With Buffy coming back to slay more TV vampires and Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon juggling the million projects he’s taken on since establishing the show’s cult supernatural following, it might seem counterintuitive that Whedon would return to Dark Horse to close out his Buffy comic series. But Whedon has good reason for heading back to comics — this was going to be the end of the road for the series whether he wrote an ending or not.
According to an interview with CBR, Whedon came back to comics because Dark Horse was about to lose the license to Buffy. Asked about the scheduling issues for creating a live-action Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog sequel, the creator detailed the complications, then said that “In the meantime, we want to do something more with Dark Horse right now – especially because Fox is taking the Buffy license and the Firefly license back. And Dark Horse has shepherded these licenses for decades now.” Dark Horse originally published the series back on its debut in September of 1998, making it a two-decade-long working relationship. But wait, they took Firefly back!? Hang on, let's talk Buffy first.
That’s coming to an end because, well, Fox wants Buffy in totality on the eve of its upcoming show. So Whedon won’t be getting the comics back at Dark Horse. That means fans deserve closure, and the writer aims to give it to them.
“Similar to the show, we’re not going to close it all off in the sense of 'Everybody’s dead!', though we did think about doing that,” Whedon said. “But when I sat with Chris Gage, it was with the intent that after everything we’ve been through we wanted to have something to say that mirrors and rounds off where we started this comic [run]. And then they said, ‘You have four issues,’ and it was like ‘Ohhhh. That’s all the time we have.’
“So we dealt with a lot of things in small panels, and I don’t know if I fit it all in, but it was very important to try. We made sure that the journey wasn’t continuing. We wanted to give the Dark Horse era some closure.” So, like the show, fans will get just enough closure not to complain — but the main Buffy storyline wasn’t the only narrative in the universe that Whedon took to comics.
Speaking on Fray, the futuristic, post-apocalypse expansion of the Buffyverse that Whedon wrote as his first foray into comics, the writer said that its fate was far more complicated than that of Buffy’s main title. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with [Fray], actually. I mean, legally,” Whedon said.
“I heard about all of this after the fact. It’s like Disney taking Star Wars over to Marvel. All the sudden we realize this is happening. So I’m writing this from a position that will leave everybody in a position where you feel some closure, but it’s definitely not, ‘Oh, I now I won’t ever want to read about them again’.”
If Whedon ends up retaining the rights to Fray, we could see more comics, though with Fox snapping up the right to the rest of the universe, it may be acquired under more speculative terms.