Well Buffy fans, we’re officially half way through the season and it has been full of romance, real life hardships, and one of the best seasons to date. Writer Christos Gage has received critic and fan acclaim for his writing talents on both Angel & Faith and the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 10, and the writer, who is also writing the hit Daredevil series on Netflix, took time out of his busy schedule to answer all of my burning Buffy questions, from this season’s big bad, to Fray, Cordelia, Spuffy, and what’s to come in the second half of the series.
Aedan via PW: Did you feel any pressure handling the romantic relationship between Buffy and Spike going into this season?
Christos Gage: Well I felt the same pressure I feel with getting all the characters right because they mean so much to so many people, and you don’t want to screw that up obviously. I didn’t feel any extra pressure more than anything else. I think it was Scott Allie who first proposed- ‘why don’t we think about Buffy and Spike having an actual healthy relationship that’s different from the one they had in season 6’ so we ran it by Joss at the summit and he liked the idea, so if he was OK with it then so was I. I thought it would make for some interesting stuff because Buffy is at its best when she’s tackling life stages we sort of all understand, but with a supernatural spin. So this season for me is when you first are on your own as an adult and nobody is telling you where to go or what to do, and you have to make all your own decisions and you basically have to grow up and succeed or fail on your own – and I think part of that is having more adult relationships. I think for both Buffy and Spike it’s an interesting challenge because at first its like, this is beyond infatuation, and I think it’s interesting to see them dealing with more adult emotions, and part of that is what happened in season 6. Even though he didn’t have a soul and was almost an entirely different person, and that’s another interesting thing to explore with the current Angel crossover were doing because I’ve always found it interesting that Spike with a soul is only a little different than Spike without a soul, and Angel without a soul is completely different than Angel without a soul.
PW: Speaking of Angel, will his presence in the Buffy title cause a rift between the three (Spike/Buffy/Angel?) There always seems to be some built up tension when they’re all together.
Christos Gage: I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think there will be a little tension, it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out, and it will affect them all but, one thing we didn’t want to do is just make it really cut and dry and make it to where they leave and are all mad at each other, it’s a little more nuanced than that and I think you’ll get to see that as it plays out.
PW: Something else I’ve been curious about since season 8, do you know if there are any plans to incorporate another Fray storyline? It seemed to set up so many stories for different characters.
Christos Gage: You know, I agree. Interestingly though, Fray is something that only Joss has ever written, and I don’t know if he’s declared that no one else can ever write it, but in my own mind it’s kind of like- even with the show- Joss masterminded the show but there were so many writers, Jane Espenson, Drew Goddard, Steve DeKnight all down the line so with Fray, unless or until Joss says ‘I want someone to other than me to write Fray’ I think Dark Horse is leaving it alone.
PW: With Buffy and Angel & Faith having different tones, what was it like transitioning from one to the other?
Christos Gage: Oh it’s a different vibe. Angel & Faith was always a two person lead even though Giles was an important character and there were supporting characters, but Buffy, even though it’s about Buffy, is much more of an ensemble. So there were just a few more characters to juggle which was challenging but fun also. Also tonally – Angel & Faith, when Joss came up with it, wanted London to very much be a character in the book and a certain moodiness and atmosphere that goes with that, and with the Buffy book I think it’s a little lighter in tone but can sometimes be very serious and dark, so it was fun! Obviously it’s in the same universe, but it’s different enough that I felt like – OK I’ve been doing Angel & Faith for two years and now it’s interesting to do something that’s still similar but different.
PW: Has there been a character that you’ve enjoyed writing for the most in the Buffy series?
Christos Gage: It varies; I mean one of the things I love is that they all have such distinct voices so it’s a lot of fun to go from one to the other. One of the things I always have a lot of fun with, even though they aren’t regular members, is bringing in really superficial characters like Harmony or the great aunts from Angel & Faith. Harmony is always so much fun, just because she’s so completely selfish [laughs] and she’s so selfish and just honest about it. She feels like she’s the center of the universe and its really fun to write someone like that.
PW: Its been nice to see some of these characters come back into the series like Harmony or Fred’s return which was a huge moment on Angel & Faith. One of the characters I’ve always felt had more stories to be told was Cordelia, do you think that there is any chance of a Cordelia reference or return?
Christos Gage: You know- It’s always possible! I mean, she did become a higher power of some kind, but at the same time it’s a bit like, until we feel like we have a compelling Cordelia story to tell it doesn’t seem like a good idea to bring her back, just to bring her back.
PW: Would it be safe to assume that Archaeus is the big bad of season 10?
Christos Gage: A lot of people wonder about who the big bad is this season and it’s a little bit different this time around. For me the big bad is more – I mean there are bad guys in it, and there are some that have not been revealed yet – but for me the big bad this season is really adulthood or life. So I wouldn’t expect there to be some moment like ‘OK, here is the master or someone like that’, its more about being an adult.
PW: Is there a certain arc coming up in BTVS in the second half of the season that you are particularly excited about, or feel could be a game-changer for this season?
Christos Gage: I think that the last couple arcs will be very interesting and challenging for our character because ever since the show ended all of the scoobies haven’t really been together, even in season 8 and 9 they were all scattered and they would come back together briefly but they wouldn’t stay together for a long time. Now they’re all together and one of the things that happens sometimes in adulthood is that the people you spent high school and or college with you drift apart from, so that’s one of the things I want to explore. Are these people necessarily going to stay as close as they were as they grow up and move in different directions? I think we’re going to be touching on that some more and its something everyone goes through, so I’m interested to see how people react to some of the things that come up.