It has been 14 years since Sunnydale sank into the Hellmouth and Buffy the Vampire Slayer went off the air, yet demand for a Buffy spinoff is still alive and well. After the successful revivals of other '90s shows like The X-Files and Will & Grace, this is especially true. Towards Buffy's end, there were rumors of Giles and Faith getting their own spinoffs, but neither came to pass.
With Buffy having continued on in a comic book series — and knowing deep down in our hearts Sarah Michelle Gellar will probably never pick up a stake again — it almost feels like the world of the Slayer will never make it back to television. But, who says we need Buffy? As much as we love her, the Buffy universe doesn’t need its namesake to survive. Between the preexisting mythology, unanswered questions and untapped characters, there are plenty of potential spinoffs that can breathe new life into the franchise. Here are five such ideas.
5. Sunnydale, Before Buffy
This world is older than any of you know. Contrary to popular mythology, it did not begin as a paradise. For untold eons, demons walked the Earth. They made it their home, their... their Hell. But in time, they lost their purchase on this reality. The way was made for mortal animals, for man. All that remains of the Old Ones are vestiges, certain magicks, certain creatures... — Giles, 'The Harvest'
We mostly think of Sunnydale in terms of Buffy’s tenure there, but as any good fan knows, the Hellmouth, and the quaint California town that sits on it, has quite an extensive history — one that could make for a long running show. From a Navajo Slayer to the Master, Sunnydale’s past features several characters and groups that could be expanded on.
The series would also be an opportunity to further expound on the vague origins of the Slayer and the world of man. After all, it was at the future site of Sunnydale that the last pure-demon was driven from this world by Sineya, the first Slayer, using the scythe forged by the mysterious Guardians.
Lastly, how could we forget Sunnydale’s favorite (read: only) mayor, Richard Wilkins. If you are going to tell the tale of Sunnydale, you must include its founder, the man who put the town on the demon map. In 1899, Wilkins founded Sunnydale after making a pact with local demons. The deal? Maintain the town as a feeding ground for evil in exchange for immortality. Wilkins went on to sit in the mayor’s chair for 100 years, so you know he saw a boatload of weird, magical shenanigans go down over the years, all of which is begging to be explored.
Sunnydale has a past filled with groups like the Guardians and the original demons, Native American tribes, Spanish missionaries and even the Initiative. It has seen a handful of slayers pass through, an immortal mayor, and the world’s (formerly) oldest vampire and his cult wreaking havoc! Suffice it to say, this town has a plethora of history just ripe for fleshing out as a Buffy the Vampire Slayer prequel spinoff.
4. Vengeance Demon Diaries
For a thousand years I wielded the powers of the wish. I brought ruin to the heads of unfaithful men. I brought forth destruction and chaos for the pleasure of the lower beings. I was feared and worshiped across the mortal globe and now I'm stuck at Sunnydale High! Mortal. Child. And I'm flunking math. — Anya, 'Doppelgängland'
Anya may have died during the Buffy series finale, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a multitude of vengeance demon adventures begging to be explored. Born as Aud in the 9th century, Anya’s first act of vengeance against her boyfriend caught the attention of D'Hoffryn, a demon who turned her into a vengeance demon. Under the name Anyanka, Aud became the "Patron Saint of The Women Scorned," and spent the next several centuries traveling the globe and wreaking havoc.
Since her introduction to the Buffy universe in Season 3, we've learned a lot about Anya's past as a demon. In 1199, she witnessed a sorcerer ascend into the pure form of the demon Lohesh. In the 16th century, she was in the company of the French sorcerer Cloutier and, around 1580, she dated Dracula. She also found herself at the Salem witch trials in 1692. In 1998, Anyanka came to Sunnydale, a move that ended her demon days — more or less.
The aforementioned bits of Anya's globetrotting demon past usually came up in Buffy through brief references or flashbacks. They were never really explored, save for in the Anya-centric episode Selfless. Imagine the many enemies she must have encountered before joining the Scoobies, her struggle in adapting as an immortal in an ever-changing world, and the undiscovered layers of the world of vengeance demons.
A series focusing on the life of Anya pre-Sunnydale would expand the Buffy universe in a whole new and captivating way. Alas, this is one prequel that's success would entirely hinge on actress Emma Caulfield returning to the role. We all know our Anya can’t be replaced.
