NOTE: This post has spoilers, though at this point the news has been out there for a couple weeks. If you still haven’t read about the identity of Twilight in “Buffy: Season 8”, then stop reading now.
While plenty of people were shocked in early January when Dark Horse Comics accidentally revealed that Angel was Twilight, a handful of people knew all along. One of those was series artist George Jeanty, who signed on to do the artwork for Season 8 around four years ago, and has known ever since.
I met Georges in October at Baltimore Comic-Con, and asked him multiple times that weekend who Twilight was. He didn’t spill back then, but once the cat was out of the bag, he was kind enough to answer some of my questions.
In the interview below, Jeanty addresses his initial reaction to finding out Angel was Twilight -- years before we knew -- and how fans will react once they actual have Issue #33 in their hands.
Q: You've said in the past that you didn't start watching "Buffy" until you started working on this series, and even then you started with the later seasons. So when you first were told Twilight was Angel, what was your reaction?
A: I didn't have much of a reaction because I didn't as yet understand the history of what was being done. I had known about Buffy and Angel through pop culture, but it was more along the lines as a Romeo and Juliet, than a Vampire and a Slayer. And given that that 'Big Reveal' was years off I didn't give it much thought at all. I can see, now, where this is a huge deal! But not in the way you think. The reveal was never the big pay off, it's what happens after that. In a weird way it's a great piece of promotion, because you have people so focused on who Twilight is they never ask what it means after the revelation. Keep reading and tell me if you agree.
Q: How hard was it for you to keep this secret for four years?
A: Again, it wasn't hard at all because Twilight would come in sporadically and then go off for issues at a time, so to keep this secret was very easy. The only thing I might have had to look out for was that I might be talking to someone like the Editor Scott Allie and in the course of the conversation we might have mentioned Angel while others might have been listening, but nothing like that ever happened. Thankfully! I knew once we got into the last ten issues or so if was going to heat up, but at that point I would have been 3 or 4 issues ahead so I was more worried that someone might come by the studio and see some pages they weren't supposed to and go on the internet with this world shaking exclusive! It's funny after all this has happened I kept thinking about that Simpsons episode when Bart or someone wanted to know the details of the new Star Wars movie and you see this whole thread of internet sleuths and at the end you there's some kid with a computer under Lucas's table as they're having a meeting at Skywalker Ranch about Star Wars dictating everything they were saying. I must have looked under my table once or twice after the news broke!
Q: How do you think fans will react to the reveal once they actually see it in the issue, as opposed to just on a cover?
A: The great thing about that issue is that you are seeing all that happen from Buffy's point of view. You know when she knows and I think general fan reaction is going to be a lot like Buffy's reaction and you're going to be taking sides with her actions after the fact. It's a great issue that ends on a high note that will have you sitting on pins for the next 30 days!
Q: Knowing at some point you were going to have to draw Angel (aside from his brief cameo appearances in issue 3 and issue 20), have you been working on his character model over these past four years at the same time as the other characters?
A: No. I had all these other characters I had to work on so I left Angel until the end of last year. Now, I'm drawing him often, but before I had no real cause to draw him aside form the odd art commission at a convention. I look at things like our cast has grown and I have a file on Angel now. I ended up having a big file on Andrew not thinking he'd be in Season 8 all that much. Joss likes to throw in surprises like that. I think he understands how much people love these characters and he does too, so he's always trying to find a way to put them in.
Q: It was funny to read Scott Allie's story about how he almost blew the secret at Baltimore, considering how much he freaked out about you almost revealing the Buffy flying thing. I'm guessing the Angel slip would have been a much bigger deal.
A: Oh yeah! I cornered Scott after that Baltimore show and we were looking at each other like man did we just dodge a bullet and said are you crazy? You almost let slip something we've been closed mouth about for 3 years! He was like, I know! It's just a secret we've been keeping so long and we've talked about it over the years so casually that it doesn't even feel like a secret anymore! Little did we know just a few months later....