Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wishful Casting: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight

In the previous post I spoke about wanting to do a Wishful Casting for Buffy Season Eight and I did say that I wanted to do it sooner rather than later so what is ‘sooner’ than the very next day? This is a little hard because I don’t know how to gear the characters because there was such a gap between seasons seven and eight. If this were still on TV aside from it being drastically different removing things like flying and massive giants the principal cast would only be a year older. Even though there’s at least a two year gap within the time line so even if they did a ‘flash forward’ the actors wouldn’t have aged physically more than a year. But if you go by the actual passage of time Buffy will  be 30 years old on January 19th 2011, so do I cast the new characters going off of the principal cast (except for Dawn and Giles) playing 26-30 and cast the new characters accordingly, or do I go off the assumption that if this were on TV it would directly follow season seven which would mean Buffy is only 23?

Even as I type this I don’t know the answer to that question. Part of me wants to think that I’d go for the most realistic choices but at the same time this is ‘wishful’ so that means that I can pretty much pick whoever the hell I want. I am going off of one assumption here: all of the cast would be back. So there won’t be any re-casting of characters that already appeared on the TV show even though there’s possibly at least one person I would instantly recast if I was given the chance. Okay. two assumptions here, the second being that all the demons/creatures would either be CGI or make up to the point of not being able to tell who plays them so I won’t be doing those character.

Oh and just so you know this is specifically for the Buffy Motion Comic DVD so it’s just issues/episodes 1-19 I’ll probably go back and do the rest of the season just for a sense of completion but for right now it’s just those characters. Also this is in no particular order:


LEAH – STACEY FARBER

There isn’t much that is known about Leah, she’s sort of a step above ‘background’ player yet not so far in the forefront that she could be considered part of the main cast. Going off of the voice acting in the season eight motion comic it’s possible that Leah is Irish or possibly Scottish but no one said that she absolutely has to have an accent. Now I started with her because as I do this she seems to be the character that no one would really understand why I picked this actress and I wanted to just get it out of the way. Why did I choose Stacey Farber? Well I hate to say it but because of her previous work. She’s used to network TV, she had done years on Degrassi (not that I’ve watched the show or anything) and she’s got that sitcom 18 to Life which is actually pretty good. The point is she would understand the effort involved in putting out a weekly show, and due to her being on Degrassi she knows how a show with a massive cast works. As to why she would be a real contender for this role… Joss has done weird casting before. Is an ex Canadian teen ‘drama’ show star any less deserving of playing a Slayer than Lalaine (she played the Potential Slayer Chloe in season 7 of Buffy) who was a Disney sitcom star for three years?

RENEE – KATERINA GRAHAM
 
Well Renee isn’t a character who lasted long but it’s a bit hard to tell why. Did she die because she had a relationship with Xander? After all Women he hooks up with tend to die. It could also be due to the massive cast list and the need to cut down on the amount of characters so the focus can be more streamlined. I actually liked Renee and I wish that there was more that we could have seen of her. She didn’t have to die especially since Aiko, Gigi, and NotBuffy!Buffy had all died recently. I get that it needed to be done because she had been around for the first 15 issues/episodes and there needed to be a brutal death to show the true level of danger but it’s hard to follow up Aiko being crucified in the middle of Tokyo with the words ‘Welcome to Tokyo’ written in her own blood just underneath her strung up body. Katerina Graham wasn’t an actress that I originally thought of when it came to Renee, but hey she’s on The Vampire Diaries so she’s used to this very specific genre and the actress is being underused on TVD just being brought out once and a while to moan about how evil vampires are. At least this would give her things to do other than playing filler.

SATSU – JULIA LEE

At the close of season seven we saw Willow activate all the Potential Slayers by using the Scythe and in a brief shot there is an Asian girl who receives her powers and then the scene shifts to another girl being activated. There’s no hard rule saying that that NuSlayer isn’t Satsu – and knowing Joss’s habit of bringing back bit players and elevating their status within the mythology it stands to reason that the girl would have ended up becoming Satsu. Given that the actress who played her on the TV show was Chuck’s Julia Lee. This would be good an homage to history, reinventing a new character, keeping the players within Whedonverse and giving Julia something to do other than pop up ever 15 episodes or so on Chuck. Plus I said that I wouldn’t recast anyone so I’m sticking to that – this is more a merging of two characters to thin the cast out a bit. Plus the only other highly visible Slayer of Asian descent is Aiko so theoretically the character Julia played in Chosen could be either Satsu or Aiko.

