Joss Whedon is by no means a one trick pony. In the very least he’s a writer, director and composer who works across a variety of artistic mediums. Those that love his work really love his work. Except for maybe Waterworld, but let’s not speak about that. To say that Whedon fans are passionate would be a gross understatement. For many of us, the Whedonverse is a far more favourable one than our own. So whether you’re a new fan or a seasoned professional, here are a few things that you may not know about the creator of Buffy.
1. He Composed the ‘Firefly’ Theme Song
Titled ‘The Ballad of Serenity’, Whedon composed it before the show was even green lit for production. He also recorded a preliminary version of it, which can be found on the DVD. Another cool fact about the song is that it was used by NASA as the ‘wake up’ song for the crew members of the STS-130 back in 2010.
2. He’s Responsible for Angel Being Cancelled
Well, sort of.
We all know that outside the realms of Buffy and Angel, Whedon hasn’t had the best track record for his shows having a long production life. However, the cancellation of Angel was slightly different and probably could have been avoided.
After Buffy wrapped up, Angel became the soul focus of the Buffyverse, at least until the Season Eight comics were released. Luckily, this was working out well and the shows ratings were up during season 5. As a result, Whedon began pushing for an early renewal of the show for season 6. Angel always had such a late pickup every year and Whedon was hoping to feed the storyline of season 5 into the next season, as opposed to wrapping up in case they were cancelled. In addition, he wanted to avoid the yearly stress of cast and crew members wondering if they should take new jobs just in case the show didn’t get renewed. All logical reasons to push for early pickup, in my opinion. Particularly when the ratings were going well. Apparently this was a big mistake though.
The WB was green lighting a fair amount of new shows at the time, and therefore wanted to avoid locking in an older and far more expensive show early. As such, when they were forced to make that decision they felt that the best course of action was to cancel the show and hope that the new ones would pay off. They didn’t. It’s believed that if Whedon hadn’t pushed for early renewal the show would have definitely gone into a sixth season. Whoops.
3. ‘Martha the Immortal Waitress’
A tad confused? Believe it or not, Martha the Immortal Waitress was the original title and idea for Buffy. Whedon wanted something that people would take a second look at and automatically pick up off video store shelves. This was important to Whedon, because he worked at a video store himself and saw that there was abundance of titles such as Revenge of the Bimbos that were low budget and portrayed women in a negative light. He decided that he was okay with the stupid titles and general silliness, but that if he were to make a movie like that it would also have a strong female lead with unimaginable power and a feminist agenda. Eventually he transformed the Martha idea into Buffy, something which I think we’re all grateful for.
4. He threatened to quit ‘Buffy’
And with good reason. Showing his support for representation of gay characters on television, Whedon threatened to quit the show if the network refused to show Willow and Tara’s first kiss. This is the only time that he has threatened to pull out of the show. Well played, Whedon.
5. He Wrote ‘Astonishing X-Men’
A self professed comic book geek, Whedon has written and collaborated on many comic spin offs of his own shows. Some of these include the aforementioned Season Eight of Buffy, Angel and Serenity. However, he has also written work outside the Whedonverse, including the critically acclaimed Astonishing X-Men series. Although he has now passed the reigns onto fellow writer Warren Ellis, he was responsible for the beginning of the series, as well as several new characters, such as Blindfold, Armor, Ord and Abigail Brand, just to name a few.