Why the slayer's moving to the UPN -- and what's happening on the WB season finale

By Liane Bonin
Updated May 09, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Last month, ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer” drove a stake through the WB’s heart, ditching the teen oriented network for a juicier deal at rival network UPN. The network switch may have been a shocker, but ”Buffy” creator Joss Whedon says that won’t be the only big change awaiting fans of the show as its approaches its 100th episode (airing Tues., May 22). Whedon talked with EW.com about writing and directing ”Buffy”’s bloody season finale, network politics, and a new spinoff.

C’mon, give us some hints about what we can expect on ”Buffy.”
We’re wrapping up Glory’s story and resolving Buffy’s feelings about being a slayer and whether or not she’s really Dawn’s sister — and all the questions about family and sacrifice. The stakes are huge. It’s epic, it’s enormous, and still very, very personal. Death is an issue. There’s going to be a brutal fight, and not everyone is going to get out alive. Someone may be leaving the show, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

You won’t be writing or directing the season finale of ”Angel,” but can you tell us what’s up there?

That’s also going to be huge and epic, which we’ve really got to stop doing because we can’t afford it. The characters are going to go into another dimension and get a different view of how they’ve been living over the last season, and there’ll be princesses and monsters and all sorts of insanity. It’s a lighter, more fun arc than with ”Buffy.” And we’ll have somebody showing up who will become a regular next season.

Everyone’s still talking about the death of Buffy’s mother earlier this season. Why did you decide to go in such a somber direction?
We knew we wanted to do this for a couple of years, and we did warn the actress, so she knew it was coming. With last season being about breaking away and finding new identities, this year was about being sucked back into the family. I’ve always wanted to put Buffy in a situation where death in its purest form comes to her, and she can’t even consider fighting it. And it’s a rite of passage. It’s something that’s happened to me, and we thought it was time Buffy went through it.

Why didn’t Buffy’s father come back for the funeral? He seems pretty heartless.
We see him as being increasingly far away and awful mainly because I wanted to keep things simple. Buffy’s father figure is Giles (Anthony Stuart Head). That’s not to say the father might not appear again, but it complicates things enormously.

Now that ”Buffy” is officially leaving the WB, does that mean ”Buffy” / ”Angel” crossovers are out of the question?
I would hope not, but you never know. It’s hard enough to do them when the shows are on the same network. ”Angel” needed to find its sea legs, and I think it has. What the characters are going through this coming season doesn’t really involve the ”Buffy” characters, so it is its own show.

Sarah Michelle Gellar caused quite a stir when she said she would quit if ”Buffy” left the WB. Have you two worked things out?
The fact is, she knew perfectly well that if we moved, she was going to move with us, and she’s very professional. I sort of shook my head when I saw that story, but I knew it was something that would just blow over. But I have to admit, our Fox producers were like, ”Aaaah! What’s going on?” And I thought, what IS going on, that’s a little odd.


Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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