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Ripper is a fantasy drama spun off from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The TV movie will chronicle the early life of Rupert Giles as a follower of the occult in London, long before he became involved with the Watchers Council and, eventually, the slayer herself.
Ripper was first conceptualized in 2001 when the fate of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was uncertain. In this time, the series had just been canceled by The WB and series creator Joss Whedon was considering other avenues to approach with the franchise. One of these avenues was Ripper, an idea for a miniseries starring Anthony Stewart Head as a young Rupert Giles dabbling in the occult and rebelling against British society.
Whedon described the themes for the miniseries as "Cracker with ghosts" and, later, gave a more elaborate description in an interview with a British Buffy the Vampire Slayer magazine: "The people who live there, it's all very isolated. [Giles] himself has been gone for many years. He was surrounded by a de facto family that he no longer has. And [he is] sort of picking up his life all alone, and then getting involved in the underbelly of other people's lives, and finding out all about them. Loneliness is what I think of. It may not be the theme so much as the emotional intent of the series, but that's what really attracts it to me the most." By the time of this interview, Whedon had written the entire two-hour pilot episode and had outlines for following episodes by Buffy staff writers. The original cast listing for the pilot also included roles for Juliet Landau as Drusilla and Max Perlich as Whistler.
When the main series was resurrected by UPN for several more seasons, Ripper was put on the back burner so that Whedon and the actors involved in both series could focus on Buffy. When Buffy reached its series finale in 2003, several spin-offs and other ideas were kicked around to continue the spirit of the show, one of which being Ripper. Whedon, faced with the financial problems of producing a full miniseries, considered telling the story in the form of a TV movie in 2005.
It wasn't until 2007 that the movie became an almost certainty, when Whedon announced during a panel at San Diego Comic-Con that both Anthony Stewart Head and BBC were on board for a 90 minute TV movie. The movie was scheduled for filming in 2008 and broadcast that summer, but production on Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-Long Blog and other projects caused production to be delayed. It is unknown when the film will be produced.