This bit starts out as one of those, “What If,” alternate reality conjectures. What if Joss Whedon stepped on “that butterfly?” And then I drift off into another direction, touching on his Thank You Letter to his fans, and then a bit more from me, my own thanks. For what it’s worth.
I watched a show, based on a chaos theory, where people were traveling back in time. One of them accidentally stepped on a butterfly. When they returned to their own time, everything was different.
One of the most infamous stories in the Whedonverse is how Fox treated Joss Whedon’s TV series, Firefly. Just in case you don’t know the tale of whoa:
After Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series came to a close, Joss Whedon had put together a space western called Firefly. It spawned from an idea he got while reading ‘The Killer Angels.’
It had potential and looking back, it was an incredible TV series waiting to find an audience. But Fox, for whatever reason, reordered how the episodes aired and had other “creative” inputs. The first episode aired 11th, the 4th aired 6th, the 6th aired 3rd… etc. It was very hard to follow and I fell victim to losing interest. My bad. There were other issues to boot, but for me, that was the primary angst.
So imagine this…
What if Fox didn’t mess with Joss’s vision of Firefly?
What if Fox backed him and the show became a huge hit and went on for several seasons?
What if Joss’s TV career had taken a totally different route and he developed a different career route?
Would we be reveling in the wonderful story that came out of The Avengers, or would it have been something different, flatter, more rote than it turned out with Joss at the helm?
Joss then found himself taking a new, different and daring route, creating Dr. Horrible. Possibly and unintentionally showing the big TV studios that their processes and systems aren’t always the best approach as Dr. Horrible became a small project with HUGE impact on the entertainment system. Joss didn’t need big sponsors or advertisers approval for anything. He just let loose and had fun.
And I think that was huge in the scheme of things because EVERYONE took notice of how fans reacted.
With how wonderful The Avengers turned out, I seriously have to wonder what his spec Wonder Woman script might have looked like on screen had it been approved. To see Wonder Woman trying to understand humanity and then exploring it through her relationship with Steve Trevor would have been very classic Whedon.
But again, that’s OK.
Joss should thank Fox for setting him on his course that led to today. A day when his movie has broken 17 different box office records already and the 2nd weekend hasn’t even happened yet where, what, how many of us are going back for a second viewing.
In a thank you letter to the world, more pointedly to his long-time fans who have stuck by him through it all, he gives thanks and also puts out a bit of an update or intent on a few projects of his!
In his note, here are some excerpts from what he said
People have told me that this matters, that my life is about to change. I am sure that is true. And change is good — change is exciting. I think — not to jinx it — that I may finally be recognized at Comiccon. Imagine!
And I can get a studio to finance my dream project, the reboot of “Air Bud” that we all feel is so long overdue. (He could play Jai Alai! Think of the emotional ramifications of JAI ALAI!!!!)
What doesn’t change is anything that matters. What doesn’t change is that I’ve had the smartest, most loyal, most passionate, most articulate group of — I’m not even gonna say fans. I’m going with “peeps” — that any cult oddity such as my bad self could have dreamt of. When almost no one was watching, when people probably should have STOPPED watching, I’ve had three constants: my family and friends, my collaborators (often the same), and y’all. A lot of stories have come out about my “dark years”, and how I’m “unrecognized”…
Because of y’all. Because you knew me when. If you think topping a box office record compares with someone telling you your work helped them through a rough time, you’re probably new here. (For the record, and despite my inhuman distance from the joy-joy of it: topping a box office record is super-dope. I’m an alien, not a robot.) So this is me, saying thank you. All of you. You’ve taken as much guff for loving my work as I have for over-writing it, and you deserve, in this our time of streaming into the main, to crow. To glow. To crow and go “I told you so”, to those Joe Blows not in the know. (LAST time I hire Dr. Seuss to punch my posts up. Yeesh!)
The update, of sorts
RDA: What does this mean for your upcoming slate of tiny independent films/Internet shenanigans? Will they fall by the wayside?
JW: There may be new ideas realized — I always leave myself open to that — but my commitment to Wastelanders and Dr H.2 does not waver. Those stories bubble on my stove.
“The Avengers” is notably IMperfect, which makes its success mean so much more to me — because it’s striking a chord that matters MORE than its obvious flaws. Like the team, it appears to be more than the sun of its parts. Boo-yah!
And therein lies his appreciation to all of us, who have always been there, watching, waiting, cheering when we can! How often do fans get notes or letters from their idols?
And from us… the Peeps, this Peep, thank you Joss Whedon for continuing on and not taking dark despair when Fox skewered Firefly and when WB didn’t accept your Wonder Woman script and for not taking some other career route, like being a plumber! You probably would have been a funny plumber, but we would have missed out.