Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have been the titular character, but it was the introduction of her fellow Slayer, Faith, that really shook things up in ...
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a beloved television series that has captured the hearts of fans with its memorable characters and intricate storytelling. While the show has spawned a number of successful spin-offs, including Angel and the comic book series Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, there were a number of other spin-offs that were planned but ultimately never came to fruition. We're exploring some of the official Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-offs that never got made, including Ripper, which would have followed the adventures of Giles, and Faith the Vampire Slayer, which would have focused on Faith Lehane.
We'll take a closer look at why these spin-offs never made it to the screen, and explore what could have been if they had.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Animated Series
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Animated Series was a proposed animated television series based on the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show. It was developed by Joss Whedon, the creator of the original live-action series, in collaboration with Jeph Loeb, who worked on the comic book adaptation of the show. The animated series was intended to continue the adventures of Buffy Summers and her friends, but with a more youthful tone that would appeal to a younger audience. The series was set to explore the origins of the Slayer and delve deeper into the mythology of the show. Unfortunately, despite a lot of enthusiasm from fans and creators alike, the animated series never made it past the pilot stage.
The TV series, initially approved by 20th Century Fox in 2002, was never produced or broadcasted as no network was interested in acquiring it. The storyline was set in the midst of Buffy season 1, referred to by writer Jeph Loeb as "Episode 7.5." Sarah Michelle Gellar declined to reprise her role, although newcomer Giselle Loren had previously voiced Buffy in the Buffy video games, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Chaos Bleeds.
On August 1, 2008, the unaired four-minute pilot of Buffy The Animated Series was leaked online through YouTube.
When the series came to an end in 2003, fans were left wondering what would become of Spike after his transition into the spin off series Angel. In 2004, plans were announced for a Spike-centric movie that would have explored the character's post-Buffy adventures. The film promised to dive deeper into Spike's past and present, and to give fans even more of what they loved about the character.
The Spike movie was set to have Tim Minear as the primary writer and director with the support of Whedon. Minear had planned a story different from Marster's proposed script. The cast was planned to include James Marsters as Spike, Amy Acker as Illyria, and possibly Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg. J. August Richards was also set to reprise his role as Charles Gunn, who would play the main villain after being turned into a vampire. Whedon revealed that the Spike movie would take place after "the end of Buffy and Angel".
When asked by Whedon in 2004 if James Masters would be willing to portray Spike in future projects, Marsters stated that he would be available for up to seven years following the conclusion of the "Angel" series. He believed that he had become too old for the part by 2011.
The show was intended to explore Giles' backstory, particularly his past as a Ripper, a nickname he earned during his youth as a member of a group of occultists who used their skills for personal gain. The series would have followed Giles as he returned to England and became embroiled in a new set of supernatural adventures.
However, despite generating interest from both fans and network executives, the "Ripper" spinoff never made it to air. Plans for the series were repeatedly delayed and ultimately abandoned, with Anthony Stewart Head later commenting that the show's failure to materialise was a "source of great sadness" for him. Whedon said that the show would be in the tradition of "classic English ghost stories" and would explore the theme of loneliness. Head described the idea as being like "Cracker with ghosts";
In 2012, content for the Ripper TV series began to be adapted for the comic book Angel & Faith, which depicts Angel's quest to resurrect Giles, while living in Giles' London home, which passed on to his primary inheritor, Faith Lehane.
In the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Slayers were a group of young women chosen by fate to fight against the forces of darkness. The show followed the adventures of Buffy Summers, the Chosen One, as she battled vampires, demons, and other supernatural threats. However, the concept of the Slayers and their training was a rich vein of storytelling that was only lightly explored in the series.
In the early 2000s, plans were announced for a spin-off series called "Slayer School," which would have delved into the lives and training of the young Slayers. The show promised to explore the struggles and triumphs of the Slayers as they learned to harness their powers and fight against evil.
According to writer Jane Espenson, the show was envisioned to potentially feature some of the Potentials who became Slayers after the events of "Chosen," as well as other characters from Buffy, possibly even including Willow Rosenberg. However, despite these initial ideas, Whedon ultimately did not feel that a spinoff in this vein would be appropriate.
Faith The Vampire Slayer
In the early 2000s, plans were announced for a Faith-centric spin-off called "Faith the Vampire Slayer," which would have explored her adventures as she fought evil and tried to find her place in the world. Unfortunately, the series never made it to air, leaving fans to wonder what could have been.
