Friday afternoon at New York Comic Con, Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling, hosted an official panel that gave New York Comic Con attendees an exciting look into the new Audible Original series, Slayers: A Buffyverse Story, and reunited the original cast members 20 years after the finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Participating talent included writer, director and original cast member Amber Benson, writer and director Christopher Golden, and original cast members including Charisma Carpenter, Emma Caulfield Ford, James Charles Leary, Juliet Landau, James Marsters, along with Buffyverse newcomer Laya DeLeon Hayes.
During a press roundtable session for the new Audible Original series we had a chance to catch up with both James Marsters and James Charles Leary to chat about “Slayers: A Buffyverse Story” and more!
We asked James Marsters what it was like stepping back into the character after 20 years of time has gone by to which he told us, “Yeah, this is a weird thing. Like the the pandemic hit. And suddenly, I had no way to make money. And I got two kids in college. And so I reached out to cameo and started doing doing cameos for people. And it struck me because a lot of people were requesting that I do that do it as Spike. And I started doing that I was like, I get to play Spike again. I haven’t done this for a while. So I was already kind of warmed up to doing it as far as as far as being placed in 2013. That is, that’s not hard, because it’s just, it’s the world that you’re stepping into. It’s a world that’s already been built and, and reinforces itself. The script reinforces itself that way. So it’s not something that I had to remember. It was just kind of provided for me and I just stand there.”
We went on to ask Marsters if he sees Spike as more of a hero or a villain or perhaps something in-between. He reveals, “Um, hero, you know? Yeah, I think I think once he got a soul and realized how much damage he had been doing and decided to do differently knowing he couldn’t make up for it. I think he was pretty well put on a path toward at least trying to be a good guy now whether he is whether he can actually pull that off. He’s at least trying to apply that!”
James Charles Leary adds, “And when he can’t that’s where Clem comes in!” (laughs). Talking about how much fun it was to get together with everyone and step back into the Buffyverse, Leary tells us, ” It was, it was one of the best weeks. You know, I left this business a long time ago, I work in video games now and perform here and there…doing some stuff. But this was like, it was like coming home. It really was who felt was so much fun. And by the time the week was over, I was like, When? When can we do this again, I would like to do this next week now please!”
Marsters adds, “I was throwing all these ideas about how we pick the story up guys for the next round? About this idea. And what do we do for that? ” Leary goes on to say, “I feel like you know, everybody just had such a fun time and getting to watch everybody work and take these characters new and different directions. Charisma and Amber and Emma and watching them and Juliet and Leah and just watching them was amazing.”
When talking about what the role of Spike meant to him, Marsters tells us, “Usually I get a roll. And it takes me a little rehearsal, if it’s theater, and a little, a couple of days filming of its film, to really start to learn to drive that car. And some, some characters come easier than others. But with Spike day one, I was like, oh, there’s a shift on that, oh, I know what the brakes are. Let’s go around this corner. Like, it would just fit me so well. It’s true with the whole cast. We’re just, we were cast by some people who knew what they were doing. And so when we got back together, we’re all playing roles that fit us like a glove. And so it’s just like, it’s this effortless. Kind of, Oh, I know how to do like, so we could just we just like start acting. That’s all good. And then we’re like, and we’re just having fun. It was just fun.”
Leary adds, “It’s like an old pair of Chuck’s you found in the back of the closest one day and they still fit” (laughs)
We ask Marsters, Spike is a character whose demeanor is intrinsically physical. How did you translate that physicality to just a voice? He tell us, “I guess it’s just kind of instinctual. Because when James and I come from, we’ve done a lot of theater, and in theater, your face is like that thing. And your eyes are very little little tiny. And so your job, what you train for is hanging words in the air in a certain rhythm in a certain color. And that all the information about story and character is in the voice. In film. It’s exactly the opposite. And you are you are just throwing your lines away you’re pretty much basically trance knowing that the information about everything is now going to be in the voice. But that was something we’ve done so many times before that it didn’t really have to be thought about, but it was definitely an adjustment.”
When talking about prep for the role and revisiting the character of Clem, Leary tells us, “I found the ears! They had degraded quite a bit, but I was actually really, really worried about how my voice would sound without the teeth. And we tried several different types. Because they had been fit to I did a dental mold. Yeah. And I don’t know, when those were those things are in someone’s closet somewhere. So we tried that. And I was really worried. But I quickly realized that with that much dialogue, there’s no way. And so it actually came very quickly. And, you know, they wrote Chris and Amber wrote such an amazing script that it just, it didn’t even feel like having to knock the dust off of anything. Or, you know, the rust, I should say, just came right in.”
Speaking about the continued support and fandom behind the Buffyverse and all the positive feedback the Audible project has been getting. Leary says, “I’ll throw out real quick, it changed my life. I can’t talk too much about you know, the previous Yeah, but it changed my life in ways I never would have imagined it. 20 years later, here we are, here I am. I never would have thought and it’s changed my I’ve met amazing people, fans all over the world. Fandom is the reason why we’re here. Why I’m here. The only reason.”
Marsters reveals, “I meet four year old’s dressed as, Buffy. I mean 70 year old’s dressed as Buffy, but it’s a property that gets shared down from generations. It’s not because of digital. It’s a property that’s discovered by young people. It’s their discovery. And it’s it I think that it’s because the theme is don’t give up. The world hurts and all is hard and it’s a challenge, but it’s worth it. So keep going. And it was originally designed for people who were old enough to realize that the world is massively messed up. And that usually is about 12 to13 years old, you know, that was for me. And when I was that age, and I saw that the temptation was to give up to give up on myself to give up on the world. And what Buffy is saying is don’t do that. Don’t give up on yourself try to find in some way large or small to help out around here. You know and in Buffy it’s very it’s very exciting because it’s demons that she’s helping out with you know, but for me it’s much smaller it might be helping someone across the street or putting away a grocery cart or just being nice to someone. But it’s the same thing we’re all trying to save the world”
Slayers: A Buffyverse Story premiered October 12, 2023 on Audible, twenty years after the series finale of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer.’ The scripted audio original picks up in the Buffyverse 10 years after the events of the final episode. Since then, Spike (James Marsters) has gone deep undercover in LA, convincing the forces of darkness that he’s back to his evil ways. When his cover is compromised by sixteen-year-old Indira Nunnally (Laya DeLeon Hayes), Spike finds himself on baby-slayer-sitting duty once more. While he attempts to track down a watcher for his eager new protégé, their paths collide with the veteran Slayer of a parallel reality where Buffy Summers never existed…a reality where Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) is the one-and-only Slayer. She needs Spike’s help with a classic big bad terrorizing her world…his old flame, Drusilla (Juliet Landau).
Listen to Slayers: A Buffyverse Story now exclusively on Audible. In addition, Slayers: A Buffyverse Story joins Audible’s growing catalog of Originals that can be listened to in immersive spatial audio with Dolby Atmos from the Audible app. For more information, visit Audible.com.