Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Scott Allie Talks about the Man Under the Twilight Mask (Major Spoilers)

(Beware: Twilight Identity Spoilers)

Tomorrow's release of Buffy Issue #33 means a lot to fans of Season 8 because Buffy will finally get to see the face under the Twilight mask. Not only that, but 99.9% of us will be free to talk openly about Twilight's true identity as Angel. Even though we've known for a while now, it doesn't mean we're not chomping at the bit to find out the why of it all.

With all the praise, publicity and backlash going on in the fandom these past few months, we figured it was time to ask Dark Horse Editor Super Scott Allie (pictured left) a few questions about Angel and his opinion on what drives the character, the importance of the shanshu, his favorite season and a bit more. If you squint hard enough, there's definitely some (very) subtle hints at what's to come in here. Plus, check out the piece of new preview art at the bottom of the page!

Buffyfest: Let's start with the basics. What do you like most about the character of Angel and what do you dislike most?

Scott Allie: My favorite novel is Frankenstein. To me, Frankenstein is the epitome of the Byronic hero, wonderful but flawed, poetic but monstrous. I'm a big fan of the Dexter TV show, and there's a similar thing going on there. It's this that I love in Angel, same as Spike. All of these guys are monsters and heroes, romantic figures with terrible downsides. These are all poignant figures, genuinely tragic. With Angel, he's got so much to atone for, and even as he strives to make up for it, he's heading toward something worse. It's amazing.

Buffyfest: Not only are you an editor at Dark Horse, but you've also done quite a lot of writing, such as your work on Solomon Kane and Exurbia. If you could write one episode of Angel on TV which Season would it be in and why?

Scott Allie: Final season, because I think it has the most interesting mix of characters.

Buffyfest: It's fascinating that some fans love every season except 5 and others think it's the strongest season. What specifically do you think makes the season 5 group of characters more interesting than the earlier seasons?

Scott Allie: The characters had really become themselves, they'd settled into their personalities and in some cases powers. Some of the character dynamics, the relationships, were in really good shape. The whole thing with Fred, with Spike and Angel. I don't remember how much Connor was in it. Was he in it much? I think it's a little like the Rolling Stones. They did their best stuff, they stood on their own the best, after the Beatles were gone. Between the Buttons compared well to some Beatles records, but with Sticky Fingers the Stones were entirely, perfectly their own band, and only then were they the Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band in the World. What were we talking about?

Buffyfest: Ha! Great metaphor. Next up, if you could write a scene between Angel and either Buffy, Giles or Faith who would you choose and why? What would happen in that scene?

Scott Allie: If it was a choice between those, it'd be Giles. It'd be fun to write a scene with Buffy, because I love writing real love scenes, characters that genuinely have that level of connection. But the thing I'd like to deal with in a scene with Giles is Angel's much greater age and experience. Given my personal interests, my background, I'd love to write a scene between these two amazing occult detectives.

Buffyfest: Angel is a very controversial figure for many reasons, but one being his decision to take over Wolfram & Hart. Do you feel that decision makes him less of a hero or was he backed in a corner and trying to do the best he could with his choices?

Scott Allie: I dunno. That wasn't my favorite development. Doesn't make him less of a hero, but it does play into the flawed thing I was talking about before. And it did make me a little less interested in him.

Buffyfest: Buffy and Angel are about to be thrown into each others paths in Season 8 with the revelation of Twilight. What do you think Whedon finds so fascinating about their relationship that he keeps coming back to it?

Scott Allie: These characters spawned a whole genre, this paranormal romance thing, with that other Twilight. It's a big deal. He created something epic, iconic, archetypal with this relationship. That was something I put a lot of thought into with Conan, the few ideas that come along once in a while and really speak to us in a huge, permanent way, spawning unlimited imitations.

Buffyfest: Staying on the topic of these two characters, what do you think makes Buffy and Angel similar as heroes and what makes them different?

Scott Allie: They're similarly moral, heroic, flawed, arrogant. Part demon, with a sharp wit, mad ninja skills. But they're real different, in interesting ways, more personal ways. She's defined by her friends, he connects in limited ways with just about anyone but her. She's got a strong moral compass, that's only undermined by her selfishness. Well, it's not as simple as that, but that is an aspect of her. His morality is more self-serving, but not selfishly so.

Buffyfest: What are your feelings about the shanshu? Do you think Angel will be rewarded at the end of his story? Do you think he should be?

Scott Allie: I'm conflicted on this. I would love to see the shanshu through, but I don't know if Angel really needs to be defined by it. I personally think that at the end of the day, that prophecy is not the most important thing for Joss when it comes to Angel.

Buffyfest: So then, what do you think is the most important thing for Joss when it comes to Angel and following up on that, in the most general sense, what matters most to the character of Angel?

Scott Allie: One word to answer both questions, and this is not gonna be popular with some fans, but you can see it coming ... Buffy.

Thanks to Scott for a really interesting interview. If you haven't seen the preview for Issue #33, check it out here.

See below for an extra preview page where, to quote Scott, "Giles explains the secret history of vampires and slayers." What? What secret history? Oh man, Season 8 is about to get really interesting.


Sla said...

two words:

EPIC STORY. I don't care about the romance, I want to see the drama, the pain, that's the best part.

Lucinda said...

WONDERFUL interview, as always. Thanks!

Michelle said...

Sla, I have no doubt that the drama and the pain will be arriving shortly!

Lucinda, Glad you liked it!

Anonymous said...

Loved the interview; thought the questions were great. I also love the whole of S8, and the reveal of Twilight's ID was met with great enthusiasm, since it brings a great amount of complication to an already complicated character. In fact, I've always been a bigger fan of Angel than I am of Buffy. He's much more problematic, and therefore much more interesting to me. I love Scott's answer regarding Angel and Giles, since I always wished that Giles (more than any other Scoobie) had been present in S5 of Angel. Speakig of which, Angel's S5 is my favorite season of any Joss show. My favorite development was the move to W&H, and the retirement of the Cordelia character.

All that being said, the last answer here ("One word to answer both questions, and this is not gonna be popular with some fans, but you can see it coming ... Buffy.") really pissed me off. Whether Scott means that Joss sees Buffy as the most interesting narrative thread to Angel's life or whether he means that Angel himself sees Buffy as the most important thing in his life, I have a HUUUGGE problem with either scenario. If the former, that means that Joss doesn't give a fig about Angel's development away from Buffy (in FIVE seasons of his own show). If the latter, that means that Angel doesn't care about his friends and his son as much as he cares about Buffy. Either way, that answer implies that Joss and/or Angel want to return to a Buffy Season 1 status quo, and that is a deep regression from the development that both shows gave those characters since then.

nmcil said...

I find this to be personally the most satisfing of his interviews - his perspectives are both personal and also referenced Joss Whedon - which I think is very important.

The distinction between a personal interpretation and POV should always be expressed as such. The contrast between what is the intent of Joss Whedon and his official intent for the characters and story is very important to all the fans and readers. The distinction between the individual perspective and desires and official character intent by the creators should always be made clear. A great deal of the fans recent discontent would have been avoided if this distinction had been made.

Thanks to Mr. Allie and to you for doing these interviews - really appreciate all the effort from both.