AIKO – JAMIE CHUNG
 
Speaking of Aiko I might as well get her out of the way. She wasn’t around long but she was a plot point for a major storyline. Aiko was portrayed as a strong fighter – one that even impressed Buffy enough that she was sort of the defacto leader of the Tokyo Slayer branch – at the very least she was high ranking enough to justify Buffy sending Satsu to run the Tokyo branch after Aiko’s death. Aiko was a Slayer who had been deactivated thanks to a spell done by a group of vampires who had obtained the secrets to Dracula’s powers and managed to steal Buffy’s Scythe so they can use a spell to deactivate all of the Slayers which would allow the vampires to take over the world. Why Jamie Chung you ask? Well between her roles in Dragonball: Evolution and the upcoming Sucker Punch and the TV Miniseries: Samurai Girl we know the girl can fake fight.

ROWENA – JESSY SCHRAM

Rowena is the final Slayer that rounds out Buffy’s main team. She appears to be third in command (so the pecking order goes Buffy, Satsu, Rowena, Leah) because when Buffy and Satsu are both indisposed Rowena takes charge instead of Leah. Nothing much is known about this German Slayer other than she apparently likes hats because she’s rarely seen without one and she does look quite a bit like Buffy Summers. Maybe she’s the third Slayer decoy – not the NotBuffy!Buffy who died underground saving the Fairy and Slug folk, or the girl in Italy that parties it up with The Immortal but the other, other NotBuffy!Buffy. Why Jessy? It’s simple - I kind of fell in love with her from her episodes of Medium where she played a younger version of Allison.

LADY GENEVIEVE ‘GIGI’ SAVIDGE – KATIE McGRATH

Gigi was the type of person I imagine Faith would have turned out to be if Gwendolyn Post had lived in Revelations. Like Faith Gigi wasn’t on the straight and narrow and her personality type made it easier for Roden to seduce her into his way of thinking reducing her to nothing more than a third string pawn in Twilight’s endgame. The character’s existence alone is a huge plot point for Faith. Giles contacts Faith to take down Gigi because she will destroy the world. In Gigi we get old themes with Faith’s struggle for morality – what is right versus what’s wrong; betrayal of trust and a road all too familiar. Sure Gigi was only around for one episode (four issues) but everything around her proves a major turning point in Faith where she now wants to try to save other girls from becoming the types of people that Gigi was and the actions that have led to Faith’s hands forever being stained with the blood of innocents. Gigi was the type of girl who screamed HBIC and you need an actress who can pull it off there are actresses that can do that but when you factor in that she must be British, carry herself like royalty in addition to being a Slayer and a bad girl. It was easy for me to pick Katie McGrath for this, I mean it’s not that big of a stretch for her since she’s busy playing Lady Morgana in the BBC series Merlin – it’s pretty much the same role only with more fighting and electricity. Plus she’s worked with Anthony Stewart Head before so it would be a nice little wink and a nudge to that.

KUMIKO ISHIHARA – BINGBING LI

Kumiko Ishihira is a creature of many hats (including the very literal one she wears) – she’s a witch, she’s a vampire, she’s kind of punk/goth, she can fly, she’s not your typical vampire either since she is a part of Toru’s gang that had the heightened powers that they obtained through a card game with Dracula. On top of that she was able to hold her own in a sneak attack on Buffy’s base in Scotland, got the jump on Willow more than once and was able to tap into the mystical power of Buffy’s Scythe in order to channel a spell through that and a gem that would cause all the Slayers to lose their abilities. The best she got though was depowering Aiko. I liked her character an awful lot and I really wish that they didn’t kill her off like they did. It’s one thing to have a very plot specific death ala Tara, Buffy, Joyce, Gigi, Warren (well kind of) but Kumiko’s death kind of strikes me as very similar to Anya’s death in Chosen – killing her off was just something to do. They could have kept her around especially since like Willow she is a student of the part snake woman Saga Vasuki. I would love to have seen if she was connected to the Scythe… could she tap into its power because if she wasn’t vamped she would have been a Slayer? Is she an old Slayer who was turned by the vampire she fought? Is Saga Vasuki tied to the Scythe – is she hedging her bets by placing an apprentice on both sides of the battle to ensure that she’ll live no matter what the outcome? Why Bingbing Li – well… why not?

