The cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: 15 years on

Feature Louisa Mellor 18 May 2012 - 15:15

Almost a decade after the finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we find out what the Scooby Gang and co. have been up to since the hellmouth opened…

They say you know you’re getting on in years when policemen start getting younger. Well, vampires getting older has much the same effect. Many of you won’t welcome the news that James Marsters, the actor behind Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s follicaly-fried erstwhile villain Spike, is to celebrate his fiftieth birthday this year. Because if Spike’s fifty, it means we’re all getting old too.

It’s over fifteen years since the first TV episode of Buffy aired in the US, and this Sunday marks nine since Buffy’s “Grrr. Argghh” monster delivered its final “Grrr. Aargh”. You may have followed the Scooby Gang since then in comic, animated series, or spin-off form, but many of us that day just gently closed the show’s eyelids, bowed our heads respectfully, and walked away.

But what of Whedon’s cast? How has the past decade treated that gaggle of faux teenagers, big bads and librarians? (Well, okay, just the one librarian). Join us on a quick trawl through what Buffy et al did next…

Sarah Michelle Gellar

The Scooby Gang member who took the nickname somewhat literally, Sarah Michelle Gellar bracketed her final years as Buffy with two appearances in the live-action Scooby Doo movies. She followed that up with a bit of J-horror remake action in the form of The Grudge one and two, and some generic thrillers, though none really managed to cement her position as a film actress.

Following the success of Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly’s 2006 Southland Tales must have seemed like a good bet for Gellar, but nobody quite predicted the cluster fiasco that picture would turn out to be. The blame for that can’t be laid at the feet of Gellar, but her next few limited release and straight-to-DVD roles also did little to strengthen her film career, which even voicing April O’Neil in 2007’s TMNT wasn’t able to get back on track. A return to TV it was, with a string of appearances in Seth Green’s animated comedy series Robot Chicken, some Saturday Night Live hosting, and a cameo in the show that started it all for Gellar: ABC’s All My Children.

The recent Gellar vehicle Ringer (in which she plays identical twins) was something of a non-starter, getting a 22-episode series order but being cancelled for low ratings towards the end of its run. Her next move appears to be a more domestic one, as the actress is currently knocked up with her second child. Yup, our Buffy’s a mum. What was that about feeling old?

Alyson Hannigan

Despite not really aiming high post-Buffy (she turned up in bit-part comedy roles and movie spoofs like Farce of the Penguins and Date Movie immediately after the series ended), Alyson Hannigan has ended up as probably the most recognisable on-screen presence of the Buffy graduates. Her secret? Two long running series: one a movie franchise, the other a Friends-style sitcom. And it all began with one really filthy line…

Hannigan filmed the first three American Pie pictures alongside her role as Willow in Buffy, going from a supporting part to series regular thanks to a particularly naughty performance (and that line), which pulled the rug from Michelle's sweet ‘n’ innocent persona. A short turn in Veronica Mars, some cameos in Mike Judge animations, and her own Robot Chicken appearance later, Hannigan scored the part of Lily in 2005 sitcom pilot, How I Met Your Mother opposite Jason Segel. The rest, as they say, is history. The show has just concluded its seventh season, and is to return in the autumn for another round.

Hannigan has also kept herself intermittently busy by marrying Alexis Denisof (aka Buffy’s Wesley Wyndham Price) in 2003, banging out a sprog, and being (at the time of writing) pregnant with her second.

Nicholas Brendon

Oh Xander. Sweet, loyal, wise-cracking Xander. In many ways the heart of the Scoobies, with your Snoopy dance, yellow crayon speech and later, tragic loss of depth perception. Whatever happened to you?

Quite a bit of theatre, actually, as well as 13 episodes of 2005 sitcom, Kitchen Confidential, co-starring Bradley Cooper, and a web comic about koalas on the run. Nicholas Brendon, like many of the rest of the Buffy cast, has also been a regular on the convention circuit since the show ended, and along with Tony Head, Alyson Hannigan and others (not Sarah Michelle-Gellar, it should be said) provided the voice for his character in the animated Buffy series and video games.

