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SYFY WIRE Buffy the Vampire Slayer

That ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ TV reboot appears stuck in development ‘purgatory’

First revealed in 2018, the Joss Whedon-attached project is reportedly ‘on pause.’

By Benjamin Bullard

It looks like we may be waiting a while — perhaps even an eternity — for that Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV reboot. Producers may not be quite ready to drive a stake straight through the heart of Buffy’s return to the small screen, but the latest update — and one of the only ones we’ve gotten since talk of a series revival first kicked up — isn’t likely to give fans much life.

Initially revealed in 2018, the idea of a new Buffy series understandably created tons of fan buzz, with original creator, writer, and director Joss Whedon, as well as former Buffy EP Gail Berman, said to be attached as executive producers. Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. writing veteran Monica Owusu-Breen was flagged as showrunner and writer for the forthcoming series, and was also on board in an executive producing role.

Even at the time, that was just about all anyone knew of what a 20-year TV time jump in Buffy series lore would look like: Would a new show find a way to tap the power of original star Sarah Michelle Gellar? Would it find a way to bring back or pay homage to fan-favorite Buffy and Angel cast alums like Charisma Carpenter, David Boreanaz, James Marsters, or Michelle Trachtenberg?

Gellar told The Wrap in 2019 that she supported more Buffy stories, but that “I’ve told my story with it” and would not be involved in the reboot. But no matter what the details would have looked like, that kind of old-versus-new speculation, along with Whedon’s attachment, seemed like the stuff of innocently fun talking points that could help galvanize Buffy fans behind a restarted series.

That, of course, was before Whedon’s public image began taking a series of hits — first in 2020 as Justice League actor Ray Fisher accused the director of inappropriate treatment on the movie’s set, followed last year by accusations from Carpenter (and later supported by some Buffy colleagues) that Whedon had “abused his power” on the sets of both old-school TV series.

Fast forward this year to Aug. 19, when the topic briefly turned to talk of the Buffy reboot’s present-day status during a question-and-answer session from The Hollywood Reporter‘s TV’s Top 5 podcast. Without diving into the past two years’ worth of Whedon-adjacent controversy, THR reporter Lesley Goldberg shared that the hugely hyped Buffy revival is presently stuck in the producing world’s version of “purgatory.”

“So, to answer to whomever wrote inquiring about the status of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer reboot that was announced or put in development back in 2018,” said Goldberg, “executive producer Gail Berman recently told our colleague, and friend of the 5, Katie Kilkenny, that it is, quote, ‘on pause’ — which is industry speak for ‘purgatory.’ So make of that what you will.”

Being stuck in development purgatory isn’t necessarily a death sentence for any project, as long-gestating movies like Watchmen, Deadpool, and AVP: Alien vs. Predator — not to mention Netflix’s recently-released comics-based series The Sandman — all can attest. But with virtually no Buffy reboot news emerging over the past four years, as well as the reported “on pause” confirmation from one of the show’s producers, it’s probably safe to say that signs of new life won’t be showing themselves anytime soon.

At least there’s no such purgatory for the classics. While we wait for the next update on Buffy’s TV future, a walk down undead memory lane is just a click away: All seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, alongside all five seasons of Angel, are available to stream at Hulu.

If you're jonesing for more vampire action, Peacock's new original series Vampire Academy premieres Sept. 15.