Joss Whedon was introduced by Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie for Dark Horse’s Afternoon with Joss Whedon panel. Whedon walked around the table to check out the “foxy” audience and jokingly complained the room was too small. Whedon opened by praising Dark Horse writers, artists, and editors who have kept “beloved” stories alive in Buffy, Angel, and more.
He feels like a “tornado ripped up” his house 5 years ago and “dropped it in the land of Marvel” but all that time, Dark Horse has been taking care of “the things I care most about”, he said. He feels significantly older since the last time he was in San Diego, but he now has “freedom” he says to think about what he wants to do and who he wants to be. He’s spent 25 years working without stopping, but having finished Ultron, he has time to think.
There are things on the card he can’t yet talk about, he said, but he does “want to get back to something I love very much”, he said, “which is putting my hand to a comic book”, Joss Whedon’s TWIST, which will arrive next year, answering the question: why isn’t there a Victorian Female Batman?”
Whedon quickly moved to integrating some Q & A into the event after the announcement and errupting fan applause. To see Whedon turning to such a personal comics project following his fanchise film work created a groundswell of response.
Fans were full of effusive praise for his creation of “character”, and when asked who his favorite character that he’s created is, he had to answer “Buffy” since she’s “everything I am not” and is still the “beating heart of everything I will do”, he said.
Firefly will “fascinate” him “forever” Whedon said in response to praise for the series, and just putting “those 9 people back on the ship together” would be “enough” as a story.
Asked if there will ever be a Doctor Horrible #2, he said everyone is “insanely busy” but wants to. Neil Patrick Harris asks “When are we doing it”. Whedon reminded the audience, “Well, I’m unemployed”, to laughter.
A fan asked about “honeycomb pattern” in Cabin in the Woods and in the interrogation room in Agents of SHIELD. Whedon said, “I love bees. I just want to put bees in my clothes and have bee time”. Just that he loves bees, he laughed.
A fan asked if he ever “moderates” his characters’ actions or dialogue for viewers and he said that yes, he does. Because working with networks and things makes that necessary. But every once in awhile, he has to throw in the phrase “mewling quim” and see if he can get away with it.
A fan asked if we’ll get to see a character we really love “go dark” according to something Whedon has done well in the past. The character in TWIST will be a little dark, he said, but as for which good character will turn gut-wrenchingly evil, he’s going to leave that a secret.
A fan pretty much dropped the mic by asking how we can all be more sane and peaceful and how he represents that for us in his work. Huge laughter followed, but he was determined to answer it. He told the audience that the world is terrible and then we die, but writers are designed to “transcend that”, and believing that the “here and now” can be beautiful is very important. “Memory is storytelling”, he said, and “we learn to forget, and we learn to distort, from the very beginning we learn to tell a story about ourselves. I hope all along to be a hero, but I’m more like the sidekick”. “We all come here to celebrate exactly that–storytelling–and the shared experience of what that gives us. It may give us strength, it may distract us, it can do almost anything”, Whedon explained. And that’s how we live “peaceably”, he said, in understanding everyone else’s story. It’s something “we can all survive because, unlike me, you are the hero of the story. That is my answer”. Big applause followed.
Asked what his advice is about what he should and shouldn’t do by an filmmaker who has just completed his first feature film releasing soon, he told the fan that having made the film, he’s done his job, and not sweat it much. The other thing is to preserve one’s energy and mental space to think about the “other thing and next thing” one wants to work on.