Commenting on the cancellation of Dollhouse, Joss Whedon teased that by the time the show ends in January, we'd know what his next project will be. Some fans think that we're already being given hints.
Fans at Whedonesque have been following the seemingly-Dollhouse-related ARG as its grown to include all-new elements which may cast doubt on just how Dollhouse connected it all is... Namely, a detective agency that is curiously long-lived. Those able to enter the Wipe The Future site (Username: 69B Password: 478, as per Twitter user @tombness) see this:
Those who take that and go to Spectrin.com will find an interesting detective agency:
Aside from our work, one of the things that the Spectrin team is most passionate about is history. Each of us is aware that our present is a direct result of our past, and for every action there is indeed a reaction.
Though having undergone several re-inventions during the company's lifetime, the core of Spectrin's business - our methodology, research, and services - have been family-directed and passed down from generation to generation. Founded by Augustus Hunter and Jonas Lockerbie in New York City, Spectrin's direct corporate ancestor (Hunter & Lockerbie) had its first offices on Bridge Street in lower Manhattan. Our current company was chartered in 1724 and we are proud to be New York's oldest investigative firm. Our case study archives chart their own story of the city's history, expanding in recent decades to cover our investigations throughout the U.S. and the world.
By enlisting Spectrin's services you benefit from centuries of knowledge, experience, and integrity. We are the partners who listen™. And we've been doing so for a very long time.
"Sara at Spectrin" would be Sara Kingsley, the company's Emeritus Investigator:
She graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Astrophysics and Biology, and has been employed by Spectrin for the past 14 years. Her doctoral research, on recent advancements in synthetic thought, was referred to in "The Phenomenon of Man", a book by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, one of the primary scholars in the field of matter and consciousness.
It's that last sentence that made some of Whedonesque's commenters pay attention:
Sara's page at Spectrin shows someone's having fun... or can't write. Anything she wrote couldn't be referred to in de Chardin's writings, since he lived in the World War I era.
ETA: ...unless that's part of the mystery. De Chardin wrote of an evolved human consciousness he called "The Omega Point."
The company seems to investigate the supernatural, so it's possible that Sara's older than we think. Especially given that "Our current company was chartered in 1724 and we are proud to be New York's oldest investigative firm."
I'm thinking either this will be the company that will take down Rossum or the company to supercede them. Didn't Joss say that by the time the last episode of Dollhouse airs we will already know what his next project is? A Temporal Displacement Investigative Agency? I'd like me some of that.
So is this ARG actually a stealth launch for some new Whedon project? We're doubtful. Although we'd love to see a time traveling detective agency show (Like Moonlighting, but with more period costumes!), there're three things that make this unlikely:
1. Why launch a new project off the back of a failed show? Yes, Dollhouse has its fans, but it also has those who've been disappointed by it, including some of the previous Whedon faithful. Wouldn't it make more sense just to start fresh, especially if the new project doesn't specifically share the same world as the old one?
2. Wouldn't Fox own some part of any spin-off? Presumably, Fox would have some ownership over material used in any Dollhouse promotion, and if a spin-off got started in this way, wouldn't they have some claim over it? Legal eagles, feel free to weigh in here; I may be entirely wrong.
3. Someone claiming to be from one of the sites connected to the ARG commented online that everything in the ARG is Dollhouse-related:
The Dollhouse ARG is not connected to Joss' new project or other future projects. Its purpose is simply to promote the current Dollhouse universe and the show, which returns on Dec 4th at 8/7c on FOX.
If this comment really comes from someone behind the ARG - which, in itself, seems unlikely, because why break the fiction to leave that comment? - then we're left with unexpected clues to how Dollhouse may end... and a frustrating lack of clues to what kind of "internet ventures/binge drinking" Whedon will be getting up to next. Although if he does want to do a time-traveling detective series online, we're already there.