Buffy the Vampire Slayer is back… kind of… and without Buffy. Entertainment Weekly exclusively reports that a sequel to the hit TV series called Slayers: A Buffyverse Story will be an audio story – which I guess is the modern version of a radio play – available on Audible starting October 12, 2023, and it will have a panel at the New York Comic-Con on October 13 at 1:30 PM. (Of course, my dumb ass didn’t get tickets this year.) The plot centers on Spike, who encounters a young slayer he must protect, as well as the slayer of an alternate universe – Cordelia Chase, who needs his help battling that world’s Drusilla. Wacky.
But the big news about Slayers: A Buffyverse Story is that a bunch of the original actors are returning to voice their characters, including James Marsters (Spike), Juliette Landau (Drusilla), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia), Anthony Stewart Head (Giles), Emma Caulfield Ford (Anya), Amber Benson (Tara), Danny Strong (Jonathan), and James Leary (Clem); Laya DeLeon Hayes plays the young Slayer, Indira Nunnally. The play was written by Amber Benson and Christopher Golden, who’ve written some books together, and Golden has written a bunch of Buffy spin-off novels.
I’m cautiously excited. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my favorite anything ever (when he talks about the show, I get the feeling Mauler is my spirit animal), and Spike is my favorite character, although it’s a close race between him and Buffy. I’m glad to see so many of the actors come back, and I’m looking forward to catching up with the characters. But I have major reservations, not the least of which is that Joss Whedon isn’t involved. I know he cheated on his wife and made Ray Fisher cry, so we have to pretend he didn’t have anything to do with the many works of fiction he created, but that’s stupid, and of course he did. He guided Buffy throughout its run, rewriting scripts and taking less credit on individual episodes than he deserved, and I don’t like the prospect of doing something like this without him. (And a radio play seems 100% like something he’d do.) In fact, neither Benson nor Golden wrote for the show at all; I enjoyed some of Golden’s Buffy books (especially The Gatekeeper Trilogy, which is awesome) despite their interference with the lore and continuity, but I hate most of the ancillary Buffy stuff, especially those awful comic book continuations – and those were from some of the show’s writers. And, finally, Buffy isn’t in it; I know Sarah Michelle Gellar is pretty much done with the character, and getting her is a huge ask, but there’s a Buffy-sized hole in this, and while I’m sure the intentions are good, that’s a big one to overcome. My biggest hope is that this will capture some of the fun Golden had in his books, especially since they’re bringing back a few dead characters (presumably via that alternate universe). Some from my wish list aren’t here, but I appreciate the effort, and I’ll definitely check it out, if only because it’s about Spike, who forever remains The Man. But the most I expect is an entertaining lark, not a rejuvenation of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.