This week, Buffy Summers would have been 30. And to celebrate the occasion, Joss Whedon gave all the Scoobies something awesome: The final issue of the Season 8 comics which have broken some hearts — someone major dies — and made lesbian hearts race — hello, Satsu.
After seeing our favorite and beloved Slayer become a god, reunite with Angel only to have her heart broken yet again when he murders someone she loves (I wouldn’t dare spoil that!), Buffy‘s eighth season was a massive rollercoaster. And I’m not even talking about all things Dawn and Xander!
As Season 8 ended its run, and because Joss is Joss, the Buffy mastermind took time to reflect in the final issue with a glorious letter in Issue #40 that not only looks back but also forward — to Season 9 of the comics and what’s ahead for Buffy, Willow and the rest of the gang.
On Season 8′s setting in the future:
Every season of Buffy had a different intent, and a different set of challenges, from which to build. The biggest challenge in Season 8 was that many years ago I wrote a Slayer comic and set it in the far future so that it could never affect Buffy’s life. I was so young. But the challenge of reconciling the optimistic, empowering message of the final episode with the dystopian, Slayerless vision of Fray’s future gave Season 8 a genuine weight. There is never progress without hateful, reactionary blowback. That’s never been more apparent than in today’s political scene in America. The mission was to deal with the consequences of Buffy and Willow’s empowering spell (the good and the terrible), steer toward a possible Fray future without undoing all the good Buffy had done (the girls still have their power), and tee us up for a very different Season 9.
And after a mystical season, Whedon promises to return to the formula that made Buffy so beloved in Season 9:
No matter how interesting the world stage or mystical dimensions can be, Buffy’s best when she’s walking that alley, dusting vamps, and nursing a pouty heart. We’re not going back to square one, but our square will definitely have a oneishness to it.
And because a letter directly from The Josser isn’t enough, Entertainment Weekly also gave fans a spoiler-filled interview with Whedon about all things Season 8, including Buffy’s “controversial” venture into lesbian territory:
We had talked about the idea of Buffy having a lesbian fling as one of the things that does actually reflect where she is in her life, if you consider the events in Season 8 to be her college experience. It’s that time in your life where that might happen.
As for Season 9, Whedon again echoed a return to TV series form:
It will be more like the television show. With the comic, we just sort of said, ‘Wheee!’ Ultimately, ‘Wheee!’ caught up with us in a cavalcade of mythology. It became clear, as it did with the show, that people really liked when Buffy’s adventures reflect what she’s going through in her life [and] what we’re going through in our lives at that age. That was the thing in Season 8 that we didn’t tap into as much as I think we ultimately should have.
Beyond the story line changes, Season 9 also is likely to feature a new artist, according to BleedingCool.com: Rebekah Isaacs. Judging from her work on such titles as Hack/Slash and Drafted, she’s going to do just fine.
And because no birthday celebration would be complete without one, check out the great gallery (and spoiler-filled story) from CNN that pops in on the five best moments from Buffy‘s eighth season.
And if you haven’t already, check out the stop-motion Blu-ray/DVD of the Season 8 comics that’s available now. Warning: The DVD only includes issues 1-19. Hopefully a second disc will be out soon.
So happy (belated) 30th birthday, Buffy. We’re looking forward to Season 9. Are you? What are your favorite moments from the comics? What do you want to see in the next chapter?