With reboot and spinoff fever taking over television, it was only a matter of time before the idea of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff came up. In fact, talks of a Buffy spinoff having been going on pretty much since the show ended in 2003. Long before it was announced that The X-Files, Twin Peaks, and Heroes were all returning to the small screen, discussions of a Buffy spinoff based on Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) to air on BBC were taking place. Whedon and Head have long wanted to continue Giles' story by having the Watcher turn ghost hunter — and I know, that does sound like an amazing idea, right?
Recently, Head spoke with Digital Spy about the proposed spinoff, Ripper, but he seemed to think Giles would be too old now for fans to still be interested. Head has clearly underestimated Buffy fans' love for him and Giles. "The life of Buffy still goes on in the comics, and I'd have to play a 60-year-old or an 80-year-old, do you know what I mean?" Head told Digital Spy. "That's not quite fun!"
But it totally would be! Head is a brilliant actor who has worked steadily since Buffy ended in shows like Dominion and Merlin. Meanwhile, Giles is easily the best option for a spinoff (even though his character is technically dead in the Buffy comics — this wouldn't be the first time a character had come back to life!), and now that Whedon is free of his major Marvel obligations, there's no reason these two guys shouldn't be working together again. Here are seven ways a Giles spinoff could totally still work:
1. Go Full On Horror
The horror genre is booming, and since a Giles spinoff would by nature be more mature than Buffy, then there would be nothing to stop it from embracing the genre in all of its creepy, gory goodness. I don't care how old Giles is — watching him channel his own dark side as he dealt with the most dangerous spirits in England would be enthralling television. As a bonus, the ghosthunter premise would draw in even non-Buffy viewers.
2. Take It To Netflix
If the concern is viewers will not tune in to watch an older lead, then take the project to Netflix (or another streaming service) where ratings aren't nearly as important as buzz. Whedon would have more creative control that way, and there would be no wait time between episodes. Besides, if Netflix fans are happy to lap up House of Cards, a show about 50-something Kevin Spacey, then they should have no problem with the 61-year-old Head.
3. Commit To A Third Act Story
After his young, rebellious days and his time as Buffy's Watcher, it is easy to imagine Giles would be feeling adrift. Watching an established character reinvent himself is instantly relevant and interesting to fans and people who like good TV. Sticking with the proposed ghosthunter idea, Giles would finally find a path independent of the one his father put him on when he was told it was his duty to become a Watcher — in many ways, a spinoff would bring Giles full circle.
4. Play To Head's Strengths
As Giles, Head rarely got to let loose — but when he did, he brought the house down. As the oldest cast member on Buffy, Giles was the designated father figure — but by separating him from the Scoobies, a spinoff could delve into the darker, more serious side of Giles. Instead of being the guy who dispensed advice and got hit in the head a lot, Giles the Ripper, the music lover, and the adult, could flourish.
5. Bring In Buffyverse Guest Stars
While the show would need to first establish Giles and any new characters, eventually bringing in the occasional Buffyverse guest star would be a great way to lure in any holdouts. The promise of seeing Willow, Buffy, or Spike again would surely draw in even the most skeptical of fans — and it would act as a reminder that the show is connected to the wider Buffyverse.
6. Give Giles A Family
Surrounding Giles with interesting characters would be one of the most important elements to get right. Whedon writes best when he is writing for an ensemble, and giving Giles a family — either biological or found — would open up the door to much more than monster of the week storytelling. How busy is Iain De Caestecker on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., really? Because he would make the perfect son, nephew, or mentee for Giles.
7. Make It A Prequel
It's not ideal, but a young Giles' story would be fascinating to watch. The Ripper years are full of mystery, the occult, and rock and roll. While I have a hard time imagining anyone else as Giles, I have to admit watching Giles the troublemaker rebel against his father and his destiny would be fun — even if it only occurred in flashbacks that related to the present day Giles' ghostly cases.
If Whedon and Head are truly game, there are many, many ways a Giles spinoff could not only work, but be Whedon's next great series. It's never too late for more visits to the Buffyverse.
Images: 20th Century Fox; Giphy (7)