The cult classic TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer has just celebrated its 20th anniversary, and remains as popular and relevant today as it was when it began. Though the TV show ended its seven-year run back in 2003, the story continues in an ongoing series of comic books. So, what are our favorite #Buffy characters up to now? Let's take a look:
Then: The original "One Girl In All The World," Buffy (#SarahMichelleGellar) rewrote the Slayer handbook right from the start by letting her new friends (Willow and Xander) in on the secret and happily accepting their help. She also returned from death twice to continue the fight, with her first death creating the unprecedented situation of allowing a second Slayer to be called. By the end of the series, Buffy changes the rules once again, enacting a plan to activate the powers of all potential Slayers in the World.
In the years after the fall of Sunnydale, Buffy and the remaining Scooby Gang travel the World finding and training new Slayers, resulting in the formation of the United Slayer Organization. During a battle with the villain Twilight, Buffy destroys the mystical Seed of Wonder, which, for a time, removes all magic from the world.
Magic has recently been restored, with Buffy and co tasked with writing a new set of rules by which magic will be bound. She has formed a council of allies and enemies for this purpose, hoping to create some sort of balance.
Then: At the beginning of the TV series, Willow Rosenberg (#AlysonHannigan) was little more than a computer nerd, though her hacking abilities proved vital to Buffy's mission on many occasions. After the death of Jenny Calendar in Season 2, Willow's role changes as she begins teaching herself in the ways of magic. Her skill steadily grows over the course of the series, leading to some problems in Season 6 when she finds herself suffering a drug-like addiction to magic.
In one of the series' most memorable story arcs, Willow, fueled by grief over the murder of her girlfriend, Tara, absorbs a ton of black magic to become "Dark Willow." Notably, Dark Willow was the first seasonal Big Bad to not be defeated by Buffy herself — she was only stopped when Xander's love reverts her to her original self.
By the end of the series, Willow has more than redeemed herself, being the one to cast the spell that activates the Potential Slayers.
After the fall of Sunnydale, Willow seeks a magical tutor to ensure she retains control of her powers, eventually choosing the snake-like demonic sorceress, Aluwyn. Under Aluwyn's tutelage, Willow masters multiple new abilities, including flight, leading Buffy to occasionally use her as a means of transport. Initially, Willow is the one most negatively affected by Buffy's destruction of the Seed of Wonder.
Willow then embarked on a solo quest to return magic to Earth, with the journey leading her across multiple dimensions. She has recently succeeded, creating a new Seed of Wonder from her own restored power.
"Being the only one with magic ... makes me want to share it. I can still give magic back to the world. Kinda. It's just gonna have to be more up close and personal. I hope that's good enough."
She now works with Buffy's Council, rewriting the rules of magic.
Then: While goofy Xander was one of the only characters to never gain any permanent supernatural powers, he was a vital addition to the team. Not only did Xander revive Buffy after her first death at the hands of The Master, he was also the only one able to get through to Willow in time to stop her dark self from destroying the World. As he mentions to Dawn in Season 7, Xander's lack of powers leaves him with a unique ability to see things about his friends that others do not notice. While Xander loses an eye in the lead up to the series climax, he recovered in time to take part in the final battle.
For a while, Xander becomes a Watcher-like figure, leading a team of Slayers on various missions around the world. During this time, he becomes Dawn's constant confidant, and the pair begin a romantic relationship. After the destruction of the Seed Of Wonder, Xander moves in with Dawn to embark on a somewhat normal life. His friendship with Buffy becomes strained at one point, after he betrays her by feeding information to an enemy who had falsely promised him help in saving Dawn from a magic-related illness.
Most recently, Xander suffered the loss of his former love, Anya, for a second time when she was briefly resurrected, only to be killed again soon after.
Then: Giles was Buffy's Watcher, tasked with watching over her and ensuring she was adequately trained in her abilities. With Buffy's father becoming a greatly diminished presence in her life as the series progressed, Giles soon became the loving, attentive father-figure that none of his young charges seemed to have at home. Giles departs Sunnydale in Season 6 to allow Buffy a chance to stand on her own two feet, but returns later that season to help battle Dark Willow, and returns again on a more permanent basis in Season 7 when the threat of the First Evil becomes serious.
After the fall of Sunnydale, Giles sets about forming a new Watcher's council to oversee the newly activated Slayers. He develops a particular interest in finding and helping Slayers in difficult circumstances before they are tempted to the dark side, and forms an unlikely alliance with the one-time Dark Slayer, Faith, for this purpose. Giles and Faith later return when Twilight becomes a true threat. During the climactic battle of Season 8's final volume, "Last Gleaming," Giles is tragically killed, his neck snapped by a Twilight-possessed Angel.
Giles is eventually resurrected, but thanks to the interference of his Aunts — who believed they had ruined his childhood — he is resurrected in the body of a 12 year old, while retaining all the memories and experience of his adult self. This came with the interesting side effect of allowing him to retain the enhanced magical prowess he had had in his youth, with a downside of mood swings as he re-entered puberty. Giles currently sits as the Vice President of Buffy's Magic Council.
