Buffy Summers was the hero we didn't know we needed, protecting the world from supernatural threats with her Scooby Gang pals, right at the foot of the Hellmouth. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was full of ten times the emotional power, dramatic depth, teen angst, and genuine comedy than anyone expected from the WB Network series loosely based on a lukewarmly received movie that co-starred Luke Perry. Here we'll take a look at 10 things you never knew about Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
Katie Holmes could've played Buffy.
According to a 2000 biography, Katie Holmes was offered the role of title character Buffy Summers. Of course she ended up on the network a year later, in Dawson's Creek.
Sarah Michelle Gellar auditioned to play Cordelia.
Casting director Marcia Shulman felt that Gellar was "too smart and too grounded" to play an outsider like Buffy. Shulman said she made a "fantastic Cordelia," but once the network learned Sarah Michelle Gellar was attached, they suggested she play the lead role instead, based partly on her prior work on daytime soap All My Children. Several actresses who auditioned to play Buffy went on to land other roles in the show, including Julie Benz, Mercedes McNab, Julia Lee, Elizabeth Anne Allen, and Charisma Carpenter.
Yes, Charisma Carpenter auditioned to play Buffy.
Brunette beauty Charisma Carpenter initially read for Buffy, before she was cast as Cordelia. Over the years, Carpenter's performance helped guide Cordelia through one of the strongest character arcs in the Buffyverse, from vain Sunnydale High snob to a much more complex and grounded young woman who never lost her edge. Not only was she a love interest and strong partner for Angel on the spinoff of the same name, she even ascended to full on goddess status. As the actress herself once told the BBC, "I'm extremely pleased that I wound up with the character that I have." The role of Cordelia was first offered to Bianca Lawson, who was later cast as Kendra.
The original pilot has a different Willow.
The name Willow Rosenberg, the high school brain and shy wallflower turned badass witch, is rightly synonymous with Alyson Hannigan to the millions of Buffy fans around the world. It's hard to argue against the idea that her casting was meant to be. Hannigan even married one of her Buffy cast mates, Alexis Denisof. But in the original unaired pilot, Willow was actually played by an actress named Riff Regan. Plenty of shows recast after a pilot. Star Trek, for example, was famously reworked.
Ryan Reynolds passed on Xander.
In a 2008 interview, Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds explained that while he loved show creator Joss Whedon, he wasn't ready to return to high school. "I had just come out of high school and it was awful," he said, with a non-network friendly expletive in front of the word "awful." Empire co-creator and The Trio coconspirator Danny Strong was among those who auditioned for the role of Xander, which of course went to Nicholas Brendon.
Season One's big bad was Neidermeyer.
He's hard to spot underneath all of the makeup and villainous charm, but The Master was played by none other than Mark Metcalf, a pop culture icon thanks to his memorable turns in Animal House, Seinfeld, and those Twisted Sister music videos.
Scott Weiland loved Buffy.
Speaking of music videos, remember Sarah Michelle Gellar in that Stone Temple Pilots video? The band's late singer, Scott Weiland, became obsessed with Buffy The Vampire Slayer while serving time for drug related offenses. "Hot chicks doing battle. It's like acceptable porn," he quipped about the show's popularity with inmates. Once he'd returned for the band's fourth album, he enlisted Buffy herself for the "Sour Girl" video. When Weiland passed away in late 2015, Gellar Tweeted the following: "#RIPScottWeiland your music will live and your demons will leave. (Love) your #sourgirl."
That Entertainment Weekly story was news to the cast.
Reportedly, most of the folks involved with Buffy the Vampire Slayer learned the show was ending the same way as the rest of the world: via the headline making Entertainment Weekly cover story where Sarah Michelle Gellar said she was leaving. Buffy went off the air in 2003. The series finale of Angel aired the following year.
There were 7 scripts written for a Buffy animated series.
Joss Whedon, many of the shows writers, and most of the cast were all onboard for a Buffy animated series, which would have been set during the show's first three seasons. Incomprehensibly, they couldn't get a network to get onboard. Fans who are still jonesing for that era should check out Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The High School Years, one of the fantastic Buffy series published by Dark Horse Comics.
Buffy's adventures continue in comic books.
There were a number of Buffy related comics published during the show's run, but following the conclusion of Season 7 on television, Joss Whedon himself wrote and/or supervised a new line of Dark Horse Comics titles that are considered canon, including Buffy Season 8, Season 9, and Season 10. IDW Comics published a canon series as well, Angel: After the Fall, which was set in the aftermath of that show's final season. Dark Horse now holds the license to both titles and was responsible for the official Angel: Season Six series and the spinoff, Buffy & Faith. Even actor James Marsters, who played Spike on both TV shows has gotten in on the comic action.