Chicago, Day 2: Joss Whedon talks "X-Men" and More

Editor in Chief of Marvel Comics Joe Quesada introduced one of the star writer's currently in Marvel's employ to an enthusiastic crowd late Saturday afternoon. That star is the writer of the "Astonishing X-Men" and creator and executive producer of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer," "Angel" and "Firefly," Joss Whedon.

Whedon opened by apologizing to the crowd for any incoherence he might experience as he explained that he had been shooting "Serenity," the motion picture follow up to the television series Firefly, until one in the morning. He also demonstrated his exhaustion with an entertaining and well -executed pratfall.

Immediately opening the floor to questions, the first topic addressed was that of which season of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" meant the most to him.

"I don't think I'll ever be able to top 'Angelus.' It taught us all about what it's like to sleep with a man," said Whedon to a response of uproarious laughter. That was followed by many boy's boarding school jokes. "Angelus is the first time we got to say to people that nothing is safe," he added.

From there, the subject of "Angel" TV movies was addressed. "There has just been a regime change at the WB," noted Whedon. He explained that when that happens, it is not uncommon for the new to do away with anything associated with the old (i.e. Joss Whedon properties).

Whedon also said that the WB isn't the only place where an "Angel" TV film could be done. "No one has really given me a firm answer. There is interest at Fox Production. Because I'm in the middle of filming, I haven't been able to pursue it as much as I could."

One fan asked why the Angel series was ended on a cliffhanger when the series had been cancelled and there is no promise of telefilms. In response, Whedon comically bellowed "Don't call it a cliffhanger!" He said that the ending meant that "you never have to stop fighting. You never get to stop fighting if you want to be a decent human being."

Asked about the revival of the animated "Buffy" project that had once been set for Kids WB, Whedon updated the crowd. "A rough cut of a three-minute presentation is being put together. It doesn't have a home right now." Whedon added that Fox Productions is interested in this property also.

From there the floor was opened to its first comics related question, though still in a Buffy vein. "I would love to do some more 'Fray,'" he said of his Dark Horse project which chronicled the adventures of a vampire slayer in the future. "I have thought of some stuff for a second arc. I would love to do it with Karl Moline again."

Things took a mutant turn with talk of Whedon's current turn handling the "X-Men." Asked if he would continue beyond the contracted 12-issue run, Whedon responded "I don't want to think about beyond that. Number six is taking longer than it should, but filming is almost over. Don't worry, I'm not 'Fray-ing out' on you," Whedon said, referring to his problems in getting that series out in a timely manner.

"I love Morrison's 'X-Men,'" he continued. "I feel like the guy bringing in extra pairs of socks to fill Morrisons shoes."

Don't miss CBR's interview with Whedon about "Astonishing X-Men" here.

On the possibility of Whedon directing the third X-Men film. "I guess Bryan left the house," he said, referring to former X-Director Bryan Singer's departure from Fox Studios to Warner Brothers and the Superman film. "It sounds like a me-treat, but right now I have other X-Men to deal with...the astonishing ones. [Artist] John Cassaday may be a god, but I still have to write it well. That's where my mind's at right now."

The possibility of directing from another writer's script was raised. "I don't see that happening," he replied. "I can see collaborating with any number of the talented people I know," he said naming off the various former staff members of his television series. "To take something that is completely somebody else's would be an interesting challenge, and therefore, I wouldn't do it."

Also on the topic of motion pictures, Whedon mentioned "I have, my entire life, wanted to do a stage musical. Even more than that i want to make an original film musical."

Con-goers were also treated to a short trailer for "Serenity" which elicited a tremendous favorable response from the audience. Whedon gave a release date of April 22, 2005. Serenity may not be confined to just the silver screen either. "We are definitely looking at "Firefly" and now "Serenity" for the [video] game world. "We will probably be collaborating with Dark Horse on a Firefly comic book." A pronouncement that alsogained the audience's applause.

Asked if there would be any surprise Buffyverse actors in "Serenity," Whedon said "So surprising, in fact, that I wont know about it. There weren't any roles that I would have considered them ideal for...it's a fine line between making movies and a party at my place. 'Serenity' must be in it's own world."

On the possibility of a "Serenity" sequel, Whedon remarked "As you make a movie, you find there are so many things you want to do, but don't have the time....the most important of which is that Adam Baldwin (who plays the mercenary Jayne) really wants to wear a kilt."

Whedon closed out the hour speaking on regrets left over from the Buffy series.

"I don't think we got to do all we could with Dawn. We hit a few of the same notes with her," he said of not fully utilizing Buffy's younger sister."

"When [Seth Green's werewolf character] Oz left rather suddenly I was devastated. I had a whole year's arc planned. said Whedon. "Though if that had not happened, I would not have met Amber Benson," referring to the actress who became Willow's lesbian love interest, Tara, following Green's departure.

Whedon also explained that prior to contract negotiation problems, he had intended to bring Benson's character back after having her murdered at the end of the sixth season, but how he was to do it.

"About three or four episodes from the end of the last season, Buffy was going to be granted one…reality altering wish. The episode would revolve around her struggling with what she could do for herself with that wish. She could bring Angel back to her..."

Whedon then briefly described the episode ending scene. "Buffy would walk into a room and show Willow these shoes that she wanted. Willow would then express disappointment and say 'You had one reality-altering wish and you wished for shoes?' Buffy would then deny that she had done that and leave. Willow would turn around and there would be Tara."

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