When it was announced that season twelve of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic series at Dark Horse would be the conclusion of the comics that had been running for years, many suspected it meant an even bigger change for the license. Turns out those folks were right.
As reported by Comic Book Resources, Joss Whedon has confirmed that once season twelve of the comic wraps up the entire license for Buffy related comics has been removed from Dark Horse Comics by Fox. This is another blow to Dark Horse as in 2015 they lost the Star Wars license to Marvel and just recently they lost both the Conan the Barbarian and Firefly licenses to Marvel and Boom! Studios respectively.
“Fox is taking the Buffy license and the Firefly license back,” Whedon noted in an interview with CBR.
As noted above, Firefly already has a new home but there is no word on if Buffy and company have a new home yet. This ends a 20-year relationship between the rights holders and Dark Horse as they were publishing comics featuring the characters long before starting the after the show in continuity comics. Previously IDW had the rights to publish comics that continued the story from Buffy spinoff Angel before in a similar move the right were taken from IDW and given to Dark Horse so that Angel and Buffy and their casts were all in the same world once more.
While there might be some plotlines from the four previous seasons of comics, Whedon noted that the twelfth season miniseries will provide some closure for fans.
“We made sure that the journey wasn’t continuing. We wanted to give the Dark Horse era some closure,” Whedon said. “I heard about all of this after the fact. It’s like Disney taking Star Wars over to Marvel. All of a sudden, we realize this is happening. So I’m writing this from a position that will leave everybody in a position where you feel some closure.”
While not stated, it’s very possible that Fox’s decision to revive the property in television form might have something to do with the move to pull the rights. They either could want to just focus on TV again or might want to move the rights to another publisher, with the studio having a deal with Boom already and them about to be owned by Disney who owns Marvel.