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Joss Whedon mentioned, at his San Diego panel last week, a project called WASTELANDERS that I was co-writing with him and which got postponed. I’ve gotten a lot of messages about that, since. So this is my WASTELANDERS FAQ, such as it is, and all I’m really prepared to say about it for now.

So Joss and I had just finished the second or third day of sitting in a hotel bar and beating out the rough shape of WASTELANDERS, a story idea he’d had that he invited me to co-write with him because it had Science Stuff and Nasty Stuff and those things are more me than him, and I demanded Meat because I really can’t run my brain for more than ten minutes before bits of it start breaking off and I think I mentioned that we’d been at this for two or three days and so we went to a steak restaurant that scared Joss because all the lighting was red and the walls were covered in cowhide and we’d just started on the beer in this Room Of Meat Terror when Joss said: "I’ve been asked to write and direct the AVENGERS film. What do you think?"

WASTELANDERS was being devised as a five-part series that we’d do as "internet television," in the mode of DR HORRIBLE, only without the singing. Joss was worried about the lack of singing. I’d hoped that directing an episode of GLEE had gotten it out of his system. I wasn’t sure who I’d have to hurt or kill to secure the situation, but we were solid enough with the outline that we’d be ready to shoot in two or three months.

"You have to take that job," I said. "Even though it’ll probably be insane. It’s a tentpole movie. You’ll be able to print your own money afterwards. You’ll be able to do anything you want. Take it."

No good deed goes unpunished. He took the gig, and then the start date got moved up, and three or four other horrible things happened, and suddenly the space to do WASTELANDERS was erased.

I saw Joss the other week. It took us a few hours to get around to WASTELANDERS, because we’re ferociously polite and respectful to each other (if to and about no-one else) and I think neither of us wanted to broach the subject. And when we finally did, I said to him; once you’re on the other side of AVENGERS, email me, and we’ll finish the bastard off. I’ll wait.

So that’s what we’ll do. And that gives me time to terminate anyone whom he might secretly work on musical numbers with.

A few notes. WASTELANDERS is not, as some people who can’t read have commented, the same as Antony Johnston’s WASTELAND. WASTELANDERS is Joss’ idea and Joss’ title. WASTELANDERS also has no connection to DR HORRIBLE. WASTELANDERS is where Joss’ sense that too few people followed the example of DR HORRIBLE meets my obsession with the QUATERMASS serials, which were half-hour episodes. Short-form genre serials of the kind that tv just doesn’t make anymore. What we eventually came up with was very much a fusion of British and American styles, and very much a fusion of my style and Joss’ style. And full-on science fiction.

And the plan is that you’ll see it once Joss has made the AVENGERS film.

(Which, by the way, is going to be really fucking good. I have Sekrit Knowledges. Also worth noting: Joss has nothing but good things to say about Kevin Feige, which bodes extremely well.)

WASTELANDERS is sort of a funny horrible story about the end of the world. I look forward to finishing it.

Published in Work


  1. Let’s just hope that Joss comes out of the Avengers thing in one piece…

  2. Sounds like a good thing indeed. I shall now endeavor to forget about it entirely so I can be pleasantly surprised when it’s announced in 2014, after Joss gets out of the Earth’s mightiest coma.

  3. You teasing mad man!! How dare you rub my balls and dont finish me off.
    Seriously though, Joss talked alot on the panel about how TV has no want for long form, or even short form, serialized dramas, much less Science fiction. I can reasonably say something this good would fuck up TV cause it would undoubtedly raise the bar like The Wire or even Firefly. Then again, the bar is just ignored and replaced with procedural cop shows. Law and Order: Warren Ellis. Where is Dick Wolf, we need to get on this.

  4. brinderwalt brinderwalt

    Well… what can I say? – it was a total shot in the dark.

  5. Nick Donald Nick Donald

    A collaboration between two writers who both have an excellent grasp on storytelling and characterisation? Two of the best writers of dialog ever? The men responsible for NEXTWave , Firefly, Transmetropolitan and Buffy the Vampire Slayer? AND we get a bonus Whedon Avengers movie and 48 Marvel cartoons devised by Ellis while we wait? Where do I sign up?

    Oh … I just did, right.

    Uncle Warren, you spoil us.

  6. DeezyG DeezyG

    Hey, I don’t know how much you can say, but I’m really curious as to how long it would be- Do you know either how long it would be total, or roughly how long each part would be?

  7. Jess Jess

    …you and Joss Whedon? On the same project? *blink* I…think I just came.

    I can’t quite wrap my head around it-it seems like you guys are wildly different. I can’t wait to see what happens when you work together.

    This is very awesome. I can’t wait. And here’s hoping that The Avengers just blows the fuck up (in that good way), because that could only be good for Wastelanders.

  8. […] not writing the scripts, anime voice actors, etc, might make me hate it (he did, however mention this project, a web series co-written with Joss Whedon that’s on the back burner until after The Avengers, […]

  9. Mark Jondahl Mark Jondahl

    Good things come to those who wait. I do hope you two can find time to do Wastelanders. I am a fan of both your work and Whedon’s, and I am sure you could rule the world together, or at least destroy it.

  10. kneejerk kneejerk

    So, you were at STK?

  11. Warren Ellis Warren Ellis

    STK? Don’t understand the reference, I’m afraid.

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