leader Gio and Holtz would be a good fit for them. Perhaps they thought against it as it might have made the story too complicated having Gunn fight his old team.
 

AlphaFoxtrot

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Sep 11, 2017
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Ideally, yes. Holtz's gang should be composed of characters we met before, either on Buffy or on Angel. Especially if we are trying to paint him as an Righteous Man, like he went to Sunnydale, and found survivors of Angelus. On the other hand, none of them were particularly important, and getting characters as opposed to mooks would just make continuity harder. So, it was probably better to keep them as random extras.
 

slayer730

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I don't know if that was the case, but I think it would have probably made for a better character arc for Gunn that season. That in addition to Kate taking on Justine's role would have been interesting
 

Sweet Dreamer

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Aug 23, 2020
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It's a good point.:)

I agree that they were the best candidates to form Holtz's army, essentially because all Gunn's centric episodes since season 1 were built to lead to a violent resolution of the inner conflict that tormented Gunn and his crew since they met Angel and started to work with him every now and then.
The group was not homeless boys and girls (at least not only) or a racial gang but organized and self trained vampire hunters, quite ingenious, enough to build their own weapons and showing some efficiency, especially when Gunn was leading them, in protecting their territory.
They felt abandoned by Gunn, they continued to lost members (George who shot the zombie cop was killed and burned by Gunn and Rondell in Belonged, leading to Gunn's crisis and his reluctance to go to Pylea), they were in need of a leader but the disaster that Gio was in That Old Gang Of Mine teached them that it had be a man with a sense of responsability and a vision of the mission like Gunn.

Holtz brought all that and more: he had experience, was an authority/paternal figure, he was uncompromising about the mission (no deals with vampires) and teached the group he formed with Justine self discipline, hard training while supporting each member individually and maintaining the group's cohesion. He would have been the perfect leader for Gunn's crew.

It's impossible to imagine that Gunn, who was in search of a role model could have resist him. With the help of Kate and Gunn, Holtz would have looked a far more powerful and charismatic opponent, capable to make Angel's close allies switch team. I feel that the writers might have gone for more ambitious scripts if they had kept this plot and cast, which i believe was the original story.
Or they would have gone for the same storyline with the fake prophecy and Gunn organizing instead an attack to allow Holtz to steal himself Connor.

That's obviously not what happened. Instead they gave the betrayal subplot, a meatier and dark storyline to Wesley (it seems to me that Alexis Denisof being an older member of the cast, and being praised for his acting skills was in need to play something darker) and switch around the relationships to keep a balance in the relationships dynamic inside Angel's team.
I don't regret at all that Gunn didn't go to the dark side but i still don't like the inconsistencies: i can't understand how Gunn could have gone back to joke, eat tacos, and play video games so easily with Angel after their end conversation in That Old Gang Of mine. The tension between them seemed to have disappeared completely and was never mentionned again as if Gunn didn't say that Angel wasn't his friend and that he was with him only for the mission. A claim that was also inconsistent with his attitude in the season premiere Heartthrob when Angel came back from his monastery vacation. He was very happy to see him.

I tend to think that if the writers had taken this road with Gunn, they would have pushed to go to even darker places. They would have made him a vampire leader during season 5, with a similar storyline to the comics (leading a cult, thinking he's still doing the good/right thing while in fact he's killing innocents), instead of letting him join Wolfram and Hart with everyone else. Which could have been a quite tragic twist for the character but with a lot of possible iconic moments for the actor (i can totally picture a Blade look for Gunn) and a far more epic plot than what we got.

Edit: to add that for me what the violence that the group showed when Gio was leading them was indeed fanatism, Holtz showed them the right way to do things and wasn't radicalized for me.
 
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