Buffy the Vampire Slayer is 20 today. Yep, you heard us right. You're super-old, because Buffy Summers arrived at Sunnydale High some two decades ago, with the first ever episode airing on March 10, 1997.
Besides the Slayer herself, one of the most iconic characters in the Buffyverse was Spike – a Billy Idol-inspired vampire so damn cool, he was essentially a Fonzie for Noughties kids.
To mark Buffy's b-day, Digital Spy spoke to Spike actor James Marsters about the show's legacy, scrapped plans for a Spike spin-off, whether Buffy and Spike ended up together and asked him if BtVS itself should come back or be left to rest in peace.
Would you be interested in any sort of Buffy reunion?
"If Joss Whedon is helming it, in a heartbeat. If he's not involved, no way in hell. It was always all about Joss."
They did try to remake the show several years ago, but the backlash was too big, wasn't it?
"Of course, because they didn't have Joss Whedon. But if it's a dream that Joss dreamt, that's going to be a great ride."
If Buffy did return as a remake/reboot, who would you like to see play the new Spike?
"I would hope that they would find an unknown actor like when they found me. So we don't know his name yet. There is a young hungry actor out there who could do it, guaranteed."
Were there any storylines you wanted to pitch to the Buffy writing team at the time?
"No way in hell. That show went in more directions than I ever could have imagined. Usually when you're doing a television show, once you do one episode, you pretty much know what the ride is gonna be for all the others. Television can be a little repetitive like that.
"With Buffy you never knew what you were going to be asked to do. And there were so many changes. It got to be terrifying actually how many different areas I was going to be asked to explore.
But you still enjoy writing Buffy comic books, right?
"I do love writing [Marsters has written various comic series and graphic novels featuring Spike]. That's why writers like me: I respect writing because I do it myself.
"The first comic book I wrote was after I had just done one season and my character was finished and there was no plan to have Spike come back on the show. I had this question in mind.
At the end of season two, I get my girlfriend back by knocking Drusilla over the head and kidnapping her. And how was that gonna work out? What happens when she wakes up? She loves Angel, she doesn't love Spike.
"So I decided to write a story where they actually get back together as a couple in the most dramatic way possible. I wanted these characters to fight a war and then after that to reunite as a true romantic couple. I wanted to make it a twisted romance.
"The second comic book I wrote originally looked like it might be a Spike-centred television movie. Joss had called me up and asked if I wanted to do a TV movie. And I said, 'of course!' and asked what the story was.
He said he had no idea, he just had one quote – from Lord of the Rings' Aragorn: "I have no hope for myself." And I went "Joss, that's not funny, that's just depressing, jeez!"
"I told him that it would be interesting to show Spike after he gets the soul and tries to figure out what to do with it. How do you tell the story of Spike with a soul without retreading the story of Angel?
"So for my comic book, I thought that we had to go exactly the opposite way and if Angel is an epic character, who's always in a mansion sitting in front of a roaring fire sipping aged wine, thinking about his soul, Spike should be homeless and starving to death.
"He can't rob anybody for new clothes and he can't kill anybody for food. And he's not going to be getting a job. He should be having a hard time fitting into the world with a soul. So I thought he should try to be a hero, but get his butt kicked. He should try to be a lover, but get dumped by a girl.
But he should figure out a way to get a new pair of shoes without hurting anybody. And that will be his first small step towards being a decent person in the world. And Joss liked that. Mostly because it would be cheap to film!
"The movie didn't happen for reasons that were on levels above both Joss and I. But the story kept spinning around in my head. And when Dark Horse told me they were interested in me writing for their comic books, I remembered it.
Hunting for shoes aside, what do you think Spike would be doing in 2017?
"In 2017, Spike would be making sweet love to Buffy Summers! I think eventually, with enough time, Spike – since he has a soul – would mature into a vampire who would be right for her.
I don't think that he was the right pick for her while we were doing the series. But I think give it enough time to grow up and he would make a very good partner for her."
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