Since the last episode premiered in 2003, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been heralded for its progressive stance on the modern day heroine. It’s lauded by hardcore fans as an elegant and relatable metaphor of a teenager’s formative years, growing up inside the Hellish nightmares of high school and searching for self-identity while dealing with the hard knocks of everyday life.
Riddled with sharp humor, supernatural action, and human tragedy, BtVS set insurmountable standards for many of the fantasy series that followed with its multi-layered mythology and surprisingly relevant dialogue. Rather than caving to the generic, dumbed-down expectations of typical fantasy show fanfare, the series matured with its fans as the characters went through painstaking growth year after year.
Over the course of her seve- year run on television, Buffy’s body went through some serious trauma. Fighting supernatural forces beyond her capabilities, passing away on more than one occasion, and going through some serious mental health issues along the way, it’s a miracle that she managed to walk away from the series finale with a happy ending, let alone a spinoff comic book series.
Taking a look back at some of her most heroic moments, the endurance and fortitude of Buffy Summers has only increased the show’s reputation as one of the greatest fantasy series ever created. In honor of her many sacrifices, we’re looking at some of the little known facts that even die-hard fans didn’t know about the Slayer.
So join us as we explore the 20 Craziest Things You Never Knew About Buffy’s Body.
20 She Was an Immortal Waitress
During the early developmental stages of BtVS, Joss Whedon was still tinkering with the concept of a series which would subvert the stereotypical damsel in distress tropes of Hollywood.
Although he always intended to cast a woman in the leading role, it was only after a closer examination of blonde women in horror films that Whedon finally decided on the character of Buffy.
Although Buffy has become an iconic pop culture character and a significant female hero since her 1992 film debut, her road to discovery was not so straightforward. Before her name was Buffy, Whedon imagined a drastically different character name Rhonda, a waitress who also happened to be immortal.
Instead, he opted for the name Buffy– which he thought no one would take seriously. Luckily, the change was met with overwhelmingly positive results.
19 She’s Been Bitten Three Times
Throughout most of Buffy, it was rare that a vamp managed to best the Slayer.
On a few, rare occasions, the fanged villains actually managed to get close enough to draw upon Buffy’s blood.
The first bite came in the season one finale when the Master left Buffy face-down in a puddle after nearly draining her completely.
The second time was an altogether different story as Buffy actually gave her permission to be bitten. After Angel was unexpectedly poisoned by Faith, Buffy willingly gave up her blood as the only cure to save his life.
The third and final time arrived in the season five episode “Buffy vs Dracula” when the self-proclaimed “greatest vampire of all time” entranced Buffy long enough to allow him to bite her neck, giving him temporary control over her.
18 She Became a Rat Because of Saturday Night Live
As the first episode of BtVS to not heavily feature Buffy as a main character, the season two episode “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered” thrust Xander into the spotlight in a hectic Valentine’s Day storyline which saw him transform from the lovable dork to an unstoppable ladies’ man.
Written in a hurry to accommodate Sarah Michelle Gellar’s busy schedule, Joss Whedon stated the episode was conceived as a way to make Buffy disappear for four days so that she could film her first every appearance as the host of Saturday Night Live.
As a consequence of her departure, her character was unexpectedly turned into a rat at the beginning of the episode, allowing Gellar to film all her scenes before she left for SNL.
17 She Gave Birth to Another Universe
With the 2007 relaunch of the Buffyverse, BtVS received a long-awaited continuation through the resurrection of comic books. Beginning in season eight, readers were introduced to Twilight, a conscious dimension that was prophesized by the Watchers Council to bring about the Apocalypse.
The entity set its plans into motion shortly after Buffy awakened the potential Slayers around the world.
Twilight was able to convince Angel that Buffy and her Slayer army would bring about the end of days. Possessed by the entity, Angel orchestrated attacks against the slayer organization. In time his passion for Buffy took over, resulting in the duo having an intimate interaction which set off the Big Bang, which ultimately gave birth to the Twilight universe.
