At Comic-Con 2018, Joss Whedon debuted news of a new Dark Horse one-shot comic called Dr. Horrible: Best Friends Forever. Written by Whedon, the comic will feature art by José Maria Beroy (Versus) and Sara Soler (Red & Blue) with colors by Dan Jackson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), cover art by Fábio Moon (Two Brothers) and a variant cover by Francesco Francavilla (The Black Beetle). Contrary to what you’d expect, the best buds referenced in the title are supposed bitter enemies Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer.
IGN talked to Whedon about the new project, asking how these two could ever be described as “best friends.”
“I can’t say. Because it opens, and they’re already best friends. And then we have to figure out if something is different than perhaps we remembered it. But, the important thing is that, as best friends, they are just as ridiculous as they are when they’re enemies. They make an idiotic team,” Whedon said.
The story will flesh out a previously mentioned-in-passing villain called Hourglass, who has the power to predict the future and comes to the new duo for help. And as the cover teases, being deceased will not stop Penny from having a role to play in the story.
“It’s a dream sequence,” Whedon confirmed. “I basically pitched the cover before I wrote the comic. And they were like, we need a cover image right now! I’m like, okay! Do this! I’m sure I can make something out of that. And it fit together weirdly well. And at some point, Billy gets knocked out, and then he has a scene with Penny. I mean, I’m a brutal person, but I can’t imagine not having Felicia around. Even if it’s just a drawing.”
The comic comes just as the fan-favorite musical celebrates its 10th anniversary. Whedon reflected on how the biggest surprise of the whole thing was that it was as successful as it was and how it remains ever-present.
“We thought we were onto something fun. And I guess what surprised me, and what was interesting to learn in the panel, is that it’s not something that people loved 10 years ago. That’s not how things work, really, now. It’s something that they love now in their lives. People have kept it alive in their present, by either showing it to their kids, or showing it to their friends, or just, you know, revisiting it. I expected them to go, oh, I remember that! That’s not the attitude that they have. It’s like they’re still in it. Which is lovely,” he said.
We asked about the potential of a Dr. Horrible sequel still happening, a question that he’s fielded more times than can be counted, but he nevertheless humored us.
“What I wanna do is tell you when it’s happening. But, you know, everybody has jobs. Everybody’s really busy. And there’s never a time we’re not talking about it. But we’ve been dancing around for so long that I feel like I shouldn’t say anything until we can actually say something. But, boy do we want to. There’s nobody who’s not on board.”
Conversation switched to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which is wrapping up the story that started in Buffy Season 8 in the pages of Buffy Season 12.
“We have to go back to where we started in season eight, and make sure that we made something that is one holistic being,” Whedon said. “This doesn’t exactly mirror that, but is an answer to the question we asked, at least about that period of their lives. But then [Dark Horse was] like, that’s great! You have four issues to do that in. Luckily Chris Gage and I sat down and plotted out, and he’s been doing the scripts, and he’s been a phenomenal writer this whole time for the book. He’s just crushed it. Which tonally and structurally, it’s not an easy thing to do.”
Buffy is also celebrating a landmark anniversary, its 20th to be exact, and Whedon had a lot to say about the legacy the show left behind.
“The thing that I take away the most is the ending, is getting to make the statement that I have always wanted to make, because I write about these bigger than life characters. And that’s just how I roll, I can’t help it. But I struggle with it, because I feel like there is a fascistic underpin to the superhero story of, I am a superior man, and only I can fix it. And I struggle with that. And with Buffy, took the idea of the Chosen One and said, every women in the world deserves to be that. And can share in that power. Honestly, there is no other way that I would have wanted to have ended that, there is no other statement I wanted to go out on. And that’s the thing that I feel like, because it’s the last thing that you take away with it, is that every woman watching it can go, I got a piece of that. Like, that’s in me.”
As for Buffy’s future, news broke that the show will be returning with a new slayer.