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It's hard to believe that it's been 20 years since Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy Summers arrived in Sunnydale, launching creator Joss Whedon's career into the stratosphere. Although the series finished in 2003, the story of Buffy and her friends has continued in a series of popular comics.
Now, in an announcement that's sure to delight old-school fans of the Vampire Slayer, we've just learned that Whedon himself is about to launch a new spin-off series. Are you ready for Giles?
Wait, There Are 'Buffy' Comics..?
If you haven't been reading the comics, you'll find the current status quo of the Buffy universe pretty confusing. So here's what you need to know: magic is now public knowledge. In fact, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 11 is currently telling a tale in which a power-hungry sorceress tricked the entire U.S. government into giving her a chance to steal all of the world's magic. Along the way, it led to most of the country's magical beings — werewolves, demons, witches and even Buffy — winding up imprisoned in concentration camps.
Not so Rupert Giles. His story has taken a pretty entertaining twist, with Giles's wise old mind now contained in the rejuvenated body of a teenager. The Scoobies decided it was easier to hide #Giles in plain sight, and he's headed straight into the American education system. Having been a school librarian, he's convinced there'll be nothing to it.
So, while #Buffy and her friends struggle to save the world (again), poor Giles is expecting a very dull time indeed.
What Can We Expect From 'Giles'?
Needless to say, Giles couldn't be more wrong. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles is a four-issue miniseries that will see the character enter the school system in a way he's not entirely comfortable with. As Whedon told The AV Club:
"Giles has never really dealt with the public school system as it exists for most kids. He’s never been to the city. Giles has always had the advantage of being a part of the system that educated him. He was taught to be a watcher in a family of watchers. His education was, in the grand British public school tradition, both expansive and parochial. In-depth views of tiny portions of the world."
He may have been a bad boy in his twenties (earning the nickname "Ripper"), but Giles has always lived a life of privilege. Now he's about to be confronted with the reality of teenage life, and it's sure to be an uncomfortable experience. Whedon has always excelled at slipping subtle (and not-so-subtle) political commentary into his works, and you can easily see the rich potential in this idea.
Making matters even more awkward is the fact that Giles is no longer master of his own body. He's been through adolescence once before, but now he expects better of himself. As Whedon notes, "His once-more 15-year-old body, however, is oblivious to his wisdom/cynicism/impatience."
Whedon is teaming up with Erika Alexander, an actress who's best known for '90s TV series such as The Cosby Show and Living Single, and who recently published her own comic book Concrete Park. Curiously, it sounds as though Alexander wasn't aware of the cultural significance of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, at least until she talked to her little sister.
"Joss is a complex artist, storyteller and filmmaker," Alexander said. "He’s building scaffolding in record speed, while I hurry along trying to keep up with the pace of the towers construction and pick out the drapes." It sounds like a tremendous team exercise!
So, Buffy fans, rejoice: Joss Whedon himself is returning to the Buffyverse. #Comicbook fans will know that Whedon's comics are just as good as his TV shows; X-Men fans in particular have fond memories of his Astonishing X-Men run. So we should expect Giles to be a tremendous, socially-relevant miniseries that gives us a new glimpse into the mind of one of our favorite characters.