16 Many Alternate Buffys Have Existed
As a fantasy series which embraced standalone episodes, BtVS provided the writers’ room with ample opportunities to get imaginative, including spawning multiple alternative versions of the Slayer herself.
In the season six episode “Normal Again”, Buffy is depicted as a patient inside a mental institution experiencing delusions of grandeur about being a vampire slayer, spawning a popular fan theory that the whole series may have taken place inside her head.
In season three’s “Wishverse” timeline, an alternate Buffy is depicted as leaving in Cleveland rather than Sunnydale. Still, in other episodes, she’s been depicted as a robot or even a barbaric Cro-Magnon with no regard for morality.
At different times, all these versions of Buffy have become a reality, though none have competed with the popularity of the original.
15 Her Powers Originate from a Shadow Demon
Although its exact origins are unknown, the Shadow Demon was an ancient and likely primordial entity whose energy and spirit were channeled into the body of Sineya, a young girl designated to become the First Slayer.
Long ago, three shamans known as the Shadow Men, the progenitors of the Watchers Council, captured the entity, harnessing its abilities to activate the powers of the Slayer by transferring the demon into Sineya’s body.
As the First Slayer, Sineya is easily the strongest of the Slayers.
She’s gifted with superhuman strength, agility, and accelerated healing thanks to the Shadow Demon’s powers.
Forming a telepathic link to her successors, she is also able to communicate with all future Slayers. Much like Sineya, Buffy’s powers originate from the Shadow Demon, making the abilities bestowed upon her demonic in nature.
14 She Once Became a Pregnant Robot
In a controversial storyline of the Buffy comics, Buffy is faced with a life-altering decision after she wakes up at a party believing she is pregnant. After making the difficult decision to terminate, it is revealed that Buffy isn’t actually Buffy at all, but rather a Buffy Bot created by Andrew Wells as a decoy to protect the real-life Buffy from an assassination attempt.
Addressing the issue of the storyline, Joss Whedon said the complicated life decision was an important issue for the character which was ultimately about Buffy’s twenty-something year old search for her identity.
Despite being a hot button issue, Whedon stated it was a crucial storyline which shed light on a touchy subject that must be discussed openly, despite the often frustrating debates that accompany the topic.
13 She’s Traveled Through Time
In a season eight comic book arc, Buffy experiences a temporal shift when mystical time disruptions in New York City begin to affect the past, present, and future all at once.
Traveling to the 23rd century, her story crosses over with Melaka Fray’s, a futuristic Slayer activated during that time to battle the vampires that have slowly began returning to the city’s slums.
Trading places with a demon Fray had been fighting, Buffy finds herself at odds with the 23rd century Slayer.
Meanwhile, in the present day, Willow searches for a way to retrieve Buffy from the future while Buffy experiences the return of Dark Willow in her own timeline. The story is canon for the Buffyverse and serves as a crossover of Whedon’s Fray comic series, with Fray’s co-creator Karl Moline creating much of the artwork.
12 She Has Three Different Birthdays
In the season one episode “I Robot, You Jane” the Scooby gang suffered the consequences of the cyber age when Willow accidentally unleashed a 15th century demon named Moloch onto the Internet. Although the episode is one of Buffy’s less memorable monster-of-the-week stories, it provided the Buffyverse with one of its biggest continuity blunders.
In the same episode, two separate online profiles list Buffy’s birthday on a different date, with the first listing it as October 24, 1980 and the other stating she was born May 6, 1979.
Flash forward to the season four episode “Doomed” and Buffy blatantly states she’s a “Capricorn, on the cusp of Aquarius” which falls in line with Joss Whedon’s statement that Buffy was born on January 19, 1981.
To date, no explanation has been given for Buffy’s three different birthdays.
