Secrets And Scandals Unearthed From “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”

There’s hardly a television show more synonymous with the ’90s than Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not only did it kick off the resurrection of the vampire dramas, it was also way ahead of its time. Buffy brought a strong female hero to the screen of young adults across America and did it with a spooky and thrilling plot.

Even though we were all obsessed in the ’90s, there is a lot about the series that has come to light since it ended in 2003. Everything from creator Joss Whedon’s cheating scandals to the real reason why Cordelia was killed off the show, there’s no limit to the scandals that might still be dug up from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The Kiss Was Banned From TV

Nowadays, a kiss between two women on television is no big deal. Back in 2000, it was discussed on every daytime talk show and church group. Besides having to deal with an opinionated fanbase, the relationship between Tara and Willow was even more stressed because WB wouldn’t let them show affection.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

The kiss only made it onto TV because Whedon threatened to quit if it got cut.

Sarah Michelle Gellar Hated Season Six

The sixth season divided fans, and apparently Geller too. It was the first season without creator and director Joss Whedon, and writer Marti Noxon stepped up to take over.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

She definitely took things in a different direction, but even though Geller hates it, Whedon defends the season that happened without him.

Brendon Wasn’t Invited To The Reunion

Nicholas Brendon’s post-Buffy problems are a likely reason why he wasn’t invited to the Entertainment Weekly 20th anniversary cast photo.

@Entertainmentweekly/Twitter
@Entertainmentweekly/Twitter

According to Brendon, it was his former co-star, David Boreanaz, who said he didn’t want Brendon there, so he was brought in for a separate picture later on and photoshopped in. Yikes.

Eliza Dushku’s Mormon Past Made Scenes Difficult

Fun fact: Dushku’s bishop was Mitt Romney. That should prove just how deep into Mormonism her childhood was. She left the religion but was only 17 when she was cast in Buffy.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

At first, she refused to do any scenes that were too revealing but she loosened up over time. Her grandmother even called and complained after seeing the sex scene between her character, Faith, and Xander.

Xander Has Had A Tough Life Post-Buffy

The actor who played Xander, Nicholas Brendon, struggled after the show ended. He has had issues with substance and alcohol abuse and was arrested multiple times.

@extraTV/Twitter
@extraTV/Twitter

Brendon even had a disastrous appearance on Dr. Phil where he walked off the stage after Dr. Phil said he smelled like alcohol. Yikes.

There Was A Long Lost Animated Series

Only diehard Buffy fans would know there was once a Buffy the Vampire Slayer animated series in the works.

@gaycomicgeek/Twitter
@gaycomicgeek/Twitter

Whedon worked on the animated series idea with illustrators back in 2001, and it was going to run on a kids network, but it never panned out. No network wanted to back the show.

Gellar Let It Slip The Show Was Ending

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, SMG let it slip that the seventh season was indeed going to be the final one.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

The fans were obviously devastated, but according to rumors, the cast was too. Whedon had only told SMG and no one else, so the rest of the cast learned at the same time as all of us.

There Was Supposed To Be A Faith Spin-Off

Buffy ended up spurring one spin-off, Angel, and after the show ended there was talk of doing more. A show focused on Eliza Dushku’s character Fatih made the most sense but she refused to do it.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Dushku was apparently too concerned about the “really big boots to fill” that would be left if Buffy wasn’t on the show.

A Former Stuntman Wrote A Scathing Open Letter

No one likes getting fired, but one stuntman, Jeff Pruitt, hated it enough to call out Whedon and Gellar. Pruitt had been fired after he told a coworker he thought SMG was a “diva” and that person forwarded the e-mails to Whedon.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Pruitt then took to the early days of the internet to call out the two in a strange fictional tale with Whedon as the “king” and Gellar as the “princess.”

Alyson Hannigan Wasn’t The Original Willow

The original pilot that Whedon pitched to the network was low budget, missing some major plot lines, and had an entirely different actress playing Willow. Riff Regan was replaced with Alyson Hannigan at the network’s request.

@matiasfranco91/Twitter
@matiasfranco91/Twitter

It all worked out in the end though because Hannigan ended up bringing the perfect amount of joy to a shy and insecure character.

Charisma Carpenter Was 27 And Playing A 16-Year-Old

It’s not uncommon for older actors to be playing characters that are 16 and 17 years old, but one Buffy actress set a new standard. Charisma, who played Cordelia Chase, was 27 when she played the role of a high school student.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

For comparison, SMG was only four years older than her character.

People Think Carpenter’s Pregnancy Was Why Her Character Got Killed Off

Charisma Carpenter’s character didn’t come back from a coma after the fourth season, and many people say it was because Whedon didn’t like the actress’s unexpected pregnancy. He had to write the pregnancy into the fourth season and the storyline was awkward.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

She came back for one other episode just to get killed off.

Whedon Cheated While On The Set Of Buffy

Whedon’s (ex) wife came forward recently with rumors that Whedon spent most of the time on set with other women. Whedon hardly denied it, and wrote that he was “surrounded by beautiful, needy, aggressive young women” and that it was like he “had a disease.”

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Uhm, Joss, you should get some help.

James Marsters Hated One Scene In Particular

Marsters, who played Spike, hated the infamous bathroom scene from the equally infamous sixth season. The scene starts with Spike trying to get Buffy’s affection and turns to assaulting her. Marsters said he “was curled up in the fetal position in between takes.”