ROBIN/THE MINDER – MIRACLE LAURIE

From the second I read this issue I instantly knew that Joss would cast Miracle Laurie as this tragic hero who is forced to watch over Sephrillian’s reality field that keeps one of the oldest of the Old Ones contained and unable to move back into Earth. As a byproduct of this ever shifting dimension Robin’s life is not experienced in linear fashion and this is shown when she and Willow meet for the first time yet they know each other. This non-linear fashion also allows the Minder (Robin being the current one) the ability to have control over Sephrillian’s reality field; it seems like she also has a level of telepathy and telekinesis and gives her the ability to have knowledge of things that are ‘future’ events for everyone else. Casting Miracle continues the trend of Joss reusing actors from his previous shows.

MELAKA “MEL” FRAY – SUMMER GLAU

I’ll admit I wasn’t entirely sure which way to go with casting Melaka. She’s an extremely important character within the mythology of BtVS since she is the first Slayer to have been naturally activated since Buffy and Willow triggered all the Slayers with the Scythe so not only does this imply that Joss has big plans for Mel in general but also that something huge is going to happen in the future to cause there to be a need for another Slayer. Now the Scythe actually first appeared in the Fray mini-series and then worked it’s way into the TV show and then Joss retroactively added Melaka into the mythology by having Buffy travel to the future and visit her (unwillingly mind you) in season eight. There really wasn’t anyone that stuck out in my mind when it came to who could play her so I picked Summer Glau – it’s obvious that she can do this type of role so there’s no need in explaining why, but it would be nice since Summer appeared in Firefly, Serenity, Angel, and Dollhouse I say just make a sweep of it and put her in Buffy too.

HARTH FRAY – THOMAS DEKKER

Harth is Melaka’s twin brother and because of that it spilt the Slayer abilities – Melaka got all of the access to the strength and physical abilities and Harth ended up with access to all the psychic based powers (dreams and all that jazz) – which results in Harth being a ‘half’ Slayer for lack of a better term. And to make it even a bigger deal going with that theory he’s sort of actually the first male Slayer in the line. That alone makes for a very interesting premise and it gets even more interesting after Harth is turned into a Lurk (the future word for vampire.) I picked Thomas Dekker specifically because I had chosen Summer Glau for Melaka. The pair played brother and ‘sister’ on Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles for two seasons and the two of them had this weird creepy chemistry vibe going on that I think would make Mel and Harth that much more interesting if they carried it over in to the Buffyverse.

ERIN FRAY – YVONNE STRAHOVSKI

Erin is Melaka and Harth’s older sister and a cop. I honestly don’t know much about the character since I haven’t read Fray yet – yeah, yeah, yeah I’m a bad fan I know – but I do know that she and Mel don’t really get along and that Erin takes her job as ‘Law’ very seriously. I picked Chuck’s Yvonne strictly based off of the fact that she looks an awful lot like Erin and for me that was enough.

SAGA VASUKI/ALUWYN – MELISSA GEORGE

Saga Vasuki (who also goes by the name Aluwyn) is a part snake woman who exists in a different dimension that apparently can only be accessed through extreme pleasure. She is a sorceress who at one point served as a teacher to Kumiko Ishihara taking her on as an apprentice and eventually taking Willow on as a student as well. She is a creature of secrets which is obvious because of the two names she goes by as well as the fact that at first Kumiko and Willow seem shocked by the fact that they were both taught by Saga Vasuki. It’s also possible given the similarities in her appearance that she shares some sort of connection to the demon witch Proserpexa whom Willow tried to raise from the dead when she turned dark. There’s more validity to that thought when you consider that she is very specific in not wanting Willow to see the future in which she is once again evil. Maybe she’s afraid that Willow would make the connection… When I was thinking of who to put in this role I wanted a Rose McGowan type of person who exudes sexuality with every breath she takes. I ended up picking Melissa George because she looks like a cross between Rose McGowan and Christina Ricci – sexy yet creepy at the same time and I think that’s something that Saga Vasuki likes to take advantage of.

