Settling a Few Questions of Mythology

Before I can really dive into the character questionnaires, I have to settle a few conflicts about the Buffyverse mythology.  These are issues which have the potential to open up a lot of debate.  What I’m expressing here are my thoughts on how I plan to work it all out.   You may take them as right or wrong as you choose.

1. At what point does The Slayer come into her powers?

I feel like there are conflicting messages about this.  In the original screenplay, Buffy appears to have been very strong early on.  She was a gymnast and at one point broke the vaulting horse.  That would require extreme strength, which would suggest to me that she had the powers before she was “called.”  That said, the movie also seems to indicate that the world has been slayerless for a while – which means even though Merrick hadn’t found Buffy until during the movie, she may have been “called” in terms of getting her power much earlier.

The show seems to indicate that slayers can be trained before they’re called (cf. Kendra), but that they don’t have their powers until their immediate predecessor’s death.

The question becomes what is the best thing for the story?  If there’s only supposed to be one girl in all the world with the strength and skill (which seems like bad planning on somebody’s part, doesn’t it? but we’ll leave that aside for now) then the activation of powers requires the death of the predecessor.  If the Slayer is born with her powers, then is she not born until her predecessor’s death?  I myself like the notion of the onset of powers around the age of puberty – it works well in X-Men and I think it’s a powerful metaphor for the kind of changes a person goes through at that time in our more mundane world.  If that’s the case, then Buffy could have broken the vaulting horse when she was 11 or 12; it could be that she was “called” and for a reason I’m going to have to make up the Watcher’s Council couldn’t find her.  (Because in my movie, there’s a Watcher’s Council, which brings us to the next question…)

2. How do Watchers work?

It seems from the movie/screenplay, that Merrick is somehow one man who has lived multiple lifetimes.  I don’t like that much; I’m much fonder of the Watcher’s Council.  Including the Watcher’s Council brings up a few more questions to be addressed.  (Again, the question is how will this work in my movie?  Not “How does it work in current canon?”  The references to current canon are a jumping off point.  They’re more like guidelines than actual rules.)

What is the nature of the Slayer-Watcher relationship?  Does every Watcher only have one Slayer?  If your Slayer dies, are you retired?  (I have one friend who’s suggested that he thinks the Watcher should die, too.  I don’t love that notion because I’m very fond of Watcher Survivor’s Guilt as a story device.)  Can a Watcher be fired?  If your Watcher dies, do you get a new one?  (The show offers us clear guidance on these questions: Yes.  And I tend to like that answer.)  The movie would have us perceive Merrick as some sort of supernatural being his very own self, or even a religious figure.  I don’t like that.  So I think we’ll put him within a more TV-show-like Watcher’s Council.  Questions of hierarchy and such there can be researched and/or tweaked later.  The key question is: Is Buffy Merrick’s first slayer?  In the movie he’s had 5 others.  I think that number’s too high if we don’t want him to be somebody who is constantly reincarnated or lives for an unnaturally long time.

3. What does it mean to be a Vampire King?

For some reason, settling this one just isn’t as important to me.  But I guess it addresses questions of followers, how one becomes a Vampire King (I presume you don’t just pop up out of the grave and are one already), and motivation/desires.  Does a Vampire King want more than to just eat people a lot?  If so, what?  I have to tell you – I can tell neither from the finished film nor the original screenplay what Lothos wants besides to eat Buffy… slowly…  Maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention.

What are your thoughts on these questions?  What am I leaving out?

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One Response to Settling a Few Questions of Mythology

  1. IMMORTAL says:

    1. I think the powers have to kick in after they are called. For example, the ability to sense when vamps are near. If they always had it chances are they would come into contact with vamps, most likely before they are trained and be easily picked off. Also being “called” woild essentially become just symbolic. Also being called at the time of the pprevious slayer’s death sets up the slayer in the role of reluctant hero.

    2. I think you’re instincts are right to set up the Watcher’s Council. It’s as I said earlier-the movie didn’t do a great job of setting up the mythology and a Watcher’s Council allows you to do that in many ways. Having said that, I think you may be trying to answer questions that only Joss can answer.

    3. Again, I agree. The Vampire King did not have that big bad set up. I imagine if you were ruthless and ambitious in life you’d be even moreso as a vampire. “It’s always about blood.” King=royal bloodline? What’s so great about royal blood? Less filling? Tastes great? Dunno. The best villains seem to be the ones who feel they have noble intentions. To a Vampire King humans are food. Vampire’s are superior yet human society dominates the planet. A vampire king would feel this is backwards. His motivation would be to elevate vampire society to it’s rightful place. It would be more like a revolution. Just brainstorming.

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