Dollhouse Wiki
This article is about the original pilot. For the eponymous character see Echo.

"Echo" is the original pilot of Dollhouse, which was was written and directed by Joss Whedon.[1] Produced in April/May 2008, "Echo" contained the first footage of Dollhouse ever to be released to public. "Echo" was the first episode written and shot, but it was pushed back by Whedon to become the second episode because of "a few clarity issues for some viewers" and "some slight issues with tone".[2] By October 2008, "Echo" disappeared from official episode listings, since it has been used for parts in other episodes of Season 1. It is therefore not considered canonical or part of the first season, but it was, however, included as a special feature on the Dollhouse Season One DVD.[3].


When FBI Agent Paul Ballard gets ahold of a picture showing Echo, Adelle's operation is in danger of being exposed. She sends Echo and Victor to get rid of Agent Ballard. In the meantime, Echo, Victor and Sierra show signs of bonding during lunch, although they should not remember each other after a wipe.


Active Client Alias Personality Mission
Echo Richard Unknown Dream date Make his ex-girlfriend jealous on her wedding.
Pro-bono Unknown Abuse survivor Convince Chrissie to clean up and return home
Unknown Unknown Security expert Private security
Dollhouse Shauna Vickers Recon expert Find out how much Paul Ballard knows about the Dollhouse.
Victor Dollhouse Keene FBI informant Get rid of Paul Ballard.


Main Cast[]

Guest Stars[]

Background Information[]



Whedon pitched Dollhouse to Fox two weeks before the 2007-2008 WGA strike and got a seven-episode order without even having begun to write a pilot episode.[4] After the strike ended, Whedon started working on the scripts, "Echo" being the first episode.[5] The first writer's draft is dated March 7th, 2008. The script is 53 pages long, divided into four acts (14, 15, 13 and 11 pages).[6]

Some of the casting sides for "Echo" leaked on the internet in March 2008.[7] The whole script leaked in December 2008.[8]


Production began on April 23rd, 2008[9] with principal photography taking place from May 6th to May, 12th[10]. Reshoots at the behest of Fox were made in June[11], with four of the seven days of shooting being reshot. These reshoots may be connected to the fact that "Echo" was pushed back to become the second episode of the series instead of the first as originally intended.


"It was more... in the emphasis and the feel of the show and the way it rolled out. The things that the network clearly wanted to... shooting a new pilot was my idea. Because the network, they were looking for something specific. I thought I delivered it because they were very excited about the script. They weren't as excited about the show so we talked about why and why and why and I figured out what they wanted. (...) They wanted, the first thing I wrote was sort of laying out how that would happen... in the next episode. They were like, "No, we want it to happen in [this] episode so people get it from that." And then, you know, upping the action and deciding to roll out... change certain events that ultimately made it so that I just junked the other pilot. This won't be the second episode because this isn't what the network wants, this isn't the kind of show they want. This is something you could do two years in when everybody's familiar with it and you don't have to explain it. I always hold to the premise that the first six episodes are the first six pilots. You have to be able to come in and just go, "Oh, okay. So that's the premise and here it is delivered in this fashion." And I did get a little turned around. There was times when I was like, wait a minute, are the things that I care about still in the show? [Laughs.] Because some things that I was interested in - the more twisted elements of the human psyche and some of the more quieter aspects of it, kind of got shunned to the side. But I realized, you know, I may have said this before - you don't pitch "Buffy" with "The Body." You earn that. You pitch it with the premise and then you get to all the stuff that you're really doing it for."
Joss Whedon[12]

Joss Whedon described this move by being his choice, not the network's: "I sort of go, hmmm, some of it I think maybe they didn’t get, and some of it, you know what, I didn’t deliver on it in the way that I should have."[13] Whedon also said: "I looked at it with a very cold eye, an executive’s eye, and said, 'OK, I know what they want that they don’t have.' I don’t want to gut this [first pilot] episode. I’m proud of this episode. Everybody did a really good job. There are scenes I want to tweak and changes I want to make, but if I go to the network and say, 'I’m going to give you a new first episode,' they will be excited – they didn’t have to ask for it."[13]