Along with a spin on Private Practice, Brendon has also had a recurring role on FBI profiling crime drama Criminal Minds since 2007, the irony of which wasn’t lost on those reporting on the actor’s recent arrest. It would be indecorous to go into the problems of Brendon’s personal life, though it is safe to say though that 2009 TV movie A Golden Christmas isn’t technically his most criminal act… 

Anthony Head

Tony Head has maintained a very public post-Buffy profile on this side of the Atlantic, so much so that we hardly need remind you of his central role in the BBC’s Merlin between 2008-2011. Before that, there were those Little Britain sketches, and bit-parts in a number of UK comedy and drama series, including the likes of Spooks, Silent Witness, Monarch of the Glen, and My Family. Though Joss Whedon’s proposed 'Ripper' spin-off didn’t come to anything, Rupert Giles has been a more or less constant presence on our screens since the end of Buffy.

Head’s involvement in Doctor Who probably won’t have escaped you, from his role as a demon-y headmaster opposite the tenth doctor in School Reunion to web work, Big Finish audio plays, and becoming the voice of Doctor Who Confidential. He may not have got the part of the eighth doctor in the 1996 TV film, but that hasn't stopped him from having fingers in a number of Doctor Who pies over the years.

In terms of film, we saw him pop up recently as a wimpy Geoffrey Howe in the largely celebratory Thatcher biopic, The Iron Lady, and as Will’s dad in 2011’s The Inbetweeners Movie. Head is currently filming the Percy Jackson sequel, and has no plans as yet to release a follow-up to his 2002 album. Shame, that.

David Boreanaz

One word: Bones. Well, okay, two words: Bones, and Angel. That more or less sums up where David Boreanaz has been hanging out since he left Buffy at the end of series three. His Angel spin-off ran to five seasons, and took a couple of choice members of the Buffy cast with it (Cordy and Wesley, to be precise, though others popped up too in the various crossover episodes), before he bagged the role of FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth in Bones, and there he’s been ever since. In fact, Boreanaz is probably more recognisable to today’s TV viewing public for the crime drama, which has just been renewed for its eighth season, than he is as tortured soul/LA detective Angel.

There were forays into film, but most of them are best forgotten (his direct-to-DVD The Crow sequel with Tara Reid should be expressly avoided). There was a summer sex comedy, an action crime thriller, a girls’ basketball pic, and a horror-com, but none of them come highly recommended.

No, it’s TV-land where Boreanaz has made his name (even if no-one can pronounce it), and TV shows are evidently something the actor has no difficulty remaining faithful to, which is more than we can say about his… Let’s just stop there, shall we?

James Marsters

More than any of the others, James Marsters has remained a card-carrying member of the geek brigade, popping up in sci-fi and fantasy shows on both sides of the Atlantic. Marsters has had recurring roles in Smallville, Torchwood, and Caprica, as well as showing up briefly in Supernatural (alongside fellow Buffy alum Charisma Carpenter), and providing voices for characters in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Superman: Doomsday.

He’s served the geek world proud. No FBI profilers or sitcom characters for him, when it comes to Marsters, it’s all alien super-villains and omnisexual time-travellers. Good old Spike. With that cache of TV work, it makes you grateful his film career never really got off the ground.

Charisma Carpenter

It’s part of Buffy lore that, like her on-screen squeeze Xander, Charisma Carpenter had a good ten years on her high school queen bee character Cordelia Chase when Buffy began. Another nugget fondly trotted out by fans is that the actress and Sarah Michelle Gellar originally auditioned for each other’s roles, something which worked out in the end when Cordy left Sunnydale to become a founding member of Angel investigations with her very own slayer-ish powers (well, migraines, but she got to slay some demons at least). A couple of good seasons went by before her Angel character underwent some seriously weird treatment and left under a cloud the show’s producers are still yet to fully explain.

No matter, because Carpenter kept busy after departing the Whedonverse, with a string of parts on the likes of Charmed, Veronica Mars and recently, teen soap drama, The Lying Game.

Film-wise, she had a recent small role in Sly Stallone’s The Expendables and is soon to be seen in The Expendables 2. Other bit-parts and TV movies were less successful, such as her 2004 sex comedy What Boys Like, which currently boasts the dubious honour of a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Eliza Dushku

Dushku’s post-Buffy and Angel TV career has been dominated by two Fox series, both cancelled early on by the network after two seasons: Tru Calling (in which she co-starred with The Hangover actor Zach Galifianakis) and Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse. Dushku was joined by the man behind her Buffy character’s former watcher, Alexis Denisof in Dollhouse, a show populated by a number of Joss Whedon’s repeat collaborators.