SIMONE DOFFLER – HAYLEY WILLIAMS

Simone is one of the Slayers that were called after Willow’s spell in Chosen. She started out in Chicago under Rona’s squad and was sort of tutored by Giles. It’s not really an important fact, I don’t think but Simone was a part of the same training Slayer Squad that featured NotBuffy!Buffy. After Simone’s time in Rona’s squad she eventually moved on to Andrew’s squad in Rome in an attempt to soften her ‘rough edges’ by moving her away from the city. The man thing with Simone is her distaste for the traditional Slayer weapons opting more often than not to go with guns or military grade weaponry. Simone ended up pulling two other Slayers into her way of thinking and abandoned Andrew’s squad and went rogue and basically became nothing more than a punk gang with super powers. I chose Hayley because she’s honestly the only one I could think of when it came to Simone – there’s no hard and fast rule saying that she absolutely has to have a neon pink mohawk. Plus Hayley doesn’t look ‘rough’ – if that makes any sense – so even though she doesn’t have a ‘classical look’ it would be shocking to see someone of her stature be this tough bad ass kind of character.

GENERAL VOLL – TIM DeKAY
LIEUTENANT MOULTER – REBECCA HAZLEWOOD

In addition to being members of the military General Voll and Lieutenant Moulter are members of Twilight’s organization and bear his mark. Moulter hasn’t really done much, she only shows up briefly to report that the warlock Roden and ‘his’ Slayer Gigi have both been killed – but I get the sense that she could end up becoming more than a brief appearance type of character so that’s why I included her in this –not all of the characters have been cast, I mean do you really need to know who I’d pick to play the Slayer that NotBuffy!Buffy ended up getting bitten in the neck in the process of saving her? General Voll had a bit more to do – he was responsible for the excavation of Sunnydale and his team were the ones that discovered Amy who had been buried alive along with her boyfriend Warren (whom she’s been keeping ‘alive’ by using her magic to act as his skin), he captured Ethan because he was high enough in Twilight’s inner circle to know that magic can stop the endgame and he later murdered Ethan in an execution style killing. There are characters that appear in A Beautiful Sunset that could be Voll and Moulter so I figured they aren’t exactly one and done type of characters. I chose Rebecca because of how much the drawings of Moulter look like her and as much as I love her on Outsourced it would be nice to see her take on a non comedic role. Tim DeKay struck me as perfect for Voll yet there’s no real reason why. Maybe because of his role on White Collar being a little bit similar to Voll- like I said I had no real reason as to why I chose him, but he just feels like he’d fit the role.

RODEN – SEAMUS DEVER

Roden is a powerful warlock who was a member of Twilight’s group. Apparently Twilight promised him safety after the end of all magicks if he agreed to work for him and gave him detailed instructions on how to destroy Buffy. Roden met Gigi and soon began manipulating her and slowly turning her into a killer – his original plan was to use GIgi to kill Buffy but when Faith accidentally killed Gigi in battle he quickly shifted focus and decided to use Faith instead. Of course this didn’t last long before Giles used one of Roden’s own spells to make his head explode. It turns out that Roden was very powerful because he was strong enough to break any mystical containment that someone tried to place on him – which is why Giles had to place one within Roden’s body. I don’t know if Seamus could do an Irish accent but I do see similarities between Roden and Seamus. I like his work on Castle, and he isn’t such a huge character that he couldn’t step away from the show long enough to do a guest spot, plus it would be nice to see him play evil.
 
RAIDON – JOHN CHO
TORU – WILL YUN LEE

Toru was the leader of the Japanese gang of vampires that used Dracula’s powers and stole Buffy’s Scythe. Unlike Kumiko (also a member of his gang) Toru uses his strength – and oh boy he’s a strong one too… he killed two slayers – Aiko and Renee. After the vampires revert to just ‘regular’ vampires Dracula uses his sword to cut off both of Toru’s hands and legs as punishment for stealing his abilities and killing Renee. Ultimately Xander finishes Toru off by decapitating him. Raidon was the other main member of Toru’s gang – he didn’t really do much or have a large role and once depowered he was quickly killed by Satsu. I chose Will Yun Lee for Toru because I had been a fan of his going all the way back to his run on Witchblade and I’ve always liked it when he plays really evil characters (he should do it more often.) John Cho ended up being my pick for Raidon because it seems he has made a career out of playing roles that make me unable to stand him. The only thing I ever liked him in was his episode in the first season of Charmed – so I figured I’ll give him one more chance, and if he still pisses me off Raidon gets killed off so no big loss.

1 comment:

  1. Hey I don't know if it matters so much, but I think when they drew Roden, they had me in mind... :) I did end up being his voice anyway... Just sayin'. Btw, Hi there, Love your blog, I'm Jeff Jack -- voice of Roden!

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