In the endearing folklore of the Buffyverse, the only thing more important than Buffy in the grander scheme of things are the vampires that she hunts. There would be no Vampire Slayer without vampires. The ever growing lore of vampires has been a part of pop culture for several decades now, but when Buffy the Vampire Slayer hit the airwaves, they were able to re-introduce vampires to audiences in a way that felt fresh and brand new. The show helped make vampires terrifying in a way that they had not been in many years at that point, and the show simultaneously made these same vampires appealing in a way that would inspire later works of fiction like The Vampire Diaries, Being Human, and Crazyhead.
The way that the vampires turned out on the show wound up being a perfect representation of vampires, but it is a personification of vampires that almost wound up being very different. A lot of things regarding the show and its vampires that we saw on-screen were happy accidents that were planned to happen at the very last minute. And, in other cases, things regarding key aspects of the vampires — such as the makeup prosthetic — quickly proved troublesome for the actors playing them behind the scenes. For more details on such instances, read below.
15. VAMPIRES TURNED TO DUST FOR BUDGET REASONS
One thing that helped distinguish the Buffyverse’s special brand of vampires from any other is the fact that their vampires would turn to dust after every staking. While it proved to be a cool effect that resonated with audiences and influenced how many other creators would handle the on-screen deaths of their vampires, it would a last minute decision made to save money. The fact that a vampire’s clothes would be dusted along with their host was done because it would cost Whedon and Co. more money.
It would have required for the actor’s costume to be removed or doubled. Plus, at the time, meshing CGI dusting with live action clothes proved to be difficult. For the sake of the budget, the clothes would disappear along with the vamp.
14. ANGEL WASN’T ALWAYS SUPPOSED TO BE A VAMPIRE
During the season one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer called “Angel,” audiences finally discovered who the mysterious Angel was after he spent previous episodes lurking in the shadows without a hint as to who he was or why he was helping Buffy. It turned out that he was a vampire with a soul, but the writing staff never planned this to be the case from the moment Angel made his on-screen debut. In fact, it wasn’t until they started writing the episode that they came up with the vampire reveal.
Up until then, he was just a weird guy who randomly showed up to give Buffy advice. At one point in the idea process, writers theorized that Angel could be a literal angel who helped Buffy because he needed to do a certain number of good deeds before he could regain access back into heaven.
13. JULIE BENZ WAS ALLERGIC TO THE VAMP PROSTHETICS
Between her seasons spent on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Julie Benz essentially spent four seasons playing Darla. More importantly, she spent all that time wearing prosthetic makeup for the seasons where Darla vamps out. The first time that she tried the makeup on, Benz wound up having a bad allergic reaction to the prosthetic makeup. It was so bad that from that moment on, she had to test the makeup out at the start of every episode before filming.
Benz would go on to say that “Taking that makeup off, it was like having six layers of skin ripped off your face every time. It was miserable and the contact lenses were terrible. I don’t wear contacts and I don’t know how people do it, sticking things in their eyeballs all the time.”
12. DYING HIS HAIR BLOND GAVE JAMES MARSTERS PROBLEMS
Easily the most distinguishable feature of Spike that separates him from any other vampire is his bleach blond hair. Funnily enough, that is the one aspect of the character that James Marsters always hated, or rather he hated the process of dying his hair. As Marsters explained once in an interview, dying his hair blond would cause his scalp to blister, causing a strange pus discharge to run down his face.
This pus would even leak down his face during scenes. When it first started happening, cast and crew were horrified and worried about Marsters’ safety. But after going through the process for the better part of five years, it became a regular thing to see on the set. Rather than get worried, Marsters just had to be wiped down in between scenes.
11. DRUSILLA RUNS A CULT
In the present day continuity of the Buffyverse, the last time we saw Drusilla was during season five of Buffy when she tried to rekindle her romance with Spike, only to find out that he’d rather be with Buffy. From there, she disappeared and we never saw her on-screen again (other than flashbacks, of course). Thankfully, fans of Dru manage to get their closure in the comic book continuation. We learn there that after leaving Sunnydale after Spike broke her heart, she was admitted into a mental asylum.
After a Las Vegas encounter with Willow and Spike, Willow admitted Drusilla into rehab in hopes that she’d become sane and swear off eating human blood. While she did become sane upon leaving, she did also start running a cult called Mother Superior that consisted of both humans and vamps.
10. THE ANOINTED ONE WAS THE ORIGINAL SEASON TWO BIG BAD
Although his tenure on the show was brief enough for any fan to easily forget, The Anointed One originally had much bigger plans on the show. From the moment he appeared in season one, he was set up as not only a key member of the Order of Aurelius, the prophecy foretold that he would be the one to lead Buffy straight to hell. Whedon even confirmed that there were plans to make The Anointed One the Big Bad of season two, but they never considered one obvious thing: child actors grow up.
They realized it was going to be hard to have Andrew J. Ferchland play a vampire who never ages, while he was in the middle of puberty. So, in the third episode of season two, The Anointed One was killed off and replaced by Spike and Drusilla as co-Big Bads.
9. THERE’S A WHOLE MASTER BACKSTORY WE NEVER GOT TO SEE
The Master spends the entirety of season one as the show’s Big Bad and in that time, we never learn too much about The Master himself. We see enough of him to get a good idea for what his personality is like, but we are never told or shown a glimpse of his life before he was a vampire. Although we never see that side of The Master, Joss Whedon compiled an entire backstory for him.
Whedon revealed some of The Master’s origin story during the DVD commentary for “Welcome to the Hellmouth.” The Master’s real name is Heinrich Joseph Nest, he likely hails from Germany (which explains the character’s parallels with Nosferatu), and he is 600 years old, although his 1609 flashback in “Darla” suggests he has to be older.
