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What Ever Happened to Joss Whedon's "Ripper"?

I woke up this morning with a singular thought: what ever happened to that planned Buffy spinoff Ripper?

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:

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."

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.

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.

Stay tuned.

Comments

As a Buffy fan I would love to see Ripper come to life but if I had to choose between that or Dollhouse I would definitely go with Dollhouse. A Giles-centered TV movie would be fun and all but the chance to see a brilliant new Joss series wins hands down.
rockauteur said…
I am disappointed with Whedon and the lack of promised spinoffs (Ripper, Spike movie, as you mentioned)... make those rights issues work, dude!! we want to see more!
ProgGrrl said…
Sigh.

Well, fandom needs to realize that if there are "rights issues" with BTVS/ATS spinoff projects, it is highly unlikely that Joss Whedon has any ability to solve it. He's no lawyer and he doesn't work for Fox or whomever owns those rights.

(See Buffy Sing-A-Long's death as prime example. Blargh.)
Anonymous said…
At this rate, I would be astounded to see any sort of Buffy spinoff (aside from in comic form) but I am so excited about Dollhouse and hope it is a success. And maybe, if we're lucky, some familiar faces from Buffy, Angel or Firefly will pop up.
Anonymous said…
I was really excited when Joss mentioned this at ComiCon but I can't believe there hasn't been any mention since that about RIPPER. I get that he's busy with DollHouse, Buffy season 8 comic and AXM and Runaways but he should at least give us an update about whether this is going to happen. I hope it still does.
Anonymous said…
Worst. News. Ever.

Really want Ripper to happen as I miss Buffy and I really miss Giles. Hope that they can make the rights issues go away and BBC and Fox? can make this.
Page48 said…
I can live without BTVS, but I could use a good 10 year run of new "Firefly" material. If SG-1 can squeeze out 10 seasons (not to mention spinoff SG-Atlantis), then how the hell can FF be canceled after a baker's dozen worth of eppies?

Sounds like monkeys running the zoo to me.
helenf said…
Some of it is likely down to Joss - this interview with James Marsters suggests Joss simply wasn't that interested in a Spike project in the first place: http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/article/ds92592.html
Lazlo said…
I agree with page48.

It seems like with the huge amount of crap that makes 2 episodes and gets insta-canceled, some network somewhere must want a show with a pre-committed audience. But if you've ever worked in Hollywood, you know the loonies are definitely running the asylum.
Anonymous said…
I am glad someone's asking this question. Joss shouldn't have made any announcement about this at San Diego if it wasn't a sure thing. BtVS fans have been through so much upset over the years about projects that might have been that he should just keep his lips sealed until the deals are done and prep begins.
Anonymous said…
I’d love to see SPIKE spin-off tv series! I really want it!!! And I’m so sorry that Joss wasn’t interested…
Anonymous said…
And Anthony Head is going to be in that show about a young Arthur and Merlin on NBC next fall, so he might be too busy for Ripper at the moment himself. Well, maybe they'll both be free to do it after these shows are over....
Unknown said…
any news?
Anonymous said…
considering it now 2017 I presume now of this happened. So sad, I loved Buffy, now everyone may be to old for this, Spike isn't suppose to age :(

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