For the past twenty-four hours, I've been sharing this picture of Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof (oh hey, Tom Lenk) on every social media platform I'm a part of:
It's on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and even my own personal social network profiles- and I've seen it on plenty of others as well. Many fans who have only clued in to Joss Whedon's brilliance throughout the past year or so, with Avengers, have no idea why this picture holds so much significance to us Whedonites, and more specifically, Angel fans.
I fell in love with Winifred Burkle the moment she graced my screen in the first of the Pylea episodes in Season 2. The same can't be said of Wesley Wyndham-Pryce's entrance in the third season of Buffy, although it can definitely be said of Alexis Denisof (who, in my opinion, ended up playing the most complex character in the Whedonverse). It took two and a half years for Fred and Wesley to finally become a couple, although in the hearts and minds of many Angel fans, they already were from the moment they met.
When Fred died and Illyria took her body, I was overcome with disbelief. Not complete disbelief. After all, this was Whedon- Tara, Cordelia, Joyce, Anya, and even Buffy herself (although with a resurrection after) had been killed. These were all characters we loved and cherished. So I wasn't completely surprised. But I- along with other fans- was hurting. Fred and Wesley had finally gotten to the place we'd all been rooting for them to get to, and she was torn away at the first sign of their happiness.
So it's understandable- the excitement that has overtaken me, along with the rest of the Internet. Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof playing Beatrice and Benedick in Joss Whedon's production of Much Ado About Nothing? Finally! Aside from Acker and Denisof's undeniable chemistry, which I can't wait to see again, Fred and Wesley get to "be together." We've been waiting for this for what seems like eternity.
But I'm just scratching at the surface here. We, as an audience, were introduced to heartbreak and star-crossed love very early on in the Whedonverse. Buffy and Angel, Willow and Oz, Tara and Willow, Buffy and Spike, Cordelia and Doyle, Angel and Cordelia. Why were Fred and Wesley so important? Why did their story hit us so hard? Why the excitement and the passion, almost eight years later?
Because they weren't star-crossed. There was nothing magical or fantastical separating them- no vampire immortality keeping them from living a life together, no memory spells being used on each other, no lycanthropic violence tearing them apart, no Powers That Be Bitches raising one of them to a different plane of existence. Just...another boy. Charles Gunn, who made his move before Wesley could.
Wesley and Fred's separation was the romantic equivalent of Joyce's death on Buffy- completely natural, in a world that was anything but. For two and a half years, we rooted for a couple that was separated only by human apprehension and mistakes. We wanted to see them together so badly- because, despite Joss's penchant for not just breaking but destroying our hearts, he made us believe in love in a way that no writer has, before or since.
So I, for one, can't wait until June 7th. Not just because of the movie itself and the excitement that's surrounding Joss's interpretation of Shakespeare, but because the couple who stole our hearts will finally return them to us, safe and intact again.
So here's to you, Joss, Amy, and Alexis, for making our dreams come true.