Fans of the TV Buffy the Vampire Slayer may consider this a complete travesty, but Warner Bros. announced today via press release that they’re planning on rebooting the theatrical Buffy franchise:

LOS ANGELES, NOVEMBER 11, 2010: Atlas Entertainment announced today it is rebooting the beloved franchise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, with Warner Bros. Pictures. Atlas Charles Roven and Steve Alexander will produce the feature film alongside Doug Davison and Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment (The Ring, How to Train Your Dragon, The Departed). Whit Anderson is writing the script.

The fact that a reboot is happening isn’t really new: the studio has been trying to get a new version started for years, but there was a theory I heard a few years ago that these rumors were nothing more than scare tactics, designed to frighten Joss Whedon (the REAL creator) into getting involved in the movie.

Well, now that 20th Century Fox no longer owns the rights – Warners optioned them from Fran and Kaz Kuzui, the ones who initiated the film franchise – that ‘scare tactics’ rumor can be laid to rest as Warner Bros. is going ahead with the production without any input from Whedon… at least at this point.

Deadline has a quote in their article from an “insider” who says “While this is not your high school Buffy, she’ll be just as witty, tough, and sexy as we all remember her to be”. While unamed sources are rarely legit, they run the risk of alienating the show’s fanbase if they tinker too much.

UPDATE: Joss Whedon spoke out in an email to E! online yesterday, and had this to say about the Buffy news:

“This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths — just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.

Obviously I have strong, mixed emotions about something like this. My first reaction upon hearing who was writing it was, “Whit Stillman AND Wes Anderson? This is gonna be the most sardonically adorable movie EVER.” Apparently I was misinformed. Then I thought, “I’ll make a mint! This is worth more than all my Toy Story residuals combined!” Apparently I am seldom informed of anything. And possibly a little slow. But seriously, are vampires even popular any more?

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don’t love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I’m also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can’t wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I’m making a Batman movie. Because there’s a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.

Leave me to my pain! Sincerely, Joss Whedon”.