A Buffy movie without Joss Whedon? While some may be shouting that it's insane, immoral and just plain wrong, I have to admit: It sounds like a great idea to me. Here's why.
Yes, I know the idea of a Whedonless Buffy sounds like blasphemy, but the more I think about it, the more it seems like exactly what Buffy and Joss need, even if the hardcore fans don't agree. Join the dots that are my scattered reasoning:
Joss Whedon Has Had More Than Seven Years Of Buffy, Let Someone Else Have A Go
We've seen Joss do Buffy for seven years on television (and two years in comics, for that matter), and do Buffy really well for at least six of those years (I'm one of those people who was unconvinced by the relentless, seemingly-aimless angst of season six. Sorry); that's never going away, no matter what - You all have those DVDs and the reruns and the comics to prove it. But just because Joss created Buffy and did the franchise proud for more than a decade doesn't mean that someone else can't come up with something equally as interesting, and almost as enjoyable. For whatever reason - and this isn't the place to argue about whether or not it's a good thing - our culture has become endlessly recyclable, whether it's movie or TV show reboots or comics where every year sees a new writer, artist and "creative direction." By now, we've had enough Battlestar Galacticas, The Dark Knights and Alan Moore taking on Swamp Things to know that letting new voices take on familiar characters can end in wonderful new versions of old stories, and leave the characters all the better for the experience. Who's to say that a new writer or new director couldn't bring something unexpected and amazing to the Buffy mythos?
(And, if it turned out to be another Bionic Woman or Knight Rider, so what? Like I said, it doesn't invalidate or undo all the stories you already loved, and it's not like the show would've been canceled to make way for this new version. The Whedon Buffy would be left as intact as ever.)
Joss Whedon Has Had More Than Seven Years Of Buffy, Let Him Do Something Else
I don't mean to be overly rude, but have you been reading the Buffy comics recently? Have you noticed that the series has become slightly... aimless? Directionless? There's undoubtedly a nicer way to say it, but after a strong start, it's become infected with the same apathy that laced through the television show's final two seasons; everything that happens - what little has actually happened, since the end of the Fray arc - feels less organic and more like writers filling time while trying to work out what to do next. As an example of where Whedon's head is at as concerning Buffy, it's a pretty good reason for him not to be involved with the movie, because it's as if he's run out of things to say about the character.
Not that that's a bad thing. He's got Dollhouse to think about, now, and Cabin In The Woods, as well; it feels kind of insulting to think that he should always have to be responsible for something he came up with seventeen years ago, instead of being allowed to let it go and move on to newer ideas, projects and things to talk about. It's also somewhat unreasonable; despite his closeness to the material and his ownership of it (in the sense of having invented it, not the legal sense, I mean), why should Whedon still be thinking about the same characters, situations and metaphors six years after it stopped being part of his everyday life (Almost six years to the day, in fact; the final episode went out May 20th, 2003)?
Creators create, or else they stagnate. That's not to say that there's no value in writers staying with characters for a long time (Dave Sim on Cerebus, for example), but there is evidence of diminishing returns when they stay with a story too long (The Phantom Menace, anyone? Or, on a slightly less obvious - yet probably more appropriate - slant, the latter part of Stan Lee's run as Spider-Man writer). With Firefly, Dr. Horrible and Dollhouse, as troubled as some may have been in terms of production and reception, you can see Whedon try to move on from Buffy. Why not let him?
Part of the outcry might be because the idea of this new Buffy movie changes our idea of what it is - Suddenly, it's a renewable franchise, instead of a creator-led show. But it always has been, as much as we forget it; there's been the movie, the TV show, the spin-off show, the comics, the novels, the video games, the very-unlike-the-actors action figures... it's never really just been Joss's show, as much as it's tempting to think that. Sure, Joss Whedon made Buffy, and in turn, Buffy made Whedon into what he is today, but perhaps it's time to let them say goodbye to each other and go on and grow up apart. The very worst that can happen* is that we end up with a disappointing movie version that we all pretend doesn't exist in years to come, and if fandom can survive this year's Watchmen and Terminator Salvation, then I think we can deal with a Buffy that doesn't live up to our dreams.
(* - Okay, alternatively, we could discover that Joss Whedon is actually a magical figure whose existence is entirely contingent on our belief in his version of Buffy, a la Tinkerbell, but somehow I'm not entirely convinced that that'll turn out to be the case.)