11 Her many non-Slayer powers
Since the dawn of Slayerdom, the Chosen One has been gifted with enhanced abilities. Included among the Slayer’s superpowers are super strength, lightning-quick reflexes, ridiculous speed and agility, increased healing abilities, and precognition.
Apart from the usual line-up of superheroic powers are a whole list of temporary abilities which Buffy has possessed at various times.
In addition to the above listed abilities, Buffy was gifted with invisibility by the Trio as well as telepathy, which was given to her after she slayed a mouthless demon which passed its abilities onto her through its blood.
In the comics, Buffy is also granted God-like abilities soon after activating all the world’s Slayers, giving her powers such as flight and enhanced hearing, which are later destroyed when all the magic in the Buffyverse ceases to exist.
10 There are multiple decoy Buffys scattered around the world
Soon after the events of “Chosen” which saw all the world’s potential Slayers activated, Buffy becomes the leader of an army of vamp-slaying heroines, painting a substantial target on her back. To deter her enemies, the Slayer organization begins recruiting stand-ins in various countries to act as decoys presenting themselves as the real Buffy Summers.
In the season eight comic book arc “The Chain,” one particular unnamed decoy receives her very own story.
The decoy explains how she was activated during the Battle at the Hellmouth.
She soon seeks out the Slayer organization and finds “the chain” which connects all Slayers, later becoming a decoy for Buffy herself. She ultimately meets her end at the hands of the demon Yamanh, though her heroic acts lead to the demon’s defeat by another group of Slayers.
9 She Eats 3 Times More Than The Average Person
With the rigorous training and physically demanding lifestyle of a Slayer, it’s easy to see how Buffy could work up an appetite. While she’s often seen pigging out after a hard day, Buffy’s enhanced metabolism is never specifically addressed as part of her superhuman abilities.
According to contributing writer Doug Petrie in his DVD commentary for the season four episode “The Initiative”, he wanted to show Buffy eating three times the food of a normal human being to demonstrate her accelerated metabolic state.
In later episodes, Dawn would address Buffy’s unhealthy eating habits when she stated that Buffy often frequented the refrigerator after a hunt.
While it’s entirely possible that Buffy stays in shape simply due to her increased physical activity, it’s more likely that she’s benefiting from one of the Slayer’s many powers.
8 She Had Bad Breath
If you were to ask Sarah Michelle Gellar her opinion on the Angel versus Spike debate, you’d discover that she believed Buffy and Angel were soulmates Despite her overwhelming feelings for the brooding and handsome vampire with a soul, Gellar never made it easy for actor David Boreanaz while on set.
The actors frequently made shooting as uncomfortable as possible in a humorous attempt to get each other to break character during intense or romantic scenes.
For Gellar, one of her biggest pranks included eating a combination of particularly foul-smelling foods, including pickles, onions, garlic,and pickled herring just before a romantic kissing scene with Boreanaz.
7 She’s Been Animated
Near the end of BtVS‘s run, Joss Whedon and his writing collaborator Jeph Loeb began early talks for an animated Buffy series which would re-introduce the Buffyverse through a more family-friendly format.
With Whedon and Loeb executive producing the project, the series was picked up by 20th Century Fox in 2002 with plans to broadcast on the Fox Kids network.
Within a few months, Buffy: The Animated Series had gone from a sure thing to a halted production.
Fox Kids ceased operations and Fox attempted to shop the series to another network. During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter,
Whedon admitted six to seven scripts were completed before the plug was pulled. In 2004, a four minute pilot episode was completed, which later leaked online.
6 Her Weak Voice
Prior to its season six premiere, the musically-themed episode “Once More, with Feeling” was an idea two to three years in the making. As a complete genre flip, the experimental episode was a groundbreaking moment which forced the cast to explore another part of their talents through song and dance.
Given the script three weeks before filming commenced, Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t mentally prepared to sing in front of the world, especially with so little preparation.
