Sorry, “Angel” Fans: Joss Whedon Says Series Finale Wasn’t a Cliffhanger

This year’s been a pretty good one for fans of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe. First, there’s a reboot with Buffyverse mastermind Joss Whedon involved already getting the fanbase buzzing. BOOM! Studios‘ new take on the beloved “big bad” basher and her spinoff series vampire partner (sorry, we’re pro-Spike) continue sparking the imaginations of new fans just now discovering the series. With this fall marking the 20th anniversary since Angel last graced our airwaves with a righteously depressing series finale cliffhanger, it looks like it might be time to get “The Band” back together.


So what’s next? Over the past few days, we’ve gotten word that Charisma Carpenter, Alexis Denisof, James Marsters, Amy Acker, and J. August Richards will reunite for a panel at this year’s New York Comic Con (NYCC – with still no David Boreanazyet). Now, Entertainment Weekly has gathered Whedon, series co-creator David Greenwalt, and Angel Investigations together discuss all things Angel – which of course means the topic of that series finale would have to come up.

Airing in May 2014, “Not Fade Away” found our remaining heroes (it was a bloodbath) Angel (Boreanaz), Spike (Marsters), a possibly-fatally-wounded Gunn (Richards), and Illyria (Acker) facing off against a tidal wave of demonic creatures on the streets of Los Angeles – led overhead by a flying dragon. Angel’s last words as they ready for what might just be there final battle: “Let’s go to work.”


Now, there are quite a few Buffyverse fans out there who didn’t exactly find that ending satisfying – that on the “Cliffhanger Scale,” this was clocking in at a Spinal Tap-loving “11.” So when fans clamor for an Angel return, it’s not just because they love the show (and the cast looks like they could start shooting tomorrow) but also because it feels like the last few pages of a really fun novel were torn out.

20th Century Fox TV/Disney

Except Whedon doesn’t really see it that way, feeling that the series’ wrap-up was true to the message the series was trying to convey to the viewers over five seasons: the fight always goes on.

“That ain’t a cliff. I understand why people would want closure, but for me, that would be like adding a cliff note to the end. What I always wanted to say is, trying to become worthy of the life that you have is a life’s work. The fight is for always.”

It’s that very lack of a definitive ending that speaks to the heart of what Team Angel represented – to themselves and each other:

“I always hope that people feel the difficulty and possibility of redemption within the show. The price will always be high, but if – as Angel says – we’re willing to ‘do the work’, it will always be worth it.”

About Ray Flook

Proudly serving as TV Editor, Ray started with Bleeding Cool in 2013 as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought aboard as staff in 2017. Counting John Cusack as his pop culture "spirit animal," his "word fu" stays strong as he continues trying really hard to be the sheppard...

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