Joss Whedon confirms <i>Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine</i>

With still another dozen issues to go in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight -- the Dark Horse comic-book continuation of the cult-hit TV series -- creator Joss Whedon already has confirmed there will be a Season Nine.

"Well, 40 issues was always the goal [for Season Eight], and that’s how we’re playing it," Whedon tells Complex.com. "We’re around issue 30 now, we’ve got about 10 to go, five of which I have to write, so I have to get on that. Then we’ll pause for breath and then we’ll start Season Nine.

"... I have had for a long time a conception for Season Nine that is very different from Season Eight. It may not run as long, because 40 issues sounds great until you realize that it’s four or five years."

In the interview, which focuses heavily on Dollhouse, Whedon also talks about his Astonishing X-Men collaborator John Cassaday, who will direct an episode of the science-fiction TV show.

"He’s a storyteller," Whedon said. "I gave him shorter scripts than any other artist I’ve worked with because he has an extraordinary visual sense and it very much matches my own. ... With Cassaday, I know he can tell a story, I know him as a person, his sensibility, the way he is with other people and I just feel that this step is logical for him, it’s something he’s been pursuing for a while."

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