The same roster of TV bit-parts and largely inconsequential movies came to Dushku post-Buffy (including a geek-tastic role in Torchwood spin-off Web of Lies), but none of her movie parts has yet come close to giving her the exposure of her TV roles. It says something that 2000’s cheerleading pic, Bring It On, is probably still Dushku’s best known film role.

Emma Caulfield

Former Beverley Hills 90210 and General Hospital actress Emma Caulfield made such an impression as vengeance demon Anya in season three of Buffy, that much like the character of Spike, her small role was extended to make Anya a series regular. If the rumour mill is spitting out the good stuff, then Caulfield was apparently approached about the roles of No. 6 and Kara Thrace on the reimagined Battlestar Galactica when Buffy came to an end, but let both pass, instead doing a short stint on Seth Green’s Robot Chicken then three recurring roles in TV dramas Life Unexpected, Gigantic and self-created Bandwagon. She made an impression recently in fairy-tale series Once Upon a Time, as illustrated in her witch-y image above.

There have been movies too for Caulfield, though her big-screen debut, 2003’s Darkness Falls is probably still her best known work on the big-screen, and unfortunately not for any of the right reasons.

Danny Strong

Not a regular Scooby member, nor even one of the white hats for season six, Danny Strong’s Jonathan was an intermittent but key part of Buffy. Since leaving Sunnydale, Strong has flitted from hit show to hit show, with recurring parts in Gilmore Girls and season four of Mad Men as well as a host of supporting movie roles.

Most interesting though is Strong’s recent move into film writing, which he’s making no small headway doing. Following a couple of shorts, Strong is part of the team writing Lee Daniels’ upcoming The Butler White House biopic, and of that working on forthcoming Dan Brown adaptation, The Lost Symbol. Not too shabby for young Jonathan there.

Next time, we’ll take a look at what came next for ten more Buffy graduates: Amber Benson, Mark Blucas, Alexis Denisof, Seth Green, Claire Kramer, Juliet Landau, Tom Lenk, Mercedes McNab, Kristine Sutherland, and Michelle Trachtenberg.Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

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Eliza Dushku also had a kick ass role in Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back. I remember that more than Bring It On.

While I enjoyed, I did find the constant reference to various actress pregancies as being 'knocked up quite odd and quiteoffensive to the actress in question. 

While I enjoyed the article and am looking forward to part
two , I did find the constant references to Sarah Michelle and Alyson
Hannigan's pregnancies as being 'knocked up' quite offensive to the actresses in question.
Not trying to go overboard, but was such a term really necessary?

I actually liked Bring it on much more than Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

I thought you could have made more of Danny Strong writing two very well received political HBO films: Recount and the very recent Game Change.

And considering the name of this site, I would have thought Emma Caulfield's romantic sf film TiMER and Eliza Dushku being the voice of Catwoman might have been worth a mention.

Charisma also  thrilled us all with her Playboy photoshoot.

How I Met Your Mother is a "Friends like sitcom"? No, it really isn't. 

No mention of the excellent Radio 4 comedy series 'Bleak Expectations' in Anthony Head's entry? - for shame!

I found complaints about the phrase 'knocked-up' annoying.

Terrible things I have watched out of devotion for this cast:

- Dollhouse
- Valentine
- Soul Survivors
- Pinata: Survival Island
- Suburban Girl
- Repo: The Genetic Opera

I'm sure there's more, too.

Emma Caulfield in Timer is worth a watch if you don't mind a lil romcom, frankly I think I could watch her in most things.
Tony Head as the villain in the Bleak Expectations BBC radio series is amusing for just how camp his maniacal laughter really gets at times.

Clearly a off-the-top-of-my-head-whilst-sobering-up article, or possibly a cursor skim thru IMDB, but it really would have been worth including Amber Benson (Tara) in the recap as she's branched out more than the others in terms of scope. Her indie flick Chance with Marsters wasn't perfect, but had its moments. 

Another thing worth a vague watch is Gellar in Veronica Decides to Die, a Bell-Jarish story of a girl with problems.

also - hasn't *everybody* done robot chicken by now? That Seth Green sure has a lotta friends.

Why do I get the feeling that the writer really hasn't done all that much research on a lot of these actors? Maybe it's because some of the stuff worth mentioning about them is completely missing from the article.

As someone else said, Danny Strong is getting a LOT of recognition for writing Recount and Game Change for HBO.

