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From Cinescape.com

Marti Noxon - Cinescape

Monday 17 February 2003, by Webmaster

Could Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s seventh season be its last? Executive producer Marti Noxon has some answers.

Anyone following Buffy the Vampire Slayer this season is certainly getting the sense that the end is near. Although no official announcement has been made as to whether the show will enter an eighth season on UPN, executive producer Marti Noxon admits the issue was definitely on everyone’s minds as they began preparing this year’s arc.

"It’s something Joss wanted to do in getting a sense of closure and in thinking of this as the last season of Buffy ever, if it is," explains Noxon. "And, if it is, then we’re covered. There’s been a real sense of ’Let’s assess where we are and the things that matter about the show and where it started.’ He always thinks in terms of theme and arc, and this time we’re wrapping up much bigger themes and arcs."

The Big Bad this season certainly embodies those elements. Spawned from a third-season episode, "Amends," which introduced a shape-shifting villain known as The First, this new embodiment of true evil has become the focal point of the seventh season. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and the Scooby gang are finding themselves confused and tricked by this evil, which can take the form of anyone from its past or present in order to create doubt and despair — and hopefully tke out Buffy and the whole Slayer line in the process.

"Joss had this arc in mind for some time and it just seemed fitting," says Noxon. "The idea of The First was that it’s like the devil. It’s the first and original evil and it kind of permeates. It doesn’t work in a very traditional fashion. It’s almost like Hannibal Lecter if Hannibal Lecter were a shapeshifter. It’s really insidious and very primal, going through the idea of the Slayer’s roots and the beginning of the series, so it made sense that the Big Bad would be the baddest bad of all baddies."

While the series is going back to its roots, Noxon says they are also trying to wrap up many smaller arcs that have been left dangling over the years. There’s been talk of perhaps bringing Oz (Seth Green) back, not to mention finding a way to wrap up the torrid love affair between Buffy and Angel (David Boreanaz) — though that’s a lot harder now that the Angel spin-off is on a different network.

"Are we going to be able to pay off Angel at all — that’s the big question, and it’s not just whether we want to bring him in thematically, it’s also whether he’s going to be available," says Noxon.

As for the most dreaded question — will the show return? — Noxon feels they’ll have an answer soon, but either way it ultimately won’t affect the season arc or how this year will conclude.

"We built this season so that it will work if it is the end it and it will also work if it isn’t the end," says Noxon. "I think that Sarah has not made an official announcement, but I think it’s very unlikely the show will come back as Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I think if it does come back, it’s going to be a different incarnation."

Whedon is thinking along similar lines.

"If Sarah doesn’t come back, there won’t be a show called Buffy," he reveals. "However, if Sarah doesn’t come back, there still could be a show. I’m not tired of the universe. There is definitely a way to continue, but whether or not I will, remains to be seen."