A reboot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is in the works – but not as you know it.
Deadline reports that a new TV show based on the cult classic is in development at 20th Century Fox Television.
Buffy creator Joss Whedon is signed on as an executive producer, while writer Monica Breen – who previously worked with Whedon on ABC’s Agents of SHIELD – is set to pen the adaptation and serve as showrunner.
The reboot, which is set to be pitched to cable and streaming networks, would be a “contemporary” take on the Buffy mythology – and would recast the role of Buffy with a black actress.
The producers explained “Like our world, it will be richly diverse, and like the original, some aspects of the series could be seen as metaphors for issues facing us all today.”
Talks of a reboot have been circulating for some time.
The original seven-season run of Buffy between 1997 and 2003 was one of the first major TV shows to feature a prominent same-sex romance.
Alyson Hannigan’s fan favourite witch character Willow met Tara (Amber Benson) in the fourth season of the show, in 1999. It would take another year before they were allowed to kiss on screen – after Joss Whedon threatened to quit if the network banned it.
Last year the cast of the show reunited to mark its 20th anniversary, with Hannigan and Benson reflecting on the long legacy of the plotline.
In an interview in Entertainment Weekly, Hannigan explained that she did not initially twig when she was told by show creator Joss Whedon that her character, who initially dated men, would get a girlfriend.
She said: “We were walking in the parking lot, and [Joss] just said, ‘Willow’s going to get a friend, and she’s going to be a special friend.’ I was like, ‘Okay, great!’ I didn’t really know what that meant.”
Of the years-long plot, she said: “You got to see the journey, so that, I think, was very groundbreaking, and … I’ve never had anything but just such a positive reaction.
“It’s just been such a profound thing for people who were going through the same thing or just terrified of what they were going to have to go through and just to see somebody that they had been watching for so many years to get to not feel so alone, it’s like it’s such a gift to be able to be part of that.”
She added: “There definitely hadn’t been a gay character that had been on a show from the beginning [before Buffy]. This was a character that you got to see the journey, that was very groundbreaking.
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“The fact that it was such a non-issue was so great, and that’s how it should be.”
Benson said: “It was a beautiful relationship, and it wasn’t gratuitous, it wasn’t about two girls making out, it was about two people who both happen to identify as female who fall in love.
“They were good to eachother, they treated eachother way. It was a normal relationship. You normalise it, and make it okay, because it is okay.
“We got a lot of young letters… there were a lot of young people who felt very isolated, and to see two characters on a television show be accepted by a group of peers changed the game.
“They already loved Willow but then to see that Willow became even more somebody that they could identify with it made it okay for them to be who they were.”
“It’s saying, if you find somebody to love, you’re just lucky – it doesn’t matter the gender, the sex or whatever – if you find somebody who gets you and you get them, you’re so lucky.”
Showrunner Joss Whedon added: “Tara came into the narrative because I was like, how do you follow Seth Green?
“Well, Willow’s in college, so maybe she finds a girlfriend. That was an important thing for people to see, but really I wasn’t thinking about that! As much as I wanted to make a feminist show, I really missed a lot of what was going to be important abut the show. I thought that was just what you’d do.”