A Brief Life Before Buffy: A Look at Pre-Vampire Joss Whedon

Hello friends! This particular article is going to be painfully short, and I’m sorry about that. It just so happens that Joss’s career before Buffy Summers came along was less “Joss Whedon” than we’d like to admit. It was filled with working on a TV staff, working as a script doctor, and writing animated films (or at least doing the stories).


Before Joss Whedon wrote the script for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he grew up as a third-generation television writer. He openly admits that his father and grandfather are the reasons he was able to get his first job on the season two writing staff of RoseanneRoseanne, however, had a long history of laying off all of their staff writers every season, and Joss soon got a job as a script doctor. Even after Buffy Summers came into being in 1992, Joss was still doing treatments. Joss worked on X-MenWaterworld, Speed, and The Getaway as a ghost writer.


Joss also wrote the stories and screenplays for a few beloved, though not by the mainstream, animated films – including Titan A.E. and  Atlantis: The Lost Empire. He was also part of the writing staff that wrote the award winning and childhood making animated film Toy Story. Actually, the one thing I think people always forget is that Joss was one of seven people to stand on stage and accept the Best Original Screenplay award at the 68th Academy Awards for Toy Story.  So, yes, he has never won an Oscar for something we view as “Joss Whedon,” but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been recognized for his amazing work.

Overall, Joss’s non-vampire career was interesting, but not very vast. And Joss Whedon wasn’t really “Joss Whedon”, the power house we know and love today until well into the second and third seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

That being said, I’ll be back in a few days to talk about Titan A.E.  and Atlantis: The Lost Empire since they’re two of my favorite animated films. After that, Ley will talk about Joss Whedon as we know him now.

– Emily Frances Maesar

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