SDCC '08 - Whedon, Dushku Open 'Dollhouse' to Comic-Con

The cast of Joss Whedon's new FOX series 'Dollhouse', including Tahmoh Penikett (far left)

The fan-favorite mind behind ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘Angel’, and ‘Firefly’ Whedon Whedon paid a visit to the San Diego Comic Con on July 26 to discuss his upcoming FOX television series, ‘Dollhouse’.

Joining the discussion were ‘Dollhouse’ stars Eliza Dushku (‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’) and Tahmoh Penikett (‘Battlestar Galactica).

The Q&A session started with a look at the ‘Dollhouse’ trailer. In the footage, Dushku stars as Echo, an "Active" who is programmed to fulfill certain duties. In the trailer she was shown portraying both an assassin and a man’s date whose purpose is to make a bride jealous. However, once her duty is performed, her mind is erased.

After the trailer, the trio made their entrance to thunderous applause from the packed ballroom.

When Whedon was asked where he got the concept from, he said he had come up with the idea when discussing the level of range an actress needs to fill different roles.

Penikett was asked how he learned that Whedon wanted him for a role. Penikett laughed and said his agent called him, Penikett brushed it off by thinking, “Whedon is probably mad at me for not getting rid of the Cylons with a biological weapon.”

Whedon then said, “Penikett is someone I’ve had a man crush on.” He then corrected himself by saying, “Oh wait, the term now is bro-mance.’” Whedon then described how interested he was in Penikett’s character by saying, “He keeps getting closer and closer to Echo, and when he does, she’s someone else.”

When asked about websites already being devoted to saving the show, Whedon said, “The enthusiasm behind it, I adore. And, the wariness of it, is well deserved.”

Dushku described her favorite ‘Buffy’ moment as a time she was in a bar, dancing and fighting five different people.

Whedon was quick to correct her, reminding her that the scene she was describing was actually an ‘Angel’ moment.

Whedon and Penikett joked about never knowing where Dushku would wind up. Including receiving emails from her from Peru or Iran. She joked that she was always somewhere weird, saying, “I was elk hunting, sorry PETA. It’s a part of life. I eat what I kill.”

Whedon was quick to correct her again, saying, “The proper phrasing is ‘I eat whom I kill.’”

Penikett was then asked how his participation on ‘Dollhouse’ would affect shooting on ‘Battlestar Galactica.’ Penikett let it be known that he’d been released from his ‘Battlestar’ contract to work on ‘Dollhouse.’ This announcement was met by a chorus of ‘Awww’s from the capacity crowd.

In an odd moment, a question-asker called the trailer ‘mundane’ compared to work like ‘Buffy’ and ‘Firefly’. Dushku took offense to this threatening, “I’m gonna bring some Faith down on the floor.”

Whedon defended his upcoming series saying there would be no vampires, no space ships, no werewolves, it’s just people. But, “I hope most people know that everything I do is just people.” This was met with applause from the fans in attendance. He followed that up by saying, “Believe me when I say it’s going to be really exciting.”

When asked why his ‘Dr. Horrible’ Web series wasn’t brought to network television, Whedon responded, “I didn’t think there was a network that would create a superhero musical.”

In response to a question about ‘Buffy’ alumni in ‘Dollhouse’, Whedon said, “You can definitely expect to see Amy Acker, because my mama didn’t raise no fools. Well, except for my brothers.”

Dushku laughed and added, “Bring that Nathan Fillion to the show!”

A fan then asked who Whedon was planning to kill of first. Penikett sheepishly raised his hand. Whedon laughed and replied that he doesn’t have any deaths planned, but it usually comes down to “Who pisses me off first?”

When Whedon was asked why he writes such strong female characters, he said, “I was raised by one, I married one, and I surround myself with them. I can’t help it.”

The topic of more ‘Buffy’ pieces came up, to which Whedon responded, “It’s crossed my mind, but since I’m doing the comic book I’m getting my fix. But, I never rule anything out.”

When asked about a ‘Dollhouse’ comic, Whedon said he didn’t see one in the future because, “It’s very interesting to see Dushku become these different people. I don’t know how exciting it would be to see that drawn.”

Finally, on the topic of ‘Dollhouse’ webisodes, Whedon said there would definitely be some. “And we’ll make dozens and dozens of dollars.”

Currently, ‘Dollhouse’ is slated to air starting January 2009 and is contracted for 13 episodes

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