@buffyforever/Twitter
@buffyforever/Twitter

Buffy definitely was way ahead of the time.

Villians Straight Out Of A Dream

The Gentlemen are some of the most unforgettable villains on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and in all of television. The creepy, Victorian-looking villains were actually created after Whedon had a dream (or nightmare) about them.

@Steve_roney/Twitter
@Steve_roney/Twitter

He woke up, sketched the dream out, then sent it over to his team and special effects department.

The Infamous Fangs

Most vampires in television at the time looked completely inhuman, but Whedon wanted the exact opposite. By using just nose, forehead, and dental prosthetics, he wanted to show the audience that anyone could be a vampire.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Whedon hoped that would mean the audience would sympathize with the vampires more.

They Used Actual Vampire Lore

Not everything in the show is fiction. Although there’s no proof that vampires actually exist, they’ve been documented quite well throughout history. The writers for the show utilized a lot of historical lore about vampires, and then modernized it.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

It also made it more realistic, because the show didn’t use the obviously fictional concepts like vampires turning into bats.

They Built Their Own Graveyard On Set

Rather than having to go on location at different graveyards to shoot, or use a green screen, the producers for Buffy decided it was easiest to just build their own graveyard from scratch.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

They had everything from trees, headstones, and moss in the parking lot of their warehouse. Luckily, no real dead people were buried there.

There Are College Courses On The Show

At the peak of its popularity, there were several colleges across America that offered courses based on the show. Most of them were philosophy and language-based courses.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Paper topics included everything from “Slayer Slang” and “Postmodern Reflections On The Culture Of Consumption.” Who knew you could basically get a degree in Buffy?

Sunnydale Is Really Just San Diego

Sunnydale is the fictional town where Buffy the Vampire Slayer takes place, but its layout isn’t that fictional. A map of Sunnydale was released showing where all the major landmarks were and it was a little suspicious.

@SSGPodcast/Twitter
@SSGPodcast/Twitter

Fans took a closer look and realized it was basically a carbon copy of the Gaslamp district of San Diego.

Angel Wasn’t Supposed To Stick Around

The character Angel wasn’t supposed to be a major part of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was written into the show mostly as a love interest, but it didn’t take long for the writers to realize he would also be a terrific villain.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

They kept the character and even gave him a spin-off show because fans loved him so much.

Don’t Forget About The Comics

There were a bunch of possible spin-offs, actual spin-offs, and maybe animated series, but there was also a comic book that continued the stories. One of the most dramatic storylines that continued on the comics was when Angel decided to destroy Giles.

@whedonesque/Twitter
@whedonesque/Twitter

We’re almost glad that this wasn’t in the television series.

Showing Domestic Abuse Was Controversial

Buffy the Vampire Slayer was continuously finding new ways to be controversial. one of those ways was showing many obviously abusive relationships. Nearly every character on the show ended up in some sort of uneven relationship.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

It was overwhelming at the time, and looking back today, many fans criticize it.

Angel Has A High Tally Of Victims

Leave it to the fans to calculate the numbers you didn’t know you needed. Angel was supposedly born in 1763. That means that between 1876 and 1898, when he received a soul, he had to have eliminated at least 50,000 people.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Then you also can’t forget about the 59 eliminations he did once he joined up with Buffy.

One Episode Is A Fan Favorite

The episode that fans continue to look back on is the one involving The Gentlemen. The Gentlemen steal people’s voices, so they don’t speak much unless it is absolutely necessary.

@FitnessByBlue/Twitter
@FitnessByBlue/Twitter

One episode took place with only 17 minutes of dialogue for a 44-minute episode. The quiet episode is seen as one of the creepiest in the series.

FOX Turned Buffy Down

Considering the fact that the show went on to be a massive hit that changed television as we know it, it’s hard to believe that FOX originally passed on it.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Whedon was hoping it would be picked up by a big network, but it was The WB that would give him a chance and order a pilot.

Using Sewers Saved The Show

The biggest challenge for a dreary show like Buffy was figuring out how to shoot in so many grim, dark places. A production designer saved the day when he thought up the idea of vampires traveling through sewers.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

That way, they could build a small sewer set and light it up, and make it seem like a large, complicated system.

Most Of The Ideas Were Too Expensive

Only some of Whedon’s ideas could be saved by a creative production designer. Most of them had to get cut because they were way too pricey.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

For example, Whedon wanted to shoot a long dream sequence that showed Buffy’s last days in L.A., show her mother, and do much more, but he simply couldn’t afford it.

It Was Whedon Who Didn’t Want Gellar To Be In The Angel Series Finale

Many fans of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the spin-off Angel expected SMG to show up as a cameo for the finale of Angel, but it never happened. There were tons of rumors speculating what kind of drama caused Gellar’s snub, but in reality, it was Whedon’s choice.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

He didn’t want SMG’s appearance to overshadow the star of the show.

Millennial Feminists Credit Buffy As One Of Their First Heroes

Many millennial feminists say that Buffy and her character crafted a new type of young adult teen hero. Rather than being a typical blonde Valley Girl, Sarah Michelle Geller transformed Buffy into a strong female who could kick butt.

Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB
Warner Bros. / MovieStillsDB

Even Britney Spears was a huge fan of the show in the ’90s.