New 'Buffy' Showrunner Addresses Reboot Backlash

New 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' showrunner Monica Owusu-Breen addresses the backlash over the planned reboot, which will feature a black Buffy.
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Sarah Michelle Gellar as the original Buffy; Monica Owusu-Breen (inset)

New Buffy the Vampire Slayer showrunner Monica Owusu-Breen addressed the backlash to the planned reboot of the cult drama.

In a statement posted to her verified Twitter account, Owusu-Breen — who is set to write and serve as showrunner on the adaptation of Joss Whedon's beloved vampire drama — noted that the time is right to "meet a new Slayer."

"For some genre writers, it's Star Wars. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my Star Wars. Before I became a writer, I was a fan. For seven seasons, I watched Buffy Summers grow up, find love, kill that love. I watched her fight, and struggle and slay," she wrote. "There is only one Buffy. One Xander, one Willow, Giles, Cordelia, Oz, Tara, Kendra, Faith, Spike, Angel … They can't be replaced. Joss Whedon's brilliant and beautiful series can't be replicated. I wouldn't try to. But here we are, 20 years later … and the world seems a lot scarier. So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer … And that's all I can say."

Plans for a Buffy reboot, news of which broke Friday, were met with almost immediate backlash. While many die-hard fans of the original series were excited for a new take with Whedon involved, others voiced disappointment that anyone would attempt to replicate the original series. 

Owusu-Breen previously worked with Whedon on ABC's Marvel drama Agents of SHIELD. The reboot will feature a black actress stepping into the role of Buffy. The project, which does not yet have a script or a network, will be contemporary and build on the original's mythology. Like today's world, the new Buffy will be richly diverse, with some aspects of the series — as the original did — seen as metaphors for issues facing society.

Talks for a new Buffy began last fall. A decision to move forward was determined after Owusu-Breen was identified as the best writer for the job. A script or director has not yet been determined.

Producers Fox 21 TV Studios will pitch the new Buffy to streaming and cable outlets later this summer in a package bound to ignite a bidding war.

It's unclear if Whedon will have any additional role beyond exec producer on the new Buffy due to his other commitments, which include HBO's recent straight-to-series order The Nevers. Whedon and Owusu-Breen have been working closely together on the reboot. Gail Berman, Joe Earley, Fran Kazui and Kaz Kazui (who produced Whedon's original Buffy film that inspired the TV series) will also serve as exec producers on the potential series.

Casting for the new Buffy has not been determined.

For her part, Owusu-Breen recently created and showran NBC's Midnight, Texas. She left the series after season one. Her credits also include Revolution, Fringe, Brothers & Sisters, Alias, Lost and Charmed.