Let me just get something out of the way real quickly. I’m a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I grew up with the series, and it definitely helped inform my tastes and sense of humor. So much so that I still think fondly about it and the cast that helped make it so amazing.
Which brings us to NYCC 2023. I got an opportunity to attend a panel for Slayers: A Buffyverse Story, and ask questions of the cast and crew! Who was I to say no to such an amazing opportunity? Especially with such big names, the likes of Anthony Head (Giles) included. But for the panel itself, the names that mattered were the following in attendance – Christopher Golden, the director; Amber Benson (Tara), Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia), Emma Caulfield Ford (Anya), James Charles Leary (Clem), James Marsters (Spike), Juliet Landau (Drusilla) and newcomer Laya DeLeon Hayes (Indira).
The room itself was comprised of 4 tables arranged at the corners of the room. Press such as myself picked a table, filled it up with generally 5-7 press per table, along with 2 reserved seats. Those seats were for the cast, and they played a game of musical chairs after a few minutes of talking with us and answering our pressing questions. I had a pretty great seat, and had Anya, Indira, Spike and Tara seated right next to me.
There were a lot of cool takeaways just from listening to the actors involved. Such as how they mostly recorded in the same place, to play off each other’s emotions, and how close they all seem to be. James Marsters and James Charles Leary were thick as thieves, Charisma and Emma seemed like sisters, and even Juliet and Laya seemed to share a lot of affection for each other. Another important bit was how none of this would have happened if not for Amber Benson corralling all her former friends and colleagues back together to record Slayers, and how vital Christopher Golden was keeping all the details straight to help form a cohesive narrative.
The following is a transcription of the questions I asked, as well as the answers I received.
Amber Benson: Good morning!
Press at my table: Good morning! (assorted laughter)
The Workprint: So alternate characters implies a multiverse. Might we see more than one universe of familiar characters in this series?
Christopher Golden: You mean more than the two?
TWP: Yea, more than the two.
CG: I think anything is possible. We haven’t really discussed that possibility. But right now I think that –
AB: (interjects) – We’re pro multiverse theory.
CG: Yea, we’re pro multiverse theory, although I feel like we’ve spent this whole round focused on building this reality.
TWP: Got it.
CG: And leaving us in a place where this reality has become, at least for the time period, the playground we’re playing with. That said, you never know!
AB: (to me) But I like where you’re thinking!
Charisma Carpenter (joining the table with Emma): Hi I’m Charisma, nice to meet you!
TWP: So what are some of the more exciting ways that Slayer Cordelia is different from the one we’ve come to adore?
CC: She’s so very different. She’s darker, heavier, with the weight of the world, embattled, emotionally worn and torn. And yet hopeful and strategic. And thoughtful about knowing that she needs help, which I think maybe the former version was less inclined to do or lean into. I think after doing this for so long she realizes, yeah, I’m gonna need a team. I’m gonna need help. And I think that’s a metaphor for life.
TWP: Thank you.
Juliet Landau (joining table with Laya): Hello! How you guys doing today? (assorted hellos from the table)
TWP: (to Juliet) What’s some of the more exciting parts of you being the Big Bad in Slayers?
JL: Ooo. Well, who doesn’t love being bad? (laughter) You know, to get to do things that you would never do in life and to get to behave in certain ways. Also with Drusilla there’s such a freedom and abandon with the character. I think it’s one of the things people have always responded to. She’s unabashed in her sexuality, fearless in a lot of ways. And so I think being the Big Bad you get to push that envelope even a little further. And in this alternate reality Drusilla is also more ambitious. So she has more of a strategy, but you know, sometimes it goes a little off course. Because who does anything in a straight line? It always takes a circuitous route.
TWP: Thank you.
James Marsters (joining table with James Charles Leary): You know, James, the interviews are going well when they want to take a picture with me.
James Charles Leary: I know, right?
JM: Because if it didn’t go well they’d be like, “and thank you, goodbye” (laughter).
TWP: How do you see Spike? Hero, villain, something in between?
JM: Um, hero. I think once he got his soul and realized how much damage he had been doing, and decided to try and do differently, knowing he couldn’t make up for everything, I think he was pretty well put on a path toward at least trying to be a good guy. Now whether he can actually pull that off, he’s at least trying to do that.
JCL: And when he can’t, that’s where Clem comes in! (laughter)
TWP: Thank you both!