3. Old Ones
In the beginning, before the time of man, great beings walked the earth. Untold power emanated from all quarters — the seeds of what would come to be known as good and evil. But the shadows stretched and became darkness, and the malevolent among us grew stronger. The Earth became a demon realm. Those of us who had the will to resist left this place, but we remained ever-watchful. — Jasmine, 'Shiny Happy People'
In the world of Buffy, the term Old Ones refers to the powerful, purebred demons that once dominated the Earth. These beings come up frequently in Buffy and Angel mythology, but we don’t learn much about them until Angel. The Old Ones ruled over vast territories of ancient Earth, commanded fearsome armies and were constantly warring with each other. What’s more, for the greater Old Ones, death was not always the end.
While Illyria and the other original demons were battling each other for control of the planet, another group was also in play. When the higher being known as Jasmine came to the mortal plain, she shared that the Powers That Be were also Old Ones, but unlike the others, they were good. Forged in the inferno of creation, the Powers were the first beings to exist in this dimension after the schism that created both them and the pure demons. Eventually, the Powers were driven out by the more powerful demon factions in an epic, yet-to-be-explored saga of good versus evil.
The tale of the Old Ones and the Powers That Be is not just one of the past. These beings are responsible for inciting the creation of not only the first vampire, but also the first Slayer. Furthermore, they have followers who worship them to this day, with those like the Order of Aurelius, the Master and Wolfram and Hart's’ own resident nerd, Knox, illustrating just how deadly the Old Ones continue to be. Seems like a pretty endless supply of story to work with.
2. Illyria: After The Fall
To never die... And to conquer all. That is winning. - Illyria, 'Time Bomb'
The final season of Angel had lots of twists, turns and shocks, but two things really had our jaws hitting the floor — the first was the sudden, heartbreaking death of Fred as she was consumed the Old One, Illyria. While we grew to love the crazed demon, we never got over the cost of having her. Illyria came with tons of backstory that we just began to unpack when we were hit with the other shocker — Angel’s open-ended series finale, "Not Fade Away."
Knowing the series' end was nigh, we hoped for a full circle, Buffy-esque ending. What we got was Angel and his surviving teammates rushing head-first into the apocalypse before the credits rolled. Between the arrival of Illyria and the series finale, we still need answers! Illyria: After the Fall would give us just that, exploring Illyria and her adventures both in the present and in the past, when she warred in the world of the Old Ones. A relic of the past trying to survive in the present, Illyria truly has her feet in two worlds.
This series has the potential not only to show us what happened after Los Angeles fell, but what happened in Illyria's life before she was killed eons ago. Weaving the tales of her past and future would see Illyria struggle with inhabiting Fred's human body, feeling love and mourning for Wesley, and finding her place in a new world, all against the backdrop of the Senior Partners' apocalyptic assault on LA.
Just as with an Anya spinoff, Illyria: After the Fall would only be possible if Amy Acker returned to the role. Acker shined as Fred and stunned as Illyria. While she has moved on to other television series, we hope she’d be willing to go blue again for old times' sake, especially if it means the possibility of reuniting with other Angel alum who could pop up in the series.
1. Tales Of The Slayer
Into every generation, there is a chosen one. One girl in all the world. She alone will wield the strength and skill to stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their numbers. She is the Slayer. - The Prophecy of the Slayer
Most Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans have probably heard of Tales of the Slayer, four volumes of short stories surrounding the mythology of the Slayer and different members of the Slayer line. These tales, along with their comic book companion, Tales of the Slayers, offer glimpses into the adventures of Slayers throughout history, from the first Slayer at the dawn of time to Melaka Fray, a 23rd century Slayer.
These stories — some of which were written by Joss Whedon, Amber Benson, Jane Espenson and Nancy Holder — offer more than any other possible spinoff through its limitless possibilities in exploring history, culture, magic and Slayer mythology. The tales feature Slayers in a variety of settings and eras, including Greece in 490, Tokyo in 1993, Atlanta in 1864 and Sunnydale in the late 19th century, just to name a few.
While Buffy showed flashbacks to past Slayers on a few occasions, Tales would be a completely different experience in witnessing the lives of Slayers, no matter how short those lives may be. One Slayer may only last an episode while another could pull a Buffy and last for seven seasons — it all serves to make the Slayer experience that much more real for viewers.
You may think that Tales of the Slayer wouldn't work without Buffy or Faith showing up, but chances are we would have to go without them. As noted earlier, the Buffy universe doesn’t need Buffy to survive. You don’t need any of the original cast in order to successfully re-immerse us into the world of Vampire Slayers. Sure, we would love for Sarah Michelle Gellar and Eliza Dushku to pick up a stake and make a guest appearance, but that would just be icing on the cake.
Tales of the Slayers has already built extensively on the television series' strong mythology foundation. Couple that strength with how much fans would love to see the world of Slayers brought to life again, and you’ve got a real winner on your hands.
What Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff would you like to see?