‘Empire’ Co-Creator Danny Strong Would Return as ‘Poor, Poor Jonathan’ for ‘Buffy’ Reboot

TCA 2018: Whedon-verse alum also tells TheWrap that fans should give the project a chance, because, “what if it’s great?”

Last Updated: August 4, 2018 @ 1:07 PM

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” alum Danny Strong is a true superstar — unlike his Joss Whedon-created alter ego, Jonathan Levinson, who could only pull off that level of success in Hollywood if he cast another spell.

But while the Emmy winner and “Empire” co-creator has his hands full with his own TV series nowadays, Strong told TheWrap during the Television Critics Association press tour he would be happy to reprise his role for the recently-announced reboot.

“I would appear on it as Jonathan if they wanted Jonathan,” Strong told TheWrap, while promoting his upcoming Fox drama “Proven Innocent.” “Poor, poor, Jonathan. I don’t think Jonathan made it, though. So it might be tricky.”

Strong is right, Jonathan did not make it. The former Trio member was murdered by his best friend Andrew (Tom Lenk), who makes amends for the evil act carried out under the influence of The First by the series finale. But, yeah, bringing Jonathan back would probably require a little help from Willow. Alyson Hannigan, you free, too?

Last month, news broke that Whedon was planning on rebooting the Sarah Michelle Gellar-led series with Monica Owusu-Breen — and fans had thoughts. While many die-hard viewers of the cult classic were outraged that anyone would try to reboot what is widely regarded as one of the greatest TV shows of all time, others were interested to see how the story would continue — especially because the reboot is set to feature a black lead character.

The “don’t touch ‘Buffy'” backlash was so strong it prompted Owusu-Breen to take to Twitter to reassure fans “there is only one Buffy” and that Whedon’s “brilliant and beautiful series can’t be replicated.”

“I wouldn’t try to,” she wrote. “But here we are, 20 years later … and the world seems a lot scarier. So maybe, it could be time to meet a new Slayer … And that’s all I can say.”

Strong tells TheWrap he, for one, isn’t on the anti-reboot side, because “what if it’s great?”

“Well, the ‘don’t touch ‘Buffy’ [attitude] I don’t agree with, because ‘Buffy’ will always exist,” Strong said. “Those episodes will always exist. And if someone comes and reboots it, it’s not going to make those episodes any less amazing than they were before. I’m nervous for them because the bar is so high. I think that the show is so beloved and the show is so well-done that it just could be challenging to pull it off.”

“And because of this fan response you already know what you’re up against, which is, there is almost this firing squad waiting for you,” Strong continued. “But at the same time, Joss is involved. If he wasn’t involved, I would think it would be a disaster. But Joss is involved and I think that should make the fans feel better that he’s involved. But I would say give them a chance. What if it’s great? Who knows, it could be amazing.”

And the “Reboot Protector Award” goes to… (Oh, that’s a reference to one of Strong’s most memorable moments on “Buffy,” which you can watch above.”)