I spoke to Dark Horse Comics editor Scott Allie earlier this week about his upcoming "Star Wars: Jedi" miniseries, but many comic book readers know Allie as the caretaker of the publisher's successful line of comics based on the creations of Joss Whedon.
With "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight" concluded, this year will likely be full of new beginnings in Dark Horse's corner of the Whedonverse, from "Season Nine" and the newly acquired "Angel" license to new comics based on "Dollhouse" and other fan-friendly properties.
While Allie indicated that the launch of "Season Nine" is occupying just about all of his waking hours these days, the continuing adventures of Whedon's vampire slayer isn't the only big project in the works for 2011. Keep reading for a rundown of some of the major Whedonverse properties developing at Dark Horse and what we can expect from them this year.
"Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Season Nine"
"That's my life right now," laughed Allie, who attended a writers' summit at Joss Whedon's house a week ago to discuss the big picture for "Season Nine" comics. "We broke down the big ideas and sort of ratified a lot of things. We also decided that we weren't going to announce anything for a while."
"We did this planning session, though, and things are moving along," he said of the progress they made at the summit. "Writers on the main titles are working on outlines now, and we've got a second draft of one of the outlines. We're moving toward first scripts, which we expect to start rolling in by February and March. We already have a small stack of covers for the first bunch of issues, so we're moving along. . . I feel good that it's not yet February and we're talking about books that will launch in August and September."
As for the "Season Nine" story arc, Allie was understandably guarded about giving anything away early — though he did say their plan involved "doing something no one's done before" with the "Buffy" lines.
"The world was changed so significantly by the end of 'Season Eight' — literally, the world was changed . . . and 'Season Nine' will proceed from the end of 'Season Eight' for all of the characters," he said. "If you watch the television show, they always had a clean break between seasons, but you had to watch the last season a little closely to really get 'Season Eight,' and with 'Season Nine' I think that will be equally true. . . And if Angel has his title and Buffy has her title, the two will complement each other, but you won't have to read both to understand either one of them."
"We have the 'Dollhouse' one-shot coming out, and then we're rolling into a five-issue series right out of that," he said of their plans for the continuation of the 2009-2010 television series. "But work is well under way on the 'Dollhouse' five-issue series, and that one's coming along well and marked a major change in the Whedonverse for us."
"Serenity" and "Firefly"
"When we had the summit, we talked about the possibility of more 'Serenity,'" he said of their plans for the over-too-soon television space saga that lives on in comics. "We're at a point where we know what the parameters are and what is open to us, and we just have to break down a story that works for everybody and get rolling on it. Right now, our energies are so focused on getting 'Season Nine' rolling, and I wish I could set aside a day each week for 'Serenity,' but I can't. There's no way we can get 'Serenity' out this year, sadly."
Still, that doesn't mean there isn't a plan in place for the "Serenity" universe when they're able to return to it. According to Allie, the success of prior miniseries like "Shepherd's Tale" — and the creators involved with them — make a return to the sci-fi epic a certainty.
"We know what we want to do with more 'Serenity,'" he said. "We know we want [writer] Zack Whedon to write it. I was blown away by what he did on 'Shepherd's Tale,' and even more so on that USA Today eight-page story ['Serenity: Downtime']. He's amazing. He only had eight pages, but he had nine characters. It's really hard to make that sing, but it was great."
"Wash only had one or two lines in 'Downtime,' and in those one or two lines, he's purely and essentially Wash," he said. "Zack did something in eight pages that was essentially the show. So now we have to do something where he really gets to do it — something where he really gets to open it up with a page count that justifies nine characters. We're really looking forward to working with him on this stuff."
And there you have it, folks: a slice of the Whedonverse for 2011. Make sure to keep it locked to Splash Page for more news about "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Nine," "Dollhouse," "Serenity," and the rest of Dark Horse Comics' Whedonverse tales.
Oh, and stay shiny!