Tomorrow night, Buffy the Vampire Slayer will turn in her stakes after seven demon-dusting seasons. Yeah, yeah, we know: This bites. But on the bright side, the Buffy franchise will no doubt outlive the lifespans of Spike and Angel combined at least if series creator Joss Whedon has anything to say about it. In honor of the show's swan song, TV Guide Online rang up Whedon and asked him to do the only honorable thing: Give us the real scoop behind a number of hot-button topics, including Eliza Dushku's now-defunct spinoff, the much-buzzed-about Buffy feature film and the show's surprising final scene. Lucky for us, he obliged.
TV Guide Online: Were you bummed that Eliza opted to do the new Fox drama Tru Calling instead of a Buffy spinoff?
Joss Whedon: Yeah. I really think it would have been great. That's not to say it could never happen, but I think there's a lot there. There's a new dynamic.
TVGO: Why did she pass on it?
Whedon: A number of reasons. She was interested in playing another character. Fox came at her with a big, solid offer, whereas UPN was still going, "Um, what?" And it's a bigger network. I get why she would take the other gig, but yes, of course, I wish she had done Faith. But now I wish her show will be great and successful.
TVGO: I heard a rumor that UPN and 20th Century Fox balked at a Willow spinoff because the character was a lesbian.
Whedon: (Laughing) I've never heard that. [Alyson Hannigan]'s got her movie [American Wedding] coming out, and we never really discussed the idea of a Willow-centric spinoff, although I've thought about it. She's talked about doing sitcoms and other things. So, nobody told me they didn't want to do it, and they certainly never told me that that was the reason.
TVGO: What was it like shooting the final scene?
Whedon: The last scene that I filmed [involved] one day player with no lines, which is great. I actually said, "I want the last scene to be one day player with no lines, so I don't lose it." We basically wrapped the principal actors over the three days preceding. One at a time the [assistant director] would call out, "That's a series wrap for Sarah Michelle Gellar," and there would be talking and crying and clapping, and one by one they went. By the time we got to the end it was sweet. I definitely felt something. And the last shot we did was wonderfully appropriate. But I didn't have the full rush of it all being over at once. It had been going in stages.
TVGO: Did you steal any cool props?
Whedon: The scythe that appeared at the end of the last episode, episode 20. Buffy finds a scythe and it happens to be the scythe that Melaka Fray uses in the comic book that I wrote, so we decided to bring that to life. So, I have that.
TVGO: Are the odds of a Buffy movie happening greater now that the series is over?
Whedon: Sarah has always come down against that idea. But then again, she was spending 10 months a year shooting the show, so maybe... And right now, we're all tired and, I don't want to say can't stand the sight of each other, because actually, the fact is they're most of my best friends. But I think we're all ready to take a breather and spread our wings to other things. I'm definitely not ruling it out. I definitely think the show would sustain it and it would be awesome. But right now, I think everybody sort of wants to hit a different chord.
TVGO: What is your all-time favorite and least-favorite episode?
Whedon: My favorite episode changes every day.
TVGO: What is it today?
Whedon: Today, I think we're back with [the musical installment] "Once More With Feeling," because there's a little song about bunnies, and you don't get that every day.
TVGO: And your least favorite?
Whedon: It's interesting, every single episode contains an attempt to do something real, and contains at least one or two lines that crack me up, or one or two moments that genuinely shock me. I know there are ones that are not favorites among fans. And there are definitely ones where I scratch my head and go, "You know, this seemed a great idea on paper." But I never actually singled one out and went, "Here's a total failure." So, I'd be hard-pressed. I'm trying to think...
TVGO: Come on, there has to be one.
Whedon: Well, everyone always talks about the Frankenstein one, but I think it has some beautiful stuff in it. And I think the same thing about "Beer Bad," where Buffy goes all cave man. A lot of people groan at that one, but I think it has some lovely stuff in it.
TVGO: And your final answer is...
Whedon: (Pausing) It's not coming to me.
TVGO: Oh, darn. What's your next gig?
Whedon: Figuring out what my next project is. I have many ideas movies, series, musicals, an actual ballet. But my plan for the next three weeks is mostly to clear my head.
TVGO: Will you work more on Angel next season?
Whedon: I'll be about where I was this year, which is, I'm involved in breaking every story and figuring out all the arcs, and then I'll read a draft of every script, I'll watch a cut of every show, but ultimately... I won't be there for every step. [Showrunner] Jeff Bell has done an extraordinary job, so that when I see a cut I'm always like, "This show's great! Who makes this?"