Profile: Joss Whedon

A very brief history of a very busy man.

whedon_joss21Joseph Hill Whedon was born on 23 June 1964, in New York City. The son and grandson of writers, Whedon is often described as the first third-generation TV writer, with his father working on The Golden Girls and his grandfather The Donna Reed Show.

Whedon attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut and spent two years at Winchester College in the United Kingdom before that. Following graduation, his first writing job in television was on the popular show Roseanne, following which he spent several years as a script doctor, a role he is still well-known for in Hollywood today. He had written the script for Buffy The Vampire Slayer during these years in the Tinseltown wilderness, but its adaptation by Fran Rubel Kuzui hadn’t been particularly well received by critics or moviegoers. Whedon revived the concept for television in the mid-Nineties, with the episode ‘Hush’ earning him an Emmy award for its script. Buffy remains his most famous creation to date, sparking a spin-off in the form of Angel, and continuing stories with the graphic novel line.

After Buffy, he created Firefly, the briefly lived science-fiction show that cemented his cult reputation and led to a feature film, Serenity. In terms of big-screen productions, Whedon has also been highly prolific. He was a writer on Toy Story, Alien Resurrection and Titan AE among others, while he also contributed uncredited rewrites or polishes to Speed, X-Men, Waterworld and Twister. His next project is Cabin In The Woods, along with Drew Goddard.

Whedon has also been very active in the world of comic books, particularly with Marvel’s Astonishing X-Men property. He has written for Fray, a series set in the far future of Buffy’s fictional universe, as well as for graphic novel versions of Angel, Buffy and Firefly. He has also come to be regarded as something of a pioneer for online content, with his most recent effort, Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog becoming wildly popular.

Recently, Whedon has been involved with another Fox series, a source of controversy among fans due to his previous declarations that he would never work with them again following the perceived ill treatment of Firefly. The show, which lasted two seasons, starred former Buffy actress Eliza Dushku.

His next project will of course be The Avengers, and he is also engaging in script rewrites for Captain America.