James Marsters as Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)

James Marsters Shares Bizarre Story About Joss Whedon’s Reaction to Spike’s Popularity

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Dollhouse creator Joss Whedon has come under fire again recently. It started with Ray Fisher, who played Cyborg in the 2017 Justice League film, making comments about how unprofessional Whedon was on set. While Alan Tudyk came to his frequent collaborator’s defense, other stories have been leaking out about the nerd icon exhibiting some aggressive behavior, the latest being James Marsters, who played Spike on Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and its spinoff series, Angel.

Marsters was a guest on Michael Rosenbaum’s podcast, and while there, he spoke about Spike’s story arc and how he went from a pretty intimidating big bad to a major love interest for Buffy around season five. As someone who came into Buffy later, I always knew that the couple, known as Spuffy, was going to happen. Still, it … was not for me.

Yet, it was insanely popular, which, according to Marsters, annoyed Whedon, who has his own ideas of how the character should go (transcribed by ComicBookMovie.com):

“I came along and I wasn’t designed to be a romantic character, but then the audience reacted that way to it,” he started. “And I remember he backed me up against a wall one day, and he was just like, ‘I don’t care how popular you are, kid, you’re dead. You hear me? Dead. Dead!’ And I was just like, ‘Uh, you know, it’s your football, man. OK.’”

Asked if Whedon was just joking, Marsters said “No, hell no,” and added that he never received an apology because Whedon “was angry at the situation.”

The interaction Marsters describes is just a weird as hell. There is no reason to be that aggressive just because the pubic response to something is not what you expected or desired. Plus, clearly, something changed, since Spike did not die and ended up returning in season four to replace Cordelia, who was moved to Angel. Later on, Whedon would even later say that Spike was the most fully developed character in his Whedonverse because there were just a lot of layers to that character.

Whedon’s professional behavior has been called out in the past, including Charisma Carpenter saying she was punished for getting pregnant with the ruining of her character because it clashed with production. After leaving the show, she agreed to return for the 100th episode if it meant she wouldn’t die, but the character ended up dying.

Kevin Smith has stated that he heard from people working on Justice League that Whedon “would cut down, dismiss, and be negative about Zack’s version, which he had seen and all these people had made together without him.”

Just recently, a claim came out from a Buffy stunt coordinator that the creator was an egomaniac as his popularity rose: “He went from the humble writer who used to turn to me for ways to shoot fight scenes into a real egomaniac who believed his own hype. Then again, maybe he was always that way and I was simply too naive to see it as he never showed that side to me before. We’d always supported each other.”

As someone who has enjoyed a lot of Whedon’s work, I am sad to hear about his behavior because I hate the idea that having an ego is necessary to create art.

(via ComicBookMovie.com, image: 20th Television)

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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.