Dr. Horrible Best Friends Forever cover

Dr. Horrible comic replaces singing with fourth wall breaking

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Aug 16, 2018, 11:26 AM EDT

Joss Whedon is a busy guy. The Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator has multiple TV projects in the works, a Buffy comic, and the ever-present desire to follow up his popular web series Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog with a bona fide sequel featuring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Firefly star Nathan Fillion. So there had to be some compromise. Fans are getting a Dr. Horrible one-shot comic — but the series’ musical genre seems like that would make a faithful translation across media difficult.

Speaking to CBR, Whedon explained his Horrible plan and how exactly Dr. Horrible: Best Friends Forever came about. Some of the impetus came from being pestered by his Dr. Horrible team — “I saw Neil [Patrick Harris] when he was doing Hedwig [and the Angry Inch], and after the performance I went backstage and said, ‘You were amazing!’ and he said, ‘When are you going to do a sequel?!’” — and some came from a rights issue with the rest of his comics, like Buffy.

“But it’s like, ‘Well, they don’t own Dr. Horrible!’” Whedon said. “That’s mine. So I suggested that we could do a one-shot and then realized that no one else was going to write that. I sat down and got started and felt, ‘Oh, right. I love this.’ I hadn’t revisited it in years, and to write a story that’s just severely dumb as those guys can be, it was pure joy.”

Fans may be excited to see just how dumb the would-be supervillain and his well-established (but utterly awful) superhero rival can be — especially now that they seem to be buddies — but how will it stay true to the franchise without sound?

“The music thing is one where I’ve always wanted to do a comic that links to a site where you can download a song we recorded,” Whedon said. “But they were like, ‘Joss, you can’t get through a script, so...’ But we do still have that element of anything can happen. We can break the fourth wall... And obviously, budget is not considered an issue.”

There are some creative freedoms that enter into the equation when you don’t have to pay to shoot everything you write, and fans should expect some epic silliness on a Deadpool scale if Whedon's namecheck to fourth-wall breaking is to be believed. We can only hope that Bad Horse returns.