Believe it or not, Buffy the Vampire Slayer ended thirteen years ago. Even scarier, it began nineteen years ago. While it’s been off the air for years, the show has left a lasting pop culture legacy. There are still millions of fans around the world. Both Buffy and its spinoff Angel are staples of Netflix streaming. Both series continues on in comic form with the involvement of many of the original writers, including creator Joss Whedon and actors like James Marsters and Nicholas Brendon. Buffy is also a cornerstone of pop culture academia and it is the basis of several college and university classes around the world.
While both television incarnations have run their course, there were several additional spinoffs that came dangerously close to happening. At various points in time, numerous spinoffs were considered in order to keep the world of Buffy on TV and keep these characters moving forward. Some of them were only considered for a short time, while others came so close to happening that it makes it twice as frustrating to think we’ll probably never see them.
Faith the Vampire Slayer
Faith was the first spinoff that was considered. In fact, it was being plotted out or at least conceived as the final season of Buffy was filming. Once the show wrapped, they offered it to Eliza Dushku, who was so exhausted from everything they’d just accomplished that she couldn’t do it at that point and suggested waiting. It never came together, of course, but writers likened it to old shows like Kung Fu and The Incredible Hulk, in that the show would basically be set on the open road, with Faith doing some soul searching and moving from place to place.
Written by Joss Whedon himself, who was also going to direct it, Ripper had an incredibly enthusiastic star in Anthony Stewart Head. The miniseries was planned to follow Giles to England where he would come into contact with more paranormal fare than Buffy usually dealt with, ghosts that would of course remind him of the ghosts of his past. It had a director, a star, and a network in the BBC, but for some reason it never came to fruition.
After the end of Angel, it seemed the best course of action was to give a spinoff to fan-favorite character Spike to essentially keep both shows alive. The plan was to do a TV movie that would eventually lead to a series, continuing on with the character and also answering all of the questions fans were left with after Angel’s cliffhanger finale. Written by Tim Minear who also planned to direct, Spike would have featured Amy Acker’s Illyria and J. August Richards’ Gunn–who in a big twist–would have been the villain as he would have been turned into a vampire after the chaotic battle at the end of Angel. It’s tough to say why this one never materialized. The most likely answer is that while this was being considered, The WB became the CW and new network heads weren’t interested in old properties.
Another show that was considered, Slayer School would have focused on the way the world had changed after the Buffy finale. Series writer Jane Espenson was the driving force behind this one, having pitched it to both Whedon and co-executive producer Marti Noxon. The main cast would have been comprised of some of the potential slayers who were introduced in the final season of Buffy and didn’t really get the chance to shine. Another character from the parent series, probably Buffy’s sister Dawn, would have stayed to act as Watcher for the new class.
Buffy: The Animated Series
The Buffy animated series came so close to happening that there’s actually a pilot you can watch online. Most of the original cast returned to voice their characters, with the major exception of Sarah Michelle Gellar. Instead, Buffy would have been voiced by Giselle Loren, who voiced Buffy in both of the Xbox/PS2 era video games. The series would have gone back to the roots, set during season one, focused on telling high school stories. It may also have changed the way fans remembered the show, given the inclusion of Buffy’s sister, Dawn.
There’s not a ton known about what this spinoff would have been, but in the mid 2000s Whedon was promoting the idea of several TV movies or straight-to-video movies that would follow individual characters on their own adventures. The first three would have been Spike, Faith and Willow, with Spike filming first. This was confirmed by Amy Acker at a convention. It’s tough to say what ground the Willow movie would have covered, but the canon season eight comic opens with Willow having come back from going on a magical, soul-searching walkabout after the end of the series.
The Buffy Reboot
It may seem weird to consider this a spinoff, but at one point, the idea was to see Sarah Michelle Gellar reprise her role as Buffy to train a new slayer, rumored to be played by Vanessa Hudgens. That rumor turned out to be false, but there was definitely a time when this sort of story was being considered. Joss Whedon would not have been involved.