If you remember back nearly a year ago, the internet was abuzz with the news coming out of San Diego Comic-Con: Joss Whedon had announced plans to go ahead with Ripper, the proposed Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff centering on Watcher Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head).
Fanboys (and girls) everywhere were proclaiming it to be a very happy day indeed, what with Whedon returning to the franchise with Ripper and the then-upcoming Buffy Season Eight comic book. (Shame on you, if you're not reading it!)
Since then, a lot has happened, both here in Hollywood and specifically to Whedon himself. Joss ended up selling a seven-episode drama series called Dollhouse--starring former Buffy staple Eliza Dushku and BSG's Tahmoh Penikett--to FOX; pre-production is currently underway for a spring shoot and Dollhouse has been slated to air this fall. (I, meanwhile, have been hard at work trying to get my grubby hands on the script.)
Additionally, the writers strike had a hand in shelving or delaying many projects in the meantime. (Joss himself is also currently writing the tail ends of his sadly much-delayed stints on Astonishing X-Men and Runaways.)
When Whedon announced the Ripper project--then incarnated as a possible 90-minute television movie at the BBC (with no US broadcaster mentioned)--he said he was thisclose to signing a deal with the BBC.
But a few months later, Whedon gave an interview to TV Week's James Hibberd (who has since moved onto The Hollywood Reporter) and was surprisingly non-committal about Ripper:
Which means it's still possible that Ripper might work out... but not all that probable, especially given Whedon's involvement in Dollhouse, especially if the project is picked up to a full season.
TVWeek: Is there anything new with "Buffy" spinoff "Ripper"? [Whedon previously announced he’s trying to set up that show at the BBC.]
Whedon: There isn’t anything new. It might become too problematic. The rights issue with "Ripper" becomes complicated. There are other characters in the woods. We may have to do some fancy footwork. Obviously I’m committed to ["Dollhouse"], but that does not mean I’m not doing "Ripper."
And sadly, Buffy spin-off projects--Buffy the Animated Series, Faith the Vampire Slayer, the Spike telefilm, Slayer School--have a tendency to, well, not see the light of day, which perhaps is only fitting for a franchise that lurks in the shadows.