8. DRACULA WAS A LAST MINUTE ADDITION
The fifth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer started off with a bang when the writers decided to have their title character square off against her biggest challenge yet: the legendary Dracula. Interestingly enough, it was not until the very last minute that Dracula was planned to appear in the episode as Dracula himself.
Writer Marti Noxon once revealed that the vampire in question was originally just a Dracula-lite villain, or as Noxon put it herself, “just another vampire who rode a horse and was cool…like Dracula.” It wasn’t until Joss Whedon said “Why not [just make him] Dracula?” that he reminded the writer’s room that Dracula was in the public domain. And so, that cool vampire that was like Dracula was turned into Dracula.
7. MR. TRICK AUDITIONED FOR SPIKE
In the season three episode “Faith, Hope & Trick,” we are introduced to the character of Mr. Trick. Mr. Trick has an enduring presence throughout the season as a minion to Kakistos, and later, the season three Big Bad, The Mayor. This is until the episode “Consequences” when Mr. Trick is killed off. All this time, Mr. Trick was played by K. Todd Freeman.
His run as Mr. Trick was short (five episodes), but Freeman could have had a much longer lasting role on the show had he won the role that he originally auditioned for. A season beforehand, he auditioned for the character of Spike. While that role went to James Marsters, Freeman impressed casting agents so much that they brought him back to play Mr. Trick a year later.
6. SPIKE’S MOM WAS CREATED TO RESEMBLE BUFFY
In the episodes “Fool for Love,” and “Lies My Parents Told Me,” we are told the origin story of Spike before he turned into a vampire. When he was just mild mannered human William Pratt, he had a mother named Anne who grew deathly ill with tuberculosis. After being sired by Drusilla, Spike came home and sired his mother with hopes that she’d be cured of the disease.
This plan went sour when, in her vampire state, Anne tried to seduce her son and Spike had no choice but to stake her. If this sounds oddly oedipal, it’s intentional. Writer/director David Fury once revealed that Caroline Lagerfelt was cast as Anne because she looked like an older Sarah Michelle Gellar. Incidentally, Anne is Buffy’s middle name.
5. JOSS WHEDON WANTED ERIC BALFOUR IN THE OPENING CREDITS
Eric Balfour — best recognized as Gabe from Six Feet Under — was in the very first couple episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He played Jesse McNally, a close friend to Willow and Xander. The episodes set things up as if Jesse would have a recurring role as one of the main cast members, but he was quickly turned into a vampire and then staked.
This move was surprising by itself, by Joss Whedon wanted viewers to be even more surprised by Jesse’s early vamp turn and death by inserting Balfour into the opening credits. These plans fell through when he realized he didn’t have enough budget for two separate opening credits. He was, however, able to commence his plans a few years later when he added Amber Benson to the season six opening before he killed her off.
4. WE EVENTUALLY FIND OUT WHO CREATED VAMPIRES
From the very beginning of the Buffyverse, vampires were always just there with no explanation as to how they came to earth or how they were created in the first place; how they came to be. We as an audience were quick to accept this because the reason for their existence never mattered in the overall plot, but we still get an answer as to what (or, rather, who) created the vampires.
In the season nine comic book continuation of Buffy, we are told the story of Maloker, an Old One who wanted to create a new breed of an army he hoped to use to stop humans from using the magic of the Old Ones. He did so by creating vampires, but his plan was unsuccessful. The battle between vampires and humans ended with Maloker being sealed in The Deeper Well.
3. IN THE COMICS, GUNN BECOMES A VAMPIRE
From his introduction as a guest star in the Angel season one episode “War Zone,” to his elevated role as a series regular starting in season two, and right up until his final appearance in the series finale, Charles Gunn was a close ally to Angel. In the comic book continuation After the Fall, they become enemies. During the final battle that the series finale left off at, Gunn is severely wounded and tended to by Angel.
After Angel leaves his side to focus on the battle, a group of vampires take Gunn and sire him. From there, Gunn grew an intense hatred for Angel, who he blamed for being turned. Eventually, Angel goads Gunn into killing him, which forces the Senior Partners to turn the apocalyptic city of LA back to the way it was before the battle, reverting Gunn’s vampirism.
2. BRIAN THOMPSON PLAYS VAMPIRE LUKE, AND THE JUDGE
Brian Thompson is best remembered for playing minor Big Bad, The Judge, in season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Despite his face being covered by layers upon layers of blue makeup, Brian Thompson’s facial features should be distinct enough to look familiar to longtime viewers. If he does look familiar, it is because he appeared in the first episode of the show.
He did not play The Judge, but he did play one of the very first vampires to ever appear on-screen in the history of the series, Luke. Luke was the main acolyte of The Master’s Order of Aurelius, before he was staked by Buffy in the second episode. Still, a far much gruesome fate than what The Judge suffered in season two.
1. THE BUDAPEST LINE FROM THE AVENGERS ORIGINATED ON BUFFY
As evident from the state of his Buffyverse, and his entire Whedonverse for that matter, Joss Whedon likes to include details in his scripts that connect together all of his previous works. Sometimes, these details are subtle and minuscule, while others are completely world changing and hard not to notice. One of his subtler nods to his old material appears during the climactic battle of The Avengers when Hawkeye and Black Widow exchange quips about a previous battle that they had in Budapest.
Fanboys and fangirls chomped at the bit to theorize what happened in Budapest, but in reality, it’s just a callback to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Angel” from season one when Darla asked Angel if he remembers the chaos they once stirred in Budapest.
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