"Echo" was eventually left out of episode listings by October 2008. On October 26th, Whedon commented on that: "The original pilot was in fact thrown out. Again, at my behest. Once it became clear what paradigm the Network was shooting for, it just didn't fit at all, even after I'd reshot more than half of it (see above re: despair). To get a sense of how completely turned around I was during this process, you should know there was a scene with Eliza and the astonishing Ashley Johnson that I wrote and shot completely differently three different times, with different characters in different places (actually I wrote it closer to eight times), and none of it will ever see air. Which is as it should be (though I'm determined to get Ms. Johnson back in the future)."[14]



Reviews of the script started showing up by the end of April 2008. Generally praised by critics, the script was particularly applauded for the "change of pace", considering "Echo" has a four-acts structure without a teaser.[15] This being unusual both for TV standards and Joss Whedon - together with the fact that the four acts are almost equal in length - was applauded, as "Whedon doesn’t have to force the drama up into unnatural cliffhanging pre-commercial moments"[16] and "the story has the room to unfold in a natural manner, not trying to hit more artificial breaks"[17].

General reviews called the script "fabulous"[6], "thought provoking"[17], "rad"[18], "super-sexy"[19], and "a beautiful enigma wrapped in a riddle, a gripping conspiracy story for the ages filled with urban legends, memory tampering, and long-buried secrets coming to the fore"[20]. The script "builds into a mystery that's as much philosophical as science fiction"[21] and "mixes elements of the conspiracy thriller with what threatens to become a profound meditation on identity"[21].

It was also pointed out that "this could be Whedon's most accessible work to date" and "much more than preaching to the converted".[22]


First reviews of the episode call it a "solid opener" with "huge potential for fun (...) which people aren't yet aware of -- and heartbreak people aren't expecting".[23]

Notes & references[]

  1. Dos Santos, Kristin (2008-05-14). EW Party Is TV Fan Heaven. Watch with Kristin. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  2. Whedon, Joss (2008-07-22). Welcome (back) to the Dollhouse. Retrieved on 2008-07-22.
  3. Kevin (2009-02-25). Dollhouse on DVD - some deets. Retrieved on 2009-03-23.
  4. Fernandez, Maria Elena (2009-05-15). Q & A with Joss Whedon, writer, producer and director. Retrieved on 2008-09-22.
  5. Fernandez, Maria Elena (2008-05-15). Industry awakes, plays catch-up. Retrieved on 2008-09-22.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Golick, Jill (2008-04-21). Joss Whedon Strikes Again. Retrieved on 2008-09-26.
  7. DarkUFO (2008-03-12). Dollhouse - Casting Sides. Retrieved on 2008-09-22.
  8. Pilot Scripts - 22 Shows. (2008-12-29). Retrieved on 2009-01-02.
  9. gossi (2008-04-23). After 5 years, Joss Whedon is back on his own TV set. Retrieved on 2008-09-24.
  10. Beaumont, Kevin (2008-05-12). Echo wraps filming. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  11. Blessing, Ian (2008-06-10). Filming on Dollhouse Pilot Not Quite a Wrap. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  12. Sullivan, Brian Ford (2009-01-06). INTERVIEW: JOSS WHEDON TALKS "DOLLHOUSE," FEARS AND WORRIES. Rants & Reviews. Retrieved on 2009-01-07.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ryan, Maureen (2008-07-23). Joss Whedon talks 'Dollhouse' and 'Dr. Horrible'. The Watcher. Retrieved on 2008-07-24.
  14. Whedon, Joss (2008-10-26). What happened when the lights went out.. Retrieved on 2008-10-26.
  15. Golick, Jill (2008-04-22). Joss and Four Acts Part Deux. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  16. Golick, Jill (2008-04-22). Joss and Four Acts. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  17. 17.0 17.1 Sullivan, Michael Patrick (2008-04-23). Dollhouse: Wordly Goodness. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  18. Dos Santos, Kristin (2008-04-15). Exclusive Pilot Details: Welcome to the Dollhouse!. Watch with Kristin. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  19. Feuring, Donovan (2008-05-19). Joss Whedon's Dollhouse Script Review. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  20. Jace (2008-04-16). Playing with Dolls: An Advance Look at Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" Pilot Script. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Fienberg, Daniel (2008-05-12). Straight From the Script: 'Fringe' and 'Dollhouse'. Misfits of Sci-Fi. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  22. Sullivan, Brian Ford (2008-06-10). The Futon's First Look: "Dollhouse" (FOX, Script). Rants & Reviews. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  23. Beaumont, Kevin (2008-06-02). Echo - Dollhouse Episode One Preview. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.

External links[]