Then: First appearing in Season 5, Dawn — Buffy's previously unseen younger sister — was originally "The Key," a mystical energy that could break down the barrier between dimensions. Initially an annoyance to Buffy, by the final season Dawn had become a useful member of the team, particularly skilled in translating ancient languages.
Dawn goes through a number of mystical changes at the beginning of the comic, being transformed into a giant, a centaur, and a living doll before finally returning to normal. Soon after her return to human form, she began a romantic relationship with Xander.
Following the destruction of the Seed of Wonder, Dawn slowly begins to fade from existence, as the magic that gave her her human form is gone. She is eventually saved by Willow after her creation of a new Seed. Unfortunately, while Dawn's memories remain intact, her feelings have undergone a slight reset, placing her relationship with Xander back at square one.
Then: Spike was originally one of the series' most prominent recurring antagonists, though eventually turned into one of Buffy's strongest allies after developing feelings for her. He even went so far as to regain his soul. He sacrifices his life to destroy the Hellmouth in the series finale, but is later resurrected in the final season of Angel.
Some time in between the ending of Angel and his reappearance in Buffy's story, Spike becomes the Captain of a Ship full of Bug-like demons, whom he brings with him when he arrives to help in the battle against Twilight. It is Spike who brings Buffy information on the purpose of the Seed of Wonder. Still deeply in love with Buffy, Spike appears to aid her whenever she needs help. The two have recently embarked upon the early stages of a romantic relationship.
Then: The original vampire with a soul, Angel was also Buffy's first love. Unfortunately, any moment of pure happiness would cost Angel his soul. While he set off for his own series of adventures after Season 3, he made a few return appearances throughout the show's remaining seasons. Angel is last seen in the series finale, delivering a mystical amulet to Buffy.
Sometime after the end of Angel, Angel fell under the thrall of Twilight, causing him to lead Buffy and her friends into a trap and eventually murder Giles. Devastated by what he had done while under Twilight's power, Angel, with help from Faith, is determined to correct his mistake and restore Giles to life. He succeeds in this goal, though it does not turn out quite as he expected.
Recently, Angel returned to help the Scooby Gang defeat Archaeus, the demon who had created The Master. He is currently enjoying the company of Fred, who was somehow restored to life with the return of magic.
Then: The third Slayer to appear in the series, Faith was originally an ally of #Buffy, before a series of unfortunate events caused her to fall to the dark side, teaming up with the evil Mayor Wilkins. She eventually reforms, returning to help the gang battle The First in the show's final season.
Early in the comics, Faith allies with Giles to locate and reform any Slayers who have gone rogue (as she once did). The two become quite close during this time, with Giles leaving Faith his home and many of his belongings after his death. She later assists Angel in his plans to resurrect Giles, though is initially skeptical of their chances of success. As the plan draws closer to becoming a reality, Faith becomes as determined as Angel to restore Giles to life.
"I went from thinking Angel was nuts to busting my ass just as hard as him to bring you back. Been wondering if I'm doing it for you or me. But it's pretty obvious, isn't it? I need you, G. Wicked bad. I don't have to tell you about my daddy issues, but I've always wished I told you this... You're the best I ever got. And by the time I got that through my stubborn-ass skull, it was... It was too late to... Just come back to us, OK? Come back to me. Please." — Faith.
After Giles's resurrection, Faith floats through a few odd jobs between the various Slayer organizations. She recently reunited with Angel to rescue their friend Nadira from Drusilla and Archaeus.
Then: Daniel "Oz" Osbourne was Willow's first love. While he was a completely normal teenager most of the time, Oz transformed into a Werewolf during the full moon. During Season 4, Oz departs the series to attempt to gain greater control of the wolf within him.
Living in Tibet with his wife Bayarmaa and baby son Kelden, Oz has his wolf completely under control. When Twilight is tracking the Slayers by using the magic within them, Willow brings them to Oz for lessons in suppressing their mystical nature.
Then: First introduced as the vengeance demon Anyanka, she is reverted to human form after the source of her power is destroyed. She struggles with this, having little idea of how to survive in the human world. This provides much of the series humor in its later years. Anya enters a long-term relationship with Xander, but things fall apart after he leaves her at the altar. While they seem to be headed towards a reunion for much of Season 7, Anya is tragically killed in the series' final battle.
Despite her death, Anya reappears in the Season 10 comic. She is first a ghost, haunting Xander, later returning to full power as a Vengeance Demon. Her return is revealed to be part of a plot by D'Hoffryn to take control of Buffy's new magic council. The plan is foiled when, instead of aiding him as he had hoped, Anya reaffirms her allegiance to the Scoobies, granting Buffy's wish to strip D'Hoffryn of the seat on the Council that the Slayer had initially granted him. Angered by her apparent betrayal, D'Hoffryn burns Anya to death. This time, at least, she could say a proper goodbye, with Xander holding her as she died a second time.
Her ashes now reside in Xander's apartment.