James Marsters just finished LA Theatre Works' production of Frost/Nixon, which will be released later this year. His band, Ghost of the Robot, reformed and last December released a new album, Murphy's Law.

Emma Caulfield has been writing a web comic called 'Ripper' (about Jack the Ripper, not Giles).

Wish you'd mentioned Emma Caulfield's little sci-fi-rom-com movie Timer, which was a surprisingly good movie with a very interesting concept.

Kinda surprised that you didn't mention Danny Strong writing HBO's Game Change.

Where is Julie Benz?

Yes it is.

Yeah, it really is.

As a person who watches HIMYM, I agree that it's a "Friends like sitcom"

Suburban Girl was pretty rough. Awkward pairing of Alec Baldwin and Gellar

Veronica Decides to Die was alright. If you are looking for another somewhat decent Gellar film, The Air I Breathe.

I can't believe anyone could find the term knocked up offensive.

You missed Michelle Trachtenberg who seemed to spend most of the mid noughties being papped wearing humungous sunglasses, attending award show parties, going to store openings and occasionally "starring" in a failed pilot. 

An unbeatable cast that each brought so much to the show, but I always thought that Emma Caulfied was the stand out, she deserves greatness

I'm totally going to stick up for Dollhouse here.  Did you watch it through to the end?  As of episode 5 of series 1 it went crazy awesome in a very Joss way...

 You just made my life.

Anthony Head also showed off his pipes in repo: the Genetic Opera, where his effortless swing from concerned father and complete psychopath and back again was the only good thing about that train wreck of a film.
Also played a keyboard in a bathtub in Hotel Babylon.

No-one cares about people who are offended on behalf of other people - which is exactly the way it should be. HTH.


The term knocked up comes from a period when slaves were on the auction block and were knocked down in price and then knocked up by their owners... so please tell me again why I shouldn't be offended that the process of getting pregnant is associated with women being slaves.  

Pull your head out of your butt and get over it. 

what? no Julie Benz? Playing Darla on Buffy, she went on a lot of tv series and movies. She's the wife of Dexter!

Poor Nicholas Brendan... he had "Breakout star" written all over him and it just didn't happen, did it?

Thats funny because I dont think we have slaves anymore. Seems to me like you need to stop being so sensitive and grow up a little bit.

Snot a question of people being offended on behalf of other people... more a question of the phrase being dismissive of and offensive to women generally.

Too funny, offense is taken towards the use of a term that the offended have to go to great lengths and into considerable detail just to explain its meaning, origin, and why it should be considered offensive.

Can't wait for part two...makes me want to crack out the box set (15 years on and I'm still as much of a geek)

Wow, I didn't realise I wasn't allowed to express my offence. I have the right to be offended and more importantly I have a right to express that offence in the this public sphere without people throwing up sarcasm or one liners.

It's disheartening. I wonder if there would have been this response if the author had written using a racist or homophobic term. 

And please don't tell me that sexism isn't the same. Because if that is what you think, then honestly don't bother replying because clearly we will never come to an amicable conclusion 

Xander looks a lot older! jonathan's filled out a bit and Giles has gone grey but generally the fifteen years has been kind to many of the cast.

I did. I watched it ALL. It was terrible all the way through. :(

I don't want to say you're wrong, and I'm not a massive fan of the phrase, but I'm not sure that origin is correct? Seems like "knock" has sexual connotations (e.g. "knocking shop" = brothel) .. so your "knocked down/knocked up" sounds more like a (horrible) play on a pre-existing phrase.

You want to be offended by words that you "think" mean something that it doesn't. Get out of the dark ages and into the here and now.  Normal people don't think about racism until some idiot like you brings it up. You are the only moron who wants to make things into something else.  Do you go around in your life, complaining about stuff like this. Oh, Home Depot should be shut down because they sell chains... Chains are a symbol of locking up slaves, thats a no-no. We can't have that! 

So yeah, all you are doing is digging a deeper hole for yourself. You show your ignorance because you want to live life in the past, get over it! Live your life in the here and now. The world really isn't as racist, sexist, and whatever else you think it is. It only shows that you are...


hasnt anyone seen repo a genetic opera.....Anthony head was the repo man ... awesome movie btw

ok....where's part two? That is all......x

Oh look at James masters. I too a double take between those pictures. Man I miss Buffy.

Anthony Head also occasionally guest stars in the brilliant BBC4 comedy Cabin Pressure.

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