Although the statement might turn the title character of Buffy the Vampire Slayer paler than a ghost, series creator Joss Whedon can't wait to utter it: Drusilla is coming back. Currently, the show is negotiating with Juliet Landau to reprise her role of the unhinged English vamp who broke Spike's heart and "necked" with Angel.

"I have not heard anything final about a deal, but we are interested in seeing her either on Buffy or [its spinoff] Angel," Whedon tells TV Guide Online. "I can't make any promises, but we are definitely investigating the idea."

Since Drusilla's exit in Buffy's second season finale, the WB hit may have lacked a certain bite, but it has hardly sucked ? in fact, it just racked up its first major Emmy nomination. So, naturally, Whedon wants to ensure that the long-awaited return of the psychic psycho will draw blood, so to speak.

"We have to make sure that it's the worst possible time for Spike," he says. "Also, we had problems the last time we tried to bring Dru back ? talks fell through because of scheduling or something. So before we get into writing the story, we have to make sure that it's doable."

For her part, Landau ? who recently shot two indies, Carlo's Wake (which features a cameo by her father and Ed Wood co-star Martin Landau) and Citizens of Perpetual Indulgence, and is about to begin work on a third, Random Acts (with Sean Young as her sister) ? is champing at the bit to sink her teeth into Dru again.

"There's so much dimension to the character ? it's not just playing a straightforward villain," she notes. "For instance, her relationship with Spike has a sweet side. So I'm definitely interested."