Espenson drafts - Superstar

Superstar is one of my favourite Buffy episodes. As Espenson makes clear, the idea came straight from Whedon, with the teaser pretty much fully-formed. But even so, the shifts (even subtle tiny ones from draft to draft in the teaser) demonstrate again, the writer's craft and the fraught relationship between structure, form and creativity. Even the development of the stage directions between drafts one and two relating to the opening of scene 11 (presumably to provide the production design team with as much information as possible) illustrate the attention to detail that is required to get an episode (the outcome of which seems inevitable) on air.

Espenson makes some interesting comments about it, some snippets of which are below.

There is no outline for this episode so we start with draft one

Here is draft two 

And draft three

For the shooting scripts, check out this link to Amazon and this one for Buffy's 20th Anniversary stuff

Clearly, the show is all about Buffy, so it is interesting to hear from Espenson how a charcter episode like this provides new opportunities to write the principal player:

"Buffy's passivity was fun to write. A lot of the credit goes to Sarah, of course, who played it so well. It wasn't a huge or tricky rethinking of the character. I just wrote lines that made it clear she was unsure of herself."

So what about writing for a relatively minor character, and an actor whose range you';re much less familiar with?

"Was Jonathan tailored to Danny? Well, probably somewhat in the way that all actors lead you down certain paths as you pursue what they do best. I didn't become friends with Danny until after this was shot, so I didn't really know him and only had what I'd seen on screen to go on. Which wasn't that much. So I pretty much just wrote it and hoped he could do it, because we were really asking for a totally new character from him. But Jonathan in general was probably shaped by what we'd seen him do well. I know I wrote a line for him in a later episode [‘Storyteller’, 7.16] in which he and Andrew were in Mexico, ‘We'll look it up tomorrow in the dictionario.’ I totally wrote that because I could just *hear* him saying it. The interesting thing about Danny, of course, is that in real life he's much more like Superstar Jonathan than Nerd Jonathan - very confident and accomplished and popular."


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