Joss Whedon

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All worthy work is open to interpretations the author did not intend. Art isn't your pet — it's your kid. It grows up and talks back to you.

Joseph "Joss" Hill Whedon (born 23 June 1964) is an American screenwriter, film and television director, film and television producer, comic book author, composer and actor whose works have emphasized themes of feminism, anti-authoritarianism, existentialism and absurdism.

See also:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992 film)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 - 2003)
Angel (1999 - 2004)
Firefly (2002 - 2003)
Astonishing X-Men (2004 - 2008)
Serenity (2005 film)
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
The Avengers (2012 film)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)


I don't actually have anything against anybody, unless their belief precludes everybody else's. … I am an atheist and an absurdist and I have been for many years. I've actually taken a huge amount of flack for that.
I believe the only reality is how we treat each other. The morality comes from the absence of any grander scheme, not from the presence of any grander scheme.
People with real power never fear of losing it. People with control think of little else.
The greatest expression of rebellion is joy.
  • The first thing I ever thought of when I thought of Buffy, the movie, was the little...blonde girl who goes into a dark alley and gets killed, in every horror movie. The idea of Buffy was to subvert that idea, that image, and create someone who was a hero where she had always been a victim. That element of surprise … genre-busting is very much at the heart of both the movie and the series.
  • I think there's a lot of people out there who say we must not have horror in any form, we must not say scary things to children because it will make them evil and disturbed... That offends me deeply, because the world is a scary and horrifying place, and everyone's going to get old and die, if they're that lucky. To set children up to think that everything is sunshine and roses is doing them a great disservice. Children need horror because there are things they don't understand. It helps them to codify it if it is mythologized, if it's put into the context of a story, whether the story has a happy ending or not. If it scares them and shows them a little bit of the dark side of the world that is there and always will be, it's helping them out when they have to face it as adults.
    • Said to Michael Silverberg of NPR; quote featured in the Buffy Monster Book (2000)
  • I believe we are the only sentient beings in the universe, and I believe that 500 years from now, we will still be the only sentient beings around.
    •, "Whedon creates space cowboys in 'Firefly'" (22 July 2002) [1]
  • I'm working on Buffy: Deep Space Nine. It will be dark and badly received.
    • Entertainment Weekly Angel TV Preview, published in issue #727-728 (12 September 2003)
  • You can either watch TV or you can make TV.
    • Underground Online, interview by Michael Patrick Sullivan
  • Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by and they CANCELLED MY FRIKKIN' SHOW. I totally shoulda took the road that had all those people on it. Damn.
    • Bronze Beta web message board, (14 February 2004) [2]; after Whedon's discovery that The WB had cancelled Angel.
  • The network called up and said 'We piggybacked you on the deal for another show,' I'm like 'Okay, so what you're saying to my writers is that they weren't picked up when they thought they were and now that they are it was because of something that has nothing to do with them. Okay. Great. Stop calling'.
    • Underground Online, interview by Michael Patrick Sullivan
    • Note: This is in reference to the WB network announcing that Angel had been confirmed for a full fifth season of 22 episodes, when Mutant Enemy Productions had already assumed that to be so.
  • My visions of the future are always pretty much standard issue. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer... and there are flying cars.
    • TV Guide (27 December – 2 January 2004), and Foreword to Fray
  • Veronica solves little puzzles because she, like all of us, cannot unravel the bigger ones.
    • Veronica Mars: The Complete First Season Reviewed by Joss Whedon[3]
  • This show isn't about the people who made history; it's about the people history stepped on.
  • Every story needs a monster. In the stories of the old west it was the Apaches. I used that example by saying that anyone who goes out into space and goes mad can become a monster.
  • The idea of changing culture is important to me, and it can only be done in a popular medium.
  • I believe the only reality is how we treat each other. The morality comes from the absence of any grander scheme, not from the presence of any grander scheme.
    • "Joss Whedon: Atheist & Absurdist", comments made in a Q&A-session in Australia, while promoting his movie Serenity (2005)
  • Very occasionally, if you really pay attention, life doesn’t suck.
    • From the liner notes to the "cast album" for Once More, with Feeling. [4]
  • If nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do.
    • From Angel. Also mentioned in the DVD commentary for the Firefly episode, Objects in Space.
  • The thing with the comics is that you have license to go down every alley your brain can think of. Willow's been on a mystical walkabout, you can actually show that. Instead of, "Well, she can talk about it in the magic shop for seven pages, because that's the money we got." You can pursue every thread, emotionally and visually, in a way that you just can't on TV. But on TV, you're on TV. There's actors, the people who created the characters with you, that everybody loves. Oh, and also, the paychecks don't make your family laugh.
The hard part about writing comics is creating juice. Let's say I'm trying to create a love interest for Buffy. People are like, "It's Angel!" "It's Spike!" Some people are saying it's Riley, possibly. Not many. I think that's above Andrew, actually, in the poll. But to create somebody in the comic who has anything like the juice of somebody who was on the show, that's an insane challenge. It's going to be really tough. That goes for the Big Bad, as well. A villain that people care about, who they've only seen as a drawing, is, again, a challenge.
  • Although now, my favorite subgenre, thanks to Drew Goddard, is the Final Fantasy VIII interstitial videos cut up to music by Evanescence. I think that's the movie I want to make.
  • Well, they did Alien Vs. Predator, so that already happened. And once he's versed a Predator, it's hard to get people juiced to go back. Not impossible, by the way, and I even kind of liked Alien Vs. Predator. But that's already kind of been capped by others.
  • It bit me in particular with X-Men, where I was treated sort of shoddily. I was in England, very tired, and some fanzine asked a question, and I went kind of off. Well, of course, that fanzine was a web fanzine, I didn't know about this web thing. I hadn't really gleaned the fact that there wasn't such a thing as a guy with a photocopier handing out sheets of paper anymore. Everything I said got to the Fox executives before I went to bed that night. They were pissed, and they were right. That's not what you do. I kind of treat moviemaking and TV like the Army, and I kind of always have. Whoever is in charge, is in charge, and if they're going to march you up a hill and get you all killed, that's what you do. You march up that hill. You have to respect that, you have to respect that chain of command. I've done it under directors I believed in, I've done it under directors I didn't believe in. I've done it with executives and on projects.
  • Joss Whedon [5] (2007)
  • SENTINEL: Is dead Buffy actually a robot?
  • Joss: Um, no. Dead Buffy's a Buffy. But a dead one.
    • From the Orlando Sentinel, May 24, 2001
  • There is nothing more painful in the world than Aly when she makes her big eyes. She makes her big hurt eyes, there's nothing you can do. She just kills you.
    • Joss Whedon, commentary for Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode 2-14 "Innocence"
  • I think that people need two kinds of fulfillment — one in which you give and one in which you hold back. Part of fulfillment is need, is longing, is being unfulfilled, that’s the nature of tragedy and a lot of drama. Very often, what the fans want, they get. But very often, what they want, they can’t quite have, because we want them to feel the way our characters felt...


  • Hello, I'm the writer and director. Now take your clothes off and get on top of Morena.
    • Words reportly said on the set of Serenity to Phillip Sternborg on his first day of filming.
    • DVD commentary of Firefly boxset.

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