Admitting to feeling nervous, she told EW she never felt confident in her singing, which almost led to her requesting a voice actor so that her parts could be dubbed over.
After some thoughtful consideration, however, she realized how important the episode was for her character, prompting her to change her mind.
5 She Can Call Upon the Powers of the First Slayer
As the First Slayer, Sineya was taken hostage by three powerful mages and imbued with powerful magic, the origins of which came from the heart, soul, and spirit of a demon.
Shunned by her village and expelled from her life, she was guided by her instincts to hunt demons and vampires before being gifted with the powerful ancient Scythe which would forever embody the essence of the Slayer.
In season four, the Scooby gang encountered Sineya for the first time after summoning her spirit with an Enjoining Spell.
Shortly after, Buffy began experiencing feverish premonition-like dreams of Sineya, guiding her with cryptic messages on how to defeat enemies such as Glory and the First.
With her foretelling, precognitive abilities, she was able to aid Buffy thanks to their shared lineage.
4 She Has no Vices
Despite Joss Whedon’s best intentions to subvert the Hollywood trope of the ditzy blonde in horror films, Buffy wasn’t without her flaws.
As a role model for younger female viewers, Sarah Michelle Gellar has admitted to being appreciative of her iconic role, stating that she even finds pleasure when people mistakenly call her by her character’s name, but in her earlier years, it was difficult for the young star to remain straight-laced in the public eye.
Although Buffy could be seen almost every week at The Bronze, Gellar has stated she was happy she had gotten most of her partying years out of the way before starting the series. Still, as a young twenty-something year old, it was difficult to retain a squeaky clean image, which included never smoking or drinking off set.
3 She’s Afraid of Cemeteries
Working with a limited production value, Joss Whedon had to get particularly imaginative during the show’s first season when it came to crafting the look and feel of Sunnydale. Filming in Los Angeles, many scenes had to be shot on location, including many moments shot in the Angelus-Rosedale Cemetary.
Despite playing a character who slays vamps, Gellar didn’t share her character’s incredible fortitude while on set.
According to an interview with Rolling Stone, Gellar’s irrational fear of cemeteries became problematic during certain moments. Although the show would later create its own makeshift cemetery in a studio parking lot, earlier shoots required Gellar to shoot in a real cemetery, causing her to become hysterical.
One scene in particular which called for Buffy to be buried alive was so nerve-racking that Gellar broke down into tears.
2 She Has Her Own Language
Apart from crafting his own signature universe, Joss Whedon managed to create a new language throughout BtVS called BuffySpeak. Besides specific terminology which referenced the Slayer’s profession, such as phrases like “dusting vamps” or defeating “Big Bads,” other character were given character-specific words.
According to Gellar, many of the terms used in Whedon’s writing was hard for her to wrap her head around. In many instances, Buffy and the gang could be seen adding suffixes such as -age, -ness, and -y to the end of unexpected words, so “slay” became “slayage” or “Buffy” became “Buffyness.“
Buffy came up with completely new words, such as something giving her the “wiggins” when she was creeped out.
If was a whole new lingo for the lead star, who admittedly took time to nailed the manner of speaking.
1 She Almost Didn’t Make It Past Season Five
At the end of the season five finale “The Gift”, Buffy sacrifices her life when she jumps into a portal to prevent Hell from being unleashed on Earth. In seven seasons, the Slayer had become a pop culture phenomenon, but at the end of season five, the show faced a dilemma.
With a production budget of roughly $1.8 million per episode, Fox Television was eyeing a more expensive sixth season. When the WB Network refused to negotiate, the series moved to the highest bidder, becoming a part of UPN.
With the WB marketing the season five finale as the finale episode, Sarah Michelle Gellar reportedly went on record saying she’d leave the show if it switched networks. Luckily, Gellar’s loyalty proved too strong for her to turn down a sixth season renewal.
Do you have any other trivia to share about Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s body? Let us know in the comments!