Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Exclusive Interview: Scott Allie on the Road Behind and Ahead for Buffy

Wow, it's been a long, strange trip. There's been ups, downs and outright wars - so basically, it was like any other season of Buffy. And just like other seasons, there's something bitter-sweet about saying goodbye to the gang for awhile. Luckily, we spoke with Scott Allie, editor and writer of the season, to keep the fire from going out for just a little longer.

Buffyfest: So, we’ve come to the end of Season 8. It’s been a long haul with many ups and downs. What is your most memorable moment from the past 4 or so years?

Scott Allie: When Joss emailed to tell me, "You're officially cowriting the finale with me." Or the moment that I realized, in a meeting with Marketing, that we hadn't shown issue #12 to Fox. 

Buffyfest: Those sound memorable! Now, in this final issue, we find Buffy living in San Francisco. Who's idea was it to set Buffy up in SF for Season 9?

SA: Pretty sure that was Joss. He had a pretty solid idea of where she'd wind up after this. 

Buffyfest: What about that city made sense in the decision? 

SA: Lotta stuff. It's a good place for a girl in her twenties to restart her life, and that's what she has to do. It's a meaningful place for a young person to head to. Plus she's gonna look really good doing the Batman thing hopping around those particular rooftops. We liked the idea of keeping her in California, but striking out to new ground. And we felt like San Francisco was a city that was up for grabs, in terms of superheroes. Lot of factors.

Buffyfest: Now that we’re at the end of the season, how much time has passed from the beginning of Issue 1 to the end of #40?

SA: I don't know. We haven't spent two minutes talking about that, to be honest. It's not long—it's not four years. Mostly things moved along pretty quick, although they were in Tibet a lot longer than it took to read those issues. But mostly things moved ahead without a lot of time passing. So maybe it's been a year, somewhere around there.

Buffyfest: One of the most asked questions in the forums is “Who's the prince?” Is this something we should have figured out already or is there more to come on this in Season 9?

SA: No comment.

Buffyfest: We'll take that "No comment" as "There are a lot of comments I can't share". Getting into specifics of issue #40, who's the bleeding guy on page 23? If you can't tell us, can we at least get a hint?!

SA: "Bleeding"? Is it his blood, or someone else's? Find out in Season 9.

Buffyfest: Oooh! Ok, moving on to the big break-up of the issue. Does Kennedy know that Willow's a cheating slimeball and, if not, do you think she would feel differently about their break-up if she knew the truth? 

SA: I don't think she knows, but we could alter that depending on how we set things up at the beginning of Season 9. I think more info for Kennedy can only make her feel worse. Willow's not at her best.

Buffyfest: No she is not, but Faith is! She gets Giles’ belongings, but Giles still gives Buffy the title of THE Slayer even in death. Is your interpretation of Giles leaving Buffy the "Vampyre" book the same as Faith's?

SA: My interpretation is different than Faith's. Faith's right, but there's more to it than that. Giles wouldn't give it to Buffy to burn Faith. Giles was a smart guy.

Buffyfest: Even though Faith is helping Angel, she seems reluctant to do so. Has she forgiven Angel or is she just doing it for the good of the group?

SA: Her gratitude for what Angel did for her goes way beyond forgiving him. It's the sort of thing where you never have to say you're sorry. Faith has grown a lot this season, and she's uniquely equipped to deal with Angel now. She's up for this. And her concern is not the group. 

Buffyfest: Who's idea was it for Angel to crash at Giles' apartment in London: Faith or Buffy? 

SA: I'd say Faith.

Buffyfest: Faith has "faith" in Angel. What about you? Is there hope for Angel?

SA: Yes. I think there's always hope for people. But he really has to earn it. He has to grow from this. He has to find a new way to deal with who he is. He really has some bad karma, and I mean that far beyond him having done some bad stuff he has to make up for.

Buffyfest: Connected to that, we have Buffy’s last line in the issue being “Let’s Go to Work” which Angel’s iconic last line in “Not Fade Away”. What’s up with that?

SA: It's the mission statement, but it also means something real different from when Angel said it. 

Buffyfest: What story are you looking most forward to telling in regards to Season 9? Why?

SA: Oh, I don't know. There's a lot. I've been really excited about some stuff with Willow for a long time, but as we tie some things together in the early planning, there are things that get more and more interesting. We've got bits for Faith, something for Spike, for Angel, for Buffy that I'm really excited about. Angel's gonna have some of the best bits. But there are lots of things we still have to nail down.

Buffyfest: Continuing with Season 9, what’s a Buffy and Angel world going to look like without magic? Are there any loopholes we need to know about?

SA: There are loopholes. Look at the dialogue between Willow and Aluwyn in one of my issues. Aluwyn spells some things out. But the world is really different. There are both good and bad repercussions to this. 

Buffyfest: In tune with a world without magic, will we see Fray again next Season?

SA: We've talked about it, but only if it makes sense. Only if it pushes the story forward. We definitely want to bring Fray out again, but it might not have a place in Season 9.

Buffyfest: What about the alternate slayer from the issue, “The Chain”? The fairy makes an appearance in this issue, so will we see the slayer again in Season 9 or is her death imminent at the end of the issue?

SA: I've always thought of her as dying there, but it's possible she survived. 

Buffyfest: Are the titles set in stone? Last we heard at Comic Con, there are going to be Spike and Willow books, as well. Is there any more news on that?

SA: We still have some work to do. Neither Spike nor Willow are set in stone—the only things that are rock solid are the two main titles.

Buffyfest: We know that this past weekend, you had a writer's summit in L.A. to map out the story for Season 9. Can you tell us who was there?

SA: Joss, Sierra, me, Zack, Jane Espenson, Drew Greenberg, Danny Kaminsky, and a few other writers ... names we'll share soon. There were some people we were counting on spending the day with who weren't able to make it because of their busy weeks, which was disappointing. 

Buffyfest: How did the process of setting up the story go?

SA: Great. It was fun. It was educational for me, and I've got a lot riding on it. We nailed the themes, the central conflicts. Lots of details to work out, but we found the main plotlines for all the main characters, and we nailed down our starting points. We still need to do outlines, breaking the bits into a real structure. But we spent the day throwing around ideas, seeing which ones still sounded good an hour or two later, and then watching ideas overlap and reconnect. It's gonna be a weird season.

Buffyfest: Can you tell us about any great moments that came out of the meeting? 

SA: Lightsaber fights and karaoke. I didn't even think I knew the Thompson Twins. 

Buffyfest: Ha! To be a fly on that wall. Finally, any other Season 9 news you’d like to share?

SA: Just that Joss is taking a bigger role in it than we initially expected. He'll be more directly involved in the writing than I was expecting, which is a relief. But we've got some other good stuff set up, things I wish we could tell readers, but now is not the time. 

Buffyfest: Don't worry. We'll be waiting patiently. Thanks for being a part of the reason we still get to talk about Buffy. See you next Season!

SA: Thanks, Michelle—thanks for keeping the readers talking.


Nathan said...

i don't know about patiently but we are waiting. i guess we can hold on until August. it'll be tough, it's such a long way for more Buffy.

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