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Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a ground-breaking television series that redefined the genre of supernatural drama. The show's success can be largely attributed to its unique blend of horror, humour, and heart, as well as its unforgettable characters. However, few fans are aware that the show almost looked very different from what we know today. In 1996, the original unaired pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was produced, featuring an different cast members and changes to the storyline.
The unaired pilot is a fascinating glimpse into the early stages of the show's development and provides insight into the creative process that shaped Buffy into the beloved series it became.
Join us to explore the unaired Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot, examining its differences from the final product, and what it tells us about the show's evolution.
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.
Fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer are able to see parts of the unaired Buffy The Vampire Slayer pilot on YouTube.
Take a look at the Buffy The Vampire Slayer Spin Offs that were never made here.
What is the unaired Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot about?
The plot follows Buffy Summers' move to Sunnydale after being expelled from a school in L.A. Buffy enters Sunnydale High and meets Cordelia, Willow, and Xander. Willow is lured by a vampire into a trap. Buffy shows up with Xander and kills all the vampires.
Buffy Summers begins her first day at Berryman High School, where she meets Principal Flutie, Xander Harris, Willow, and the British librarian, Mr. Giles. After class, Willow and Buffy walk through the school. Buffy asks her about the librarian. Willow says that Mr. Giles is new, "from some British museum". Cordelia and her gang interrupt them, attempting to get Buffy to join them and leave Willow.
Two other school girls, Aura (Persia White) and Aphrodesia, talk about the new girl while preparing for gym class. They are interrupted by a body falling out of a locker. Once the news reaches Buffy, she finds Principal Flutie and asks to see the body. When she finds the two holes in the neck, she heads for the library.
Mr. Giles is unsurprised by the news; instead, he is surprised that Buffy seems to be rejecting interest in Slaying. She angrily tells him that she loved her life before she knew about her calling, but after losing everything she valued, she now wants nothing to do with it. Xander overhears the conversation in the stacks.
That night, Buffy meets a stranger (David Boreanaz) , who warns her that she is living on a Hellmouth. He also gives her a large silver cross.
In the unaired pilot, there’s a line outside of The Bronze where Xander goes to meet Buffy standing in line. Buffy asks Xander about Willow and Xander says that Willow has found a boyfriend. She quizzes Xander about the man's appearance; when he mentions a 'Lionel Richie' look, Buffy runs off. Xander and Buffy hear Willow's scream from the auditorium. Buffy charges in, finds the blond vampire biting Willow, and attacks him. Two other vampires emerge. Xander and Willow attempt to escape, using a cross to scare the vamps. Buffy dispatches the vamps and announces she is "The Slayer". One vampire runs away, and Buffy is left to dispatch the blond vampire.
The next morning, Giles is unimpressed by Buffy's sloppy fighting and the fact that she allowed others to find out her identity as the Slayer. Willow and Xander defend her, but Buffy is unbothered.
Julie Benz also stars as Darla and Danny Strong appears as Jonathan Levinson.
Who is Willow Rosenberg in the unaired Buffy The Vampire Slayer pilot?
Riff Regan played Buffy's bookish best friend Willow Rosenberg in the unaired pilot episode.
The Californian actor also starred in Murder in New Hampshire: The Pamela Wojas Smart Story (1991) and The Theory of Everything (2000), as well as the television series Roseanne (1992), Blossom (1993), Fantastic Four (1994), Sisters (1991–1996), Just Friends (1996), Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1997), L.A. Doctors (1998), and The Theory of Everything (2000).
Casting Director Marcia Shulman has said that casting Willow was one of the most difficult parts of the show Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
In the shooting script for the first ever Buffy episode, Willow Rosenberg was described by Joss Whedon as, “She is shy, bookish, and very possibly dressed by her mother. The intelligence in her eyes and the sweetness of her smile belie a genuine charm that is lost on the unsubtle high school mind. It's certainly lost on Xander, though he brightens considerably to see her. The new face forgotten, at least for now."
Alyson Hannigan was the last of the original six cast members to be appointed in Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Her positive and juvenile approach to playing Willow Rosenberg was different to other actors who auditioned and was ultimately the reason she was hired.
Who played Principal Flutie in the unaired Buffy The Vampire Slayer pilot?
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.
He is also Sandy Ryerson in Glee and the principal in The Goldbergs. He has also made appearances in popular TV shows such as Deadwood, Heroes, The Mindy Project, and Silicon Valley.
Will the unaired Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot ever be released?
While a popular bootleg, Whedon has said the pilot episode will not be officially released, as he feels it is of poor quality. Fans of Buffy The Vampire Slayer are able to see parts of the unaired Buffy The Vampire Slayer pilot on YouTube.
The unaired pilot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer provides a fascinating glimpse into the early stages of development for the popular television series. Although the plot and characters are largely the same as the final version of the show, there are some significant differences, including different actors playing the roles of Willow and Principal Flutie and the use of the name "Berryman High" instead of "Sunnydale High". The unaired pilot serves as a valuable artefact for fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, showcasing the evolution of the show from its earliest stages to the final product that became a cultural phenomenon.
Thanks for reading "The Unaired Buffy Pilot Stars A Different Willow And “Berryman” High School" on January Media.