Now that Angelus and Co. have assumed control of Wolfram & Hart on
Angel, we suggest they use their new seat of power to
solve the show's biggest mystery: What the heck happened to Charisma Carpenter and her alter ego Cordelia?
Carpenter — a former
Buffy cast member who, like David Boreanaz, has been with the show since its
inception — went off to have a baby last season and hasn't been
heard from since. (Cordy remains in a coma on the show.) Making
matters more murky, a new Angel cast list makes no mention
of the actress. The WB and 20th Century Fox have been cagey about
the omission, and numerous attempts to make contact with
Carpenter's agent have proven unsuccessful. So, what's a
journalist to do? Go straight to the big boss himself, Joss Whedon.
TV Guide Online: Why was Charisma's name removed from next
season's cast list?
Joss Whedon: Mainly because we felt like we had taken that
story — just like Buffy for seven years — about as far as
it could go. The Angel/Cordelia [love story] had gone pretty much
as far as we wanted to take it. Their romance was definitely not a
popular move on our part, and I think with most fans. It just
seemed like it was time because we were revamping the show, and
then paring it down... it just seemed like a good time for certain
people to move on. Not completely, obviously. I'm hoping that
we'll get Charisma to do some episodes as Cordelia sometime during
the year. She's a new mother, so, like Sarah [Michelle Gellar], I'm waiting to hear
what her schedule is like. But it just seemed creatively like... I
once said that I finally got to tell the story of Buffy that I
tried to tell in the movie, and I did it with Cordelia. Which was
the story of someone who was completely ditzy and self-involved
becoming kind of heroic. But the way the series was different from
the movie was that I didn't know where you go from there. So, I
felt like we spent seven years playing that very arc, and it had
played. Like Buffy itself, it's time to look at something
TVGO: Isn't that a disservice to fans who invested all those
years in the character and her redemption? It seems an odd thing
to do to the show's leading lady.
Whedon: That's a fluctuating concept, the leading lady thing.
And it is a little odd. Some choices are ultimately kind of
controversial about who stays and who goes and who we focus on.
But obviously, we had to have her out of a bunch of episodes
toward the end of the year because she was having a baby... so
what we had [leading] up to it wasn't a dynamic I wanted to play
out that much. The fact is, this is not the end — unless Charisma
herself says, "You know what? I don't feel like doing any
recurring episodes." But when you have an increasingly large
ensemble week-by-week, and you come in in your [fifth] year kind
of having to revamp the show and trim the budget and also think
creatively, "How am I going to service all of these people?,"
sometimes the people who have been around the longest, you've done
the most with them.
TVGO: Some are speculating that she was a casualty of James
Marsters's cross over as Spike next season. Like, there wasn't
enough money in the budget to pay for them both, so she got the
Whedon: That's a hell of a thing to lay on James. It was a
creative decision that we made before Spike came over to the show,
and like I said, I don't intend to leave Cordelia in a coma for
the rest of the Buffyverse. But the creative decision to have the
character step down happened long before negotiations with James
[started]. It should not be laid at his feet.
TVGO: Were things left on good terms with Charisma?
Whedon: Yeah, but that's also stuff between us and not stuff
that I would talk about in an interview.