ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you know Buffy would be getting pregnant?
ANDREW CHAMBLISS: That was something that Joss had always kind of set out from the beginning of conceiving season 9. It was definitely something we were building towards from day one, the first issue of the season where she’s got the crazy party and blacks out at it. It was always something Joss wanted to do. In the season, where we’re really trying to push Buffy back to dealing with real world issues that are getting in the way of her slaying, and also where she is in her life, it seems like this is what we should make the core of the jumping off point for the season.
How did you come to that decision? The seasons have generally been marking posts for Buffy’s development in her life. Was it a big life moment Buffy was going to have to tackle?
Yeah, that was kind of the idea. Just looking at the intention of the season where magic has disappeared, and it’s kind of Buffy asking herself, “Do I have a life after slaying? I spend so much time saving the world and dealing with these huge supernatural things, what’s my life like if I have to deal with these real things?” Getting pregnant seems like one of the things Buffy can’t run away from, as easily as she can run away from a relationship or something like that.
What’s it like to have Joss hand you the reins while he goes off to make big blockbuster movies?
It’s been an incredibly gratifying experience. I love Buffy. It’s part of the reason that I became interested in writing. It’s a lot of fun. I’d worked with Joss on Dollhouse, and there were Buffy alum [writing and working] on Dollhouse. Just to hear them talk about that world, part of me was always like, “I wish I could have been a part of that.” So getting that opportunity now is a dream come true.
What’s working relationship with Joss?
Before we started working on the season, Joss’ house had a big Buffy writers summit. A bunch of Buffy writers came – [comic editor] Scott Allie and the Dark Horse team came down, Cristos Gage who’s writing on [spin-off comic] Angel and Faith came as well, and we just had a great brainstorming session, talking about all of the different things it would be cool to do in the season. Taking all of those ideas, Joss and I have had many email exchanges back and forth, and of course phone calls. He’s really involved in laying out the map of the season, and we’re going to take everything and then from there I just go in and do the more detailed work. Generally, it’s been sending him drafts over email, and he’ll weigh in along with Dark Horse.
Does he tweak any dialogue? “Xander would say it more this way?”
Generally he’s been focused more on the story issues. When I’m writing, I’m having episodes of Buffy on in the background to get the voices of the characters down. Joss’s input is more [on] the story side, making sure the arcs are on track. But yeah, he will throw out a line, because I’ve come to realize, Buffy, more than anything else Joss does, is so much Joss. He can nail that voice better than anyone else can.
At the writers summit, did abortion topic come up?
I don’t think we spoke too much about it there, but as we were getting issues in and approaching the pregnancy reveal, that’s when we started talking about what Buffy would do with that. Joss basically wanted to face it head on, and not shy away from it in any way. I think at the summit we might have come up with doing the Nikki Wood flashbacks to try to serve as a counterpoint to where Buffy is, because Nikki’s the only other slayer who has ever faced this issue.
I asked this of Joss too: You couldn’t have known that Planned Parenthood would be so in the news when this issue of the comic was in the works, but I imagine you must have known this development would spark some strong debate?
Yes, for sure. It’s not a topic that anyone takes lightly. There are such a wide spectrum of opinions, and we knew that there would be debate around it. I think the thing, when we were making the story, was to make sure we weren’t doing a story just for the sake of being controversial, or trying to get attention. It really is trying to go someplace that a girl in Buffy’s position would go, and the questions she’d have to ask herself.
So to borrow a line from the show, “Where do we go from here?” How far reaching will the ramifications be?
We’re not talking about it on a super-specific level just because I don’t want to spoil too much of the next couple of issues, but there’s definitely a huge anchor point for Buffy mentally going through the rest of the season. You think, what are the things in her life that are possible, and what are the things in her life that are difficult, both being the Slayer, but also being a twentysomething girl who has pretty much put her entire life on hold ever since she’s been in high school. Thinking about this as placing the seed of that question of making her realize, “Whoa, whoa, there are so many things I never thought about.” This is kind of the first thing.
What has your favorite thing to write?
I’ve got to say, Spike has become one of my favorite things to write. It kind of came as a surprise to me, but he’s such a complicated character, and in some ways can be so selfish, but in other ways he’s probably one of the most unselfish characters in the series. I think in issue 6, that’s kind of what it’s all about — Spike coming to the realization that he still harbors feelings for Buffy, but then realizing in order to be the person he wants to be for Buffy, he can’t even tell her that. That’s definitely been fun to play around with, with his feelings for her. Unrequited love is always more fun than requited love.
‘Buffy Season 9′ #1 review: A world without magic, but not without problems. Or parties!
Joss Whedon on the end of the ‘Buffy Season 8′ comic, and the future of Season 9 — EXCLUSIVE
Joss Whedon: Master of cult TV