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Joss WhedonJoss Whedon - About Figures - Sideshowtoy.com Interview
Friday 24 June 2005, by Webmaster
Sideshow Collectible’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer collectible figure line is celebrating two years of success since its re-launch in 2003. With 17 releases of new sculpts and figures reflecting some of the most memorable heroes and villains on the beloved series, Sideshow figured it was time to talk to the man who birthed the Buffy universe from his freakishly clever brain - none other than Joss Whedon.
It’s been two years since the Buffy TV series ended and a year now since Angel faded to black, but both shows are still capturing fans in syndication, on DVD and with an ever-expanding line of merchandise. Currently, Whedon is immersed in the process of transforming his other beloved television universe, Firefly, into the big screen movie, Serenity, which hits theaters this September. Meanwhile, he’s also gearing up to bring the comic icon Wonder Woman to the screen next year, in a film he will write and produce. All of this, as well as a family with two young children waiting for him at home, would make the average person exhausted just thinking about his "to-do" list. However, Whedon graciously took a quick break from his busy schedule to talk to Sideshow exclusively about what excites and inspires this self-confessed pop culture geek, his collecting passions and about the products based on his own creations.
SSC (Tara DiLullo): When you are developing a series, does merchandising for the show factor into your thoughts during the process?
Joss WhedonThe answer is unequivocally, "Yes!" I grew up playing with the Marvel comic dolls and, when I say way later in life than I should have been, I’m not kidding. My best friend and I had quite a collection. I always wanted to make the kind of TV and movies that would exist beyond the shows themselves and dolls are a huge part of that. With Star Wars, I played with the action figures with my little brothers. They’ve always spoken to me, not just a Barbie or a G.I. Joe, nothing against them, but the ones that were for more specific stories. Making the stories myself with the aid of these little figurines is something I’ve always loved to do. I’ve always felt like if a story really registers, it deserves dolls! They actually mean more to me than I usually admit in public.
SSC: What do you think about dolls and merchandising really being the way of prolonging the life of your creation outside of the original work?
JW: It’s what it’s for. The shows are supposed to live on in people’s minds. They were never supposed to be disposable TV. Hopefully, there will be more of some things from the Buffy-verse, but in the meantime, I want people to have those [things]. Not just to keep them mint in the box, although I respect that. I have a lot of mint in the box friends...well, I don’t keep my friends in a box. I mean I have friends that do that...important distinction. (laughs) For me, it’s about posing them and playing with them and making them fight and have conflict and creating more and more narrative and yes, putting them on top of each other. I’m not judging. Anybody can be put on top of anybody, that’s the beauty of my shows.
SSC: Of all the characters you’ve created, which one would you like to see made into a collectible figure someday?
JW: Buffy was the first and I wrote her with an action figure in mind. After that, I still don’t have a Bunny Suit Anya and I’m waiting for a big Illyria doll. My characters have never lent themselves to dollery quite as much as I would like, because they don’t have set costumes. When somebody only appears in one outfit ever, then people identify with it much faster and it’s easier to doll them up. With my guys, that hasn’t always been the case. More so with Spike and most of all with Illyria, people really responded to her because I think she had a genuine sci-fi superhero look that was different than anybody else’s. I’m looking to see her.
SSC: What do you think of Sideshow’s Buffy inspired figures?
JW: They (Sideshow’s BVS figures) are great! They are beautiful and they are the kind of doll that I would play with way too often for a man my age.
SSC: Has there ever been an outrageous piece of merchandising that horrified you?
JW: Not really.
SSC: Not even the Spike thong?
JW: I didn’t hear about that and now I wish I could un-hear it. It’s important that I never know about that. That’s just sad. (laughs)
SSC: Going back to the future of a Buffy, Angel, or Spike TV or film project, is there a realistic timeline for something happening sooner rather than later?
JW: We’ve talked about a Spike movie. There are a lot of characters that I would be interested in seeing again: Willow, Faith, Oz, Illyria, and Spike, obviously. I’m still dying to do Ripper [a miniseries about the Rupert Giles character]. There’s a lot, but right now, I can barely keep my head above water, so nothing is on the front burner.
SSC: You’ve admitted to being a big comic book fan, but are you a collector of anything else?
JW: There is one thing, which would be Victorian children’s literature.
SSC: First editions?
JW: Not first editions necessarily. I’m a big fan of the illustrators of Victorian children’s stories. I like books you can read, so I’m not so much into first editions because I don’t want anything that can’t go into my children’s grubby little hands. I might make them wash them, so they can touch them. That’s the closest I’ve come to collecting anything.
SSC: Wonder Woman is an iconic action figure/comic character. Is your movie version of her going to be based solely on comic history or will you move away from capturing the strict mythology?
JW: I think she will be different. They’ve gotten to the point now where they do dolls based on different artist’s renderings, so in a way, everything is new. There are [John] Cassady dolls and Jim Lee dolls, which I think is wonderful. I do not plan to reinvent Wonder Woman to the point where she is no longer Wonder Woman, but I definitely think we’ll have a new doll.
SSC: A Whedon Wonder Woman!
JW: Ah yes, there will!
SSC: Sideshow Collectibles would like to thank Joss Whedon and Michael Boretz for their time in coordinating this interview. We look forward to seeing Mr. Whedon’s upcoming film, Serenity, in the theaters.
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