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Buffy the Vampire Slayer has become an undead pop culture phenomenon itself

Will there be another Buffy reboot in the near future, or is the series finally dead? We investigate

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

In February, Disney cancelled the Audible series Slayers: A Buffyverse Story despite the first season being a success. Co-creator Christopher Golden wrote at the time that Disney had “provided no explanation,” although many — including Team Popverse — wondered if the decision to kill the continuation of the 1990s TV show was related to the potential reboot of the Buffyverse that has been in the works for years. But… where is the Buffy reboot right now?

A Brief History of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Image credit: 20th Century Fox

For those unfamiliar with Buffy, it’s most widely known as a television series that aired from 1997 through 2003, created by Joss Whedon and centering around Buffy Summers, the latest in a line of “Chosen Ones” who have superhuman abilities and are required to protect humanity from vampires, demons, and other supernatural forces of evil. The series was hailed as being groundbreaking in its mixture of sarcasm and sincerity, as well as its approach towards serialized genre storytelling, and stories about empowered women in genre in particular; after the show’s ending with its seventh season, the property lived on for one further year on television in the finale season of its spin-off show, Angel, and in comics until 2022 courtesy of Dark Horse Comics and later Boom! Studios.

In truth, Buffy’s origins came five years earlier than the show; the first Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a 1992 movie written by Whedon and directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui that is more broadly comedic in tone and, Whedon said in the intervening years, not what he’d hoped Buffy would or should be. It’s the strange part of the core Buffy DNA: the version that fans hold dear and share as proof that the concept should never be rebooted was itself already a reboot.

Related: Buffy the Vampire Slayer: How to watch the Buffyverse (including Angel) in release and chronological order

Buffy The Rebooted Slayer (1)

The first talk of a second Buffy reboot came in July 2018, with writer Monica Owusu-Breen, who’d worked with Whedon on Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD television series, attached to write a series centering around a Black version of the character. Less than a week after the news of the new series initially broke, Owusu-Breen posted a message on social media seemingly pushing back against the idea of it being a reboot, writing, “there is only one Buffy… They can’t be replaced. Joss Whedon’s brilliant and beautiful series can’t be replicated. I wouldn’t try to. But here we are, twenty years later… And the world seems a lot scarier. So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer… And that’s all I can say.”

So, perhaps the new series wouldn’t be a reboot after all, but a sequel…?

Buffy The Rebooted Slayer (2)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Image credit: Boom! Studios

Even as fans were left wondering just what Owusu-Breen was working on, a second Buffy reboot definitely arrived… but not on television. Starting in January 2019, Boom! Studios published a Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book that was based on a wholesale reboot of the television mythology. In a statement promoting the new series, editor Jeanine Schaefer said at the time, “The world of Buffy The Vampire Slayer has been so richly developed over the last twenty years, so when it came time for us to decide where to take the franchise under Joss’ guidance, there was only one answer in our minds – reimagining the story of Buffy and the Gang for a new generation.”

The new version updated the setting 22 years — after all the television show had launched in 1997 — and updated or altered a lot of details about supporting characters in addition to Buffy herself (Willow was confidently out and proud even before Buffy met her, as opposed to closeted until midway through the television series, for example). The series ran for 34 issues, before ending in July 2022.

Related: Star Trek and Buffy: The Vampire Slayer are more alike than you think says Spike actor James Marsters

The Failed TV Revival

2022 proved to be a big year for Buffy endings. A month after Boom! Studios’ reboot series ended, executive producer Gail Berman revealed that Monica Osuwu-Breen’s television series was “on pause” for the foreseeable future, with no explanation as to why.

Image credit: Audible

When Slayers: A Buffyverse Story was announced in September 2023 to debut the following month, it looked as if reboot plans might have been put on hold in favor of continuing the canon of the original television series… but then Slayers was canceled in February 2024, one month after executive producer Dolly Parton — yes, that Dolly Parton — revealed that plans for a television reboot were still in consideration, after all.

As to where or when, that remains to be seen. No network or talent are attached publicly to the project, if it even exists beyond vague development ideas — and, as can be seen, spin-off projects in other media have come to an end, meaning that Buffy is currently as dead as any genre project can be, in practical terms — and certainly as dead as it’s been since 1997. Of course, if there’s one thing that can be said about a vampire story, it’s that dead never really means dead in any long-term fashion…

Keep your eyes on Popverse; if and when any new Buffy the Vampire Slayer news comes through from the underworld, we’ll make sure to share it as soon as possible.

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Graeme McMillan

Graeme McMillan: Popverse Editor Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.


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