Tim Minear was behind an idea for a Buffy spinoff in 2003 featuring Eliza Dushku as the popular antihero slayer Faith named Faith The Vampire Slayer, "I had come up with a pitch. Eliza was gracious, kind and wonderful, but she felt like she wanted to do something new. There is no hard feelings there. But the show was basically going to be Faith meets Kung Fu. It would have been Faith, probably on a motorcycle, crossing the earth, trying to find her place in the world. I'm sure it would get an arc at some point, but the idea of her rooted somewhere seemed wrong to me. The idea of her constantly on the move seemed right to me. And she broke out of prison (on Angel) so there would have been some people after her."
Instead, Eliza Dushku would go on to star as the main character in the series Tru Calling.
When IGN asked Eliza Dushku about the Buffy spinoff Faith The Vampire Slayer, she said, "I just personally felt like... It would have been a really hard thing to do, and not that I wouldn't have been up for a challenge, but with it coming on immediately following the show, I think that those would have been really big boots to fill."
Angel is the much darker and grittier Buffy The Vampire Slayer spin off series that actually got made. It features David Boreanaz in the titular role reprising his famous character, Angel the vampire with a soul focussing on redemption and ridding the world of demons from his LA base and later his company Angel Investigations. Beginning on The WB in 1999 and ending in 2004, Angel consisted of five seasons and 110 episodes. It was originally broadcast simultaneously to Buffy but had a standalone fifth season.
The show revolves around Angel in his new home of Los Angeles with crossover Buffy the Vampire Slayer characters Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) and Wesley Wyndham Pryce (Alexis Denisof) as they fight demons away from Sunnydale. Actor J. August Richards plays the Vampire Fighter turned Lawyer Charles Gunn, Amy Acker plays the Southern Scientist Winifred Burkle, and Andy Hallet plays mind-reading demon and karaoke bar owner Lorne.
Angel sees the gang explore other dimensions, experience fatherhood, and go up against a human/demon law firm which seems to control everything. It is well worth a watch for Buffy fans due to the crossover in characters including Oz, Buffy, Andrew, Willow, Faith, Spike, and more but also because it shows a more adult side of the Buffyverse where high school isn't hell but the world is run by corrupt humans colluding with demons.
Buffy and Angel both included episodes that were either shot or written but ultimately never made it to air.
Corrupt - Angel
In Angel the episode that never aired was called "Corrupt". It was originally intended as the second episode of the series, but production was abandoned, and instead "Lonely Heart" was written and produced to replace it.
Angel producer David Fury commented on the episode Corrupt saying, "the second episode that I'd written called 'Corrupt' - it was pretty much about junkie prostitutes. Not usually what you see on the WB. And Kate, the police woman character on the show... originally was an undercover cop who was addicted to cocaine and was sleeping with men for money, because she got a little bit too far into her undercover work."
The Unaired Buffy The Vampire Slayer Pilot
In 1996, 20th Century Fox produced a non-broadcast pilot episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as a means to pitch the series to various networks. The pilot, which was written and directed by Buffy's creator, Joss Whedon, had a runtime of twenty-five and a half minutes and was later expanded upon and re-shot for the show's first episode. One interesting aspect of the pilot was that it featured different actors playing the roles of Willow and Principal Flutie. Additionally, the high school where Buffy attends, Sunnydale High, was referred to as Berryman High in the pilot.
Riff Regan played Buffy's bookish best friend Willow Rosenberg in the unaired pilot episode. Stephen Tobolowsky played the Sunnydale High/Berryman High Principal in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot which never made it to air. Tobolowsky is a well known actor appearing in notable film roles including Ned Ryerson in Groundhog Day, Sammy Jankis in Memento, Werner Brandes in Sneakers.
Fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer are able to see parts of the unaired Buffy The Vampire Slayer pilot on YouTube.
The world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was rich with fascinating characters and storylines, and it's no surprise that many spin-offs were considered but never made. From exploring the Watcher's Council to following the adventures of the potential slayers, there were countless directions that the Buffyverse could have taken. While it's disappointing that these spin-offs never came to fruition, fans can take comfort in the fact that the original series and its beloved characters continue to live on in reruns, comics, and other media. Perhaps one day, a new spin-off will be created that captures the magic of the original series and expands the Buffyverse in exciting new ways. Until then, fans will always have Sunnydale and its inhabitants to revisit and enjoy.
Thanks for reading "Official Buffy The Vampire Slayer Spin Offs That Never Got Made" on January Media.