The Joss Whedon Panel – Killing Your Family

Raymond Brown writes for Bleeding Cool from San Diego Comic Con;

In a lighthearted panel filled with joking references, including repeated threats to kill one fan's entire family, a clearly exhausted Joss Whedon announced  late Thursday that he is planning more Firefly comics, set both before and after the movie Serenity, and that he has actively begun work on Dr. Horrible 2.

Scott Allie from Dark Horse came out and gave a brief introduction to a man who certainly needs no introduction from this crowd.  Allie said that Joss is actively working on new Firefly and Serenity comics.  According to Allie, Joss has been talking to his brother Zack and plotting new Firefly stories, which Dark Horse is more than happy to publish since they are huge sellers for the company.

Although the panel had Dark Horse in the title, the involvement of Dark Horse basically ended when Allie left the stage.  At that point, Joss came out to thunderous applause wearing a "Much Ado About Nothing" crew shirt.

On taking the stage, Joss remarked, "Well, it's been an interesting year."  Joss then pointed out that Scott Allie didn't mention one miniseries because Joss hasn't told him about it yet.  Unfortunately, Joss never elaborated about the nature of that miniseries.

Joss then announced that he just finished post production on "Much Ado About Nothing." He now intends to submit it to film festivals in the hopes of finding a distributor.  If that doesn't work out, he joked, people will have to download it off of iTunes.  Joss noted that fans of his work will be familiar with many people in the movie.  Joss described it as a "weird piece" that features "people you know rocking Shakespeare so hard."  Joss also noted that the movie marks a first for him – he wrote the score, something he's never done before.

Joss the said that now that he's finished with "Much Ado About Nothing," he finds himself in the bizarre position where there's nothing he has to do.  He then announced to much applause that as a result he immediately started talking about Dr. Horrible 2.  Joss joked that they decided against it, though.  He then said that Dr. Horrible 2 will start happening soon, possibly in the spring.

His last announcement before opening up the floor to questions was that Joss is going from Comic Con going straight to London to talk to Warren Ellis about Wastelands.

Joss then said in a hoarse voice that he is hoping people ask complicated questions and he can answer them in mime.  Joss offered as an example, "What's it like to work at Fox?"  As his answer, he mimed being trapped inside an invisible box.

When asked how he would approach a story about a zombie apocalypse, Joss said his twist would be we assume we know where they're coming from.  He would be interested in how best intentions lead to problems.  Joss indicated what would be interesting to him would be what if there was a possible cure so you couldn't just kill zombies.  Then you'd have the dilemma of having to keep the zombies alive while they're trying to eat you.  He then noted that he has already dealt with a zombie apocalypse, because there's one in virtually every one of his works.

In response to a question, Joss indicated that he would definitely consider doing TV again because he loves the medium.  He specified he currently has no TV plans currently.  Right now, Joss said, he is trying to find out what his next big commitment will be.  To date, Joss believes that  "The Body" is the best episode of TV he's ever written.

Although Joss now has clout from Avengers, he indicated he isn't really interested in going back to any unrealized projects.  Once he moves on to new project, Joss feels like that relationship has run its course.  He said he believes his next big project will be one he hasn't come up with yet.  Whatever it ends up being, it will be something he's passionate about, Joss said, because all he wants to do with his life is create emotional moments.

Joss was then asked, "Why are you not allowed to bounce the wonderflonium?"  Joss quipped, "Do you WANT a zombie apocalypse?" He then jokingly cautioned the young fan to take a science class.

Joss's advice to struggling artists is to make stuff.  He argued that movie companies now only want tent pole or paranormal activity – either they want to risk everything or risk nothing.  As a result, Joss offered, it's up to artists to do it themselves because it's harder and harder to do it for others and easier and easier to do it yourself.  "Make it happen," he suggested.

Joss noted that when he tried to pitch a Buffy animated series, he got a lot of push back that no one will watch it without an equally strong male lead.  Similarly, he said until recently no one would green light an action movie with a young female character as the lead, but then Hunger Games changed that, he said, giving accolades to its star.  Joss concluded that Hollywood is slowly changing in its attitudes towards women.  He noted, however, that every year at Comic Con he trolls the dealers room looking for a cool statue of a female hero that doesn't look like porn star and he has yet to find one.  when a fan later claimed out that there is a Wonder Woman statue that isn't too bad, Joss conceded that he has seen a Kitty Pryde one that isn't bad.

When making The Avengers, Joss's goal was to make a summer movie that was still a movie and not just a ride.

In response to a question, Joss exclaimed that of course he is dying to work on a stage musical but right now there are many different projects floating around and he hasn't yet decided on one.

Joss affirmed that he wants to do more Fray and more Sugar Shock, but right now Fray is on the back burner.

Joss expertly dodged a question about whether he will return for Avengers 2.  He said he loves those characters and it could happen, but he is a little freaked out right now about having done two projects in a row that he didn't write.

Joss explained that once he discovered that the Black Widow scene in The Avengers works, he realized the reason was that it reflects his entire career.  "Oh, look, she's helpless.  But no, now she's kicking their asses."

Discussing "Much Ado About Nothing," Joss noted that the movie is filmed is in black and white. One reason, he said, is the movie is noir.  Another reason, he noted, is that he didn't have time to do a correct color palette.

Joss was then asked to describe his economic philosophy in 30 seconds or less.  He responded that he was raised in Manhattan by people who thought socialism as a model was a beautiful concept.  Joss noted that we are now watching capitalism destroy itself.  Joss said that believes we're creating a nation of serfs.  Since beginning of Reagan era, according to Joss, Americans' ability to have a a goal and a life started to be taken away from them.  He indicated he was furious during e writers strike.  Joss thinks  we are now in a political debate that isn't democrats versus republicans or conservatives versus liberals.  Instead, it's people who are trying to make it work because they remember personal dignity and people who have gone off the reservation and believe that (adopting Deliverance accent) "Jesus Christ came to America."

When asked his favorite geek moment, Joss said his whole life is one endless geek moment.

Joss concluded the panel by noting that next season, the CW will be airing Dr. Horrible on TV for the first time ever.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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