| The subject of this article is non-canonical.|
While created as part of licensed material, the proposed Buffy animated series was ultimately unproduced, and as such has not been confirmed as part of the "real" Buffyverse.
Buffy the Animated Series (stylized Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Animated Series in the promo) was an undeveloped animated TV show based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Initially greenlit by 20th Century Fox in 2002, it went ultimately unproduced and unaired when no network was willing to buy the series.
Development began on the show in 2001. Whedon and Jeph Loeb were to be Executive Producers for the show, and most of the cast from Buffy would return to voice their characters. However the series soon ran into problems. 20th Century Fox were going to produce the show, and it was initially planned that the show would air on Fox Kids, possibly as early as February 2002 . However, Fox decided they would not air the show and instead shop it to other networks. When no network was willing to purchase the series, production halted.
Two years later, in 2004, Fox once again showed an interest in developing and selling the show to another network. Various key actors/actresses, including Anthony Stewart Head, did voice work, and artwork was produced to make a four-minute presentation. That pilot was used to try to sell the series to a network. However, once again no network was willing to take the risk of purchasing the show. Loeb has pointed out that networks find the show difficult since it would be too adult to air with children's television, but not suitable to many people in a prime-time slot.
- Whedon revealed to Hollywood Reporter: "We just couldn't find a home for [it]. We had a great animation director, great visuals, six or seven hilarious scripts from our own staff—and nobody wanted it. I was completely baffled. I felt like I was sitting there with bags of money and nobody would take them from me. It was a question of people either not wanting it or not being able to put up the money because it was not a cheap show. One thing I was very hard-line about was I didn't want people to see it if it looked like crap. I wanted it to be on a level with "Animaniacs" or "Batman the Animated Series." And that's a little pricier. But I just don't think it's worth doing unless it's beautiful to look at as well as fun." 
In an interview with TV Guide in September 2005, Whedon announced that the series was effectively dead.
Writing and acting
- Jeph Loeb said that the series would have begun with the episode "A Day in the Life", for which the script was completed by Loeb with Whedon, which "introduces the characters, sets up their dynamics and the show's premise".
- Loeb mentioned that one of the episode revolved around "Buffy getting her driver's license but dealing with a demon driver's ed teacher."
- Jane Espenson wrote three scripts for the show: One of which was called "The Back Room"; one was called "Lunch is Revolting!", about living cafeteria food; and another called "Teeny", about a shrunken Buffy.
- Espenson revealed that "Steve DeKnight and Drew Greenberg wrote episodes, if I recall. And I believe Doug Petrie did too. I think there was a story set aside for Rebecca Kirshner that she never got to start." Joss Whedon and Jeph Loeb wrote the pilot. She said there had been eight scripts written in all, although two were incomplete .
- "A Day in the Life" (by Jeph Loeb and Joss Whedon)
- "Teeny" (by Jane Espenson)
- "Lunch is Revolting!" (by Jane Espenson)
- "The Back Room" (by Jane Espenson)
- Completed episode script (by Steve DeKnight)
- Completed episode script (by Drew Greenberg)
- Completed episode script (by Doug Petrie)
- Unstarted episode script (story set aside for Rebecca Kirshner)
- Giselle Loren as Buffy Summers
- Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
- Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
- Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
- Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Dawn Summers
- Kristine Sutherland as Joyce Summers
- Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
- David Boreanaz as Angel
- The four minute unaired pilot was leaked on August 1, 2008 via Youtube.
- Issue 20 of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight comic book series, titled "After These Messages ... We'll Be Right Back!", is based on the unproduced animated series. It was written by planned executive producer Jeph Loeb and illustrated by artist Eric Wight, who was the key artist behind the show's visual design.
- One of the episodes would have had a mechanical shark.
Jane Espenson has revealed only two short extracts from the scripts on her weblog:
- Quote 1
- Buffy realizes she's eaten her Mother's breakfast by mistake. She holds up the last bite of bagel and, instead of saying "there's a bite left," she says:
- There's a remnant.
- Quote 2
- Buffy has just inappropriately used her Slayer-Strength on the volleyball court, so she vows to restrain herself:
- Sure. Okay. I can hold back. Call me Dairy Queen, 'cuz here comes a soft serve.
- Sorry, that was kinda lame.
- Quote 3 (from the script, "Teeny")
- Buffy has been shrunk down to about 6 inches tall. She's trying to climb a staircase, and reacting to what she sees.
- Boy. Everything's so tall. And... textured.
- The potential canonical status of the series is unknown, although After These Messages ... We'll Be Right Back! may be an attempt to incorporate it into the Buffyverse, albeit in a dream sequence. It can be seen that changes were to be made to what had been established. For example, the Sunnydale High School library was radically changed in initial artwork (see image on right)
- The series would have taken place late in Buffy Season 1. Loeb described the continuity as "Episode 7.5" It was also confirmed that the series would be set in the altered continuity that the characters remembered due to the introduction of Dawn Summers into their lives, meaning Dawn would have a role in the story.
Footnotes and references
- ↑ Eonline.com - News on the show from March 2001
- ↑ Slayonline.co.uk - Anthony Stewart Head Talks About Ripper and Buffy Animated
- ↑ Hollywoodreporter.com - Whedon comments on the series.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Cairns, Bryan, "An Animated Guy", from Cult Times Special #27 (September 2003), page 44.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Twitter.com - 2014-12-16 Jane Espenson tweet
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Mikejozic.com
- ↑ Scifi.com - Sarah Michelle Gellar talks about the series, October 2004
- ↑ Rapidshare.de - Download of Google cache text (zip file)
- ↑ "Jeph Loeb Spills News, Not Blood, About Buffy The Animated Series... ", FanBoyPlanet.com (2004). Jeph Loeb said regarding continuity, "For the fans, we've always seen it as Episode 7.5. Buffy has met Angel."
- Aintitcoolnews.com - Brief news on the show, March 2004
- Ericwight.com - Art work related to the halted project, 2004
- Moviehole.net - David Fury revealed that the show might have gone to DVD, October 2004
- Scifi.com - Sarah Michelle Gellar talks about the series, October 2004
- Whedonesque.com - Whedonesquers discuss Gellar's interview with "scifi.com", October 2004
- Bbc.co.uk - Interview with Espenson, 2002
- Smgfan.com - Interview with Eric Wight, March 2003.
- Fanboyplanet.com - Interview with Jeph Loeb, 2004.
- Bbc.co.uk - Interview with Jeph Loeb, June 2004
- Mikejozic.com - Interview with Espenson and Eric Wight, 2004
Quotes and trivia
- Janeespenson.com - Espenson's web log contains some extracts from Buffy Animated scripts and also here