|The subject of this article is an undeveloped production.
While planned to be an official project, it has been canceled in any stage of production.
Buffy the Animated Series (stylized Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Animated Series in the promo) is an undeveloped animated television show based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer series. Joss Whedon and Jeph Loeb were to be executive producers for the show.
Development began on the show in 2001. However the series soon ran into problems. 20th Century Fox were going to produce the show, and it was initially planned that the show would air on Fox Kids, possibly as early as February 2002. However, Fox decided they would not air the show and instead shop it to other networks. When no network was willing to purchase the series, production halted.
Two years later, in 2004, Fox once again showed an interest in developing and selling the show to another network. Various key actors from the original live-action series did voice work, and artwork was produced to make a four-minute presentation. The Buffy the Animated Series pilot was used to try to sell the series to a network. However, once again no network was willing to take the risk of purchasing the show. Loeb has pointed out that networks find the show difficult, since it would be too adult to air with children’s television, but not suitable to many people in a prime-time slot.
Whedon revealed to Hollywood Reporter: “We just couldn’t find a home for [it]. We had a great animation director, great visuals, six or seven hilarious scripts from our own staff — and nobody wanted it. I was completely baffled. I felt like I was sitting there with bags of money and nobody would take them from me. It was a question of people either not wanting it or not being able to put up the money because it was not a cheap show. One thing I was very hard-line about was I didn’t want people to see it if it looked like crap. I wanted it to be on a level with Animaniacs or Batman the Animated Series. And that’s a little pricier. But I just don’t think it’s worth doing unless it’s beautiful to look at as well as fun.”
In an interview with TV Guide in September 2005, Whedon announced that the series was effectively dead.
- Jeph Loeb said that the series would have begun with the episode "A Day in the Life", for which the script was completed by Loeb with Joss Whedon, which “introduces the characters, sets up their dynamics and the show’s premise.”
- Loeb mentioned that one of the episode revolved around “Buffy getting her driver’s license but dealing with a demon driver’s ed teacher.”
- Jane Espenson wrote three scripts for the show: One of which was called "The Back Room"; one was called "Food Fight", about living cafeteria food; and another called "Teeny", about a shrunken Buffy.
- Espenson revealed that “Steve DeKnight and Drew Greenberg wrote episodes, if I recall. And I believe Doug Petrie did too. I think there was a story set aside for Rebecca Kirshner that she never got to start.” Joss Whedon and Jeph Loeb wrote the pilot. She said there had been eight scripts written in all, although two were incomplete.
- "A Day in the Life" (by Jeph Loeb and Joss Whedon)
- "Teeny" (by Jane Espenson)
- "Food Fight" (by Jane Espenson)
- "The Back Room" (by Jane Espenson)
- Completed episode script (by Steve DeKnight)
- Completed episode script (by Drew Greenberg)
- Completed episode script (by Doug Petrie)
- Unstarted episode script (story set aside for Rebecca Kirshner)
- Giselle Loren as Buffy Summers
- Sarah Michelle Gellar was not interested in returning to the role, since she was busy, had not seen a script, and was afraid of “jumping the shark”.
- Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
- Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
- Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
- Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
- Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
- Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
- David Boreanaz as Angel
- The Buffy the Animated Series pilot was leaked on August 1, 2008, via Youtube.
- In December 2008, Dark Horse Comics published comic issue After These Messages... We'll Be Right Back!, which had its script based on the unproduced animated series, adapted to Buffy Season 8 context. Notably, the comic has a plot similar to the pilot, with the Scooby Gang’s interest in going to a house party while attacked by Morgala, as well as some common lines and gags. It was also written by Jeph Loeb and illustrated by artist Eric Wight, as well as Ethen Beavers and Adam Van Wyk.
- About the use of animation, Jane Espenson have said: “Joss [Whedon] was very interested in developing an animated version of Buffy to enable us to tell stories that were visually ambitious and also to allow us to go back and tell stories that would only work in the high school setting. He graciously invited any of the writers on staff to join in if we wanted to. [...] ‘Teeny’, my script in which Buffy shrinks, was a perfect story to tell in animated form that would’ve been impossible, or at least impractical to do with live action.”
- Espenson also discussed the chronology of the series: “Here’s an issue that came up: the animated series was set during Buffy’s freshman year of high school. Does that mean that the characters can’t make any pop culture references that post-date season one of Buffy? Does it mean that a ‘new’ car is a ‘97? I loved it when things like that came up because it reminded me that it was early days and we were still setting the rules.”
- In 2008, Nicholas Brendon talked about the unaired plot leak: “I know that there’s been talk about the Buffy Animated Series. Which we did, gosh, like, three years ago. You know, to be quite honest with you, I don’t know why it didn’t go further, but I know that there’s been a lot of hububaloo on the old YouTube there, and I checked it out and I almost got a little teary. You know, I hadn’t seen Xander in a while, and it was kind of neat to kind of go back into that library and that into life, and all that stuff. But, yeah. So, listen, I’ll go on the record by saying I would love to do an animated series for Buffy. That being said, I might be the only one. But, I’m not sure. I haven’t had a chance to talk to anybody about it. So, you know, keep your fingers crossed.”
- In 2012, Whedon said: “We got to do almost everything we wanted to do, the only thing we didn’t get to do is an animated version, which was a delight for us because the writers themselves were working on it. We wrote seven scripts… it was ‘what could we not do [on the regular series].’ They were really fun to write. We could not sell the show. We could not sell an animated Buffy, which I still find incomprehensible.”
- During the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Entertainment Weekly reunion in 2017, the question was raised about a revival of the series. The actors, noting they had aged considerably since the show ended, remarked that they would certainly be interested in participating in the animated series if it ever happened. Sarah Michelle Gellar appeared more receptive to this idea than previously. However, they pointed out that a revival was contingent on Joss Whedon’s interest: Whedon remarked that he was consciously trying to move on from Buffy but he was open to the idea of a revival.
Jane Espenson has revealed only two short extracts from the scripts:
- Quote 1
- Buffy realizes she’s eaten her Mother’s breakfast by mistake. She holds up the last bite of bagel and, instead of saying “there’s a bite left”, she says:
- Buffy: “There’s a remnant.”
- Quote 2
- Buffy has just inappropriately used her Slayer-Strength on the volleyball court, so she vows to restrain herself:
- Buffy: “Sure. Okay. I can hold back. Call me Dairy Queen, ‘cuz here comes a soft serve.”
- Buffy: “Sorry, that was kinda lame.”
- Quote 3 (from the script "Teeny")
- Buffy has been shrunk down to about 6 inches tall. She’s trying to climb a staircase, and reacting to what she sees.
- Buffy: “Boy. Everything’s so tall. And... textured.”