Joss Whedon to Pen New 'Dr. Horrible' Comic

The news was announced at the Comic-Con panel celebrating the tenth anniversary of the web series.
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From left: Joss Whedon, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog is back … sort of.

Creators of the three-part web series, including Joss Whedon, Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen, were joined by stars Felicia Day (Penny) and Nathan Fillion (Captain Hammer) for a 10th anniversary reunion Friday in the massive Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con. And what's more, they came armed with news, though it wasn't the sequel that many diehards have wanted for the cult-hit musical.

Joss Whedon, who co-created and directed the musical and self-financed the series during the 2008 WGA strike, revealed that he wrote a one-shot comic for publisher Dark Horse Comics that will be released Nov. 14. It is the latest comic based on the web series about Dr. Horrible and his nemesis, Captain Hammer, though. There were a handful of one-shot comics released between 2008-10 that were written by Dr. Horrible co-creator Zack Whedon.)

“It’s called Dr. Horrible, Best Friends Forever," Joss Whedon shared. "It’s about Dr. Horrible and his best friend Captain Hammer.” Chimed in co-star Day, who played their shared love interest: “That sounds like a children’s story that would end in murder."

Dr. Horrible was originally going to be an audio piece. Whedon revealed that he pitched a number of takes on the series to tech higher-ups in an effort to illustrate they didn't need studios. Among those hearing the pitches: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. That came years before Amazon's streaming rival Netflix entered the scripted originals space and upended the traditional television business.

"It was like a diary, almost — a diary of this lonely guy," Whedon said of the pitch. "But then I was like, well, lonely guy or villain guy?" Whedon noted he often has problems with traditional hero stories — "Angel was the hardest show I ever did," he said — and villains, like Dr. Horrible, can often be more relatable.

Fillion (who played arrogant hero Captain Hammer) — who entered the Whedon-verse with a villainous arc on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — recalled he had trouble getting into the mind of his character Caleb. “[Joss explained] ‘The villain doesn’t think he’s the bad guy; he thinks he’s the good guy,’” Fillion recalled of his role on the Sarah Michelle Gellar starrer.

Dr. Horrible's impact goes beyond its subversive storytelling. Day, who has often been dubbed the queen of DIY web series after launching The Guild, praised the widespread impact of the three-part musical favorite. “It was a huge boost to a world that was very new,” Day said. “Dr. Horrible set a bar that hasn’t been passed in creating content for the digital platform.”

“I learned a lot from that,” Fillion added. The actor, who next stars on ABC cop procedural The Rookie, noted that after seeing what the crew had to do to in order make Dr. Horrible, he is more skeptical when other productions claim something can’t be done. “It can be done,” he said.

Although there was no word on any potential sequel, Fillion indicated he'd be open to it. “Two things terrify me: singing in public and Shakespeare,” he said, dropping in a reference to his work on Whedon feature Much Ado About Nothing. “But I have a rule that if Joss calls, I say yes.”

The panel, which did not feature a moderator, did not address allegations of Whedon's extramarital affairs or his forthcoming HBO drama series.