‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: Dolly Parton Had a Huge Role in Starting Joss Whedon’s Buffyverse

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the kind of show fans obsess over. Over seven seasons, Sarah Michelle Gellar fought off blood-sucking fiends, demons, and every dark supernatural force imaginable. Yet, as much as viewers have gotten lost in Buffy Summers’ adventures, it seems they still don’t know everything about Joss Whedon’s breakthrough TV series.

In fact, the most impressive bit of trivia behind the show isn’t a character detail or overlooked plot point. For as much energy as fans put into the series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s secret tie to iconic performer Dolly Parton was right there in the end credits of every episode. Right after the famous “Grr. Argh.” of Whedon’s Mutant Enemy Inc. And we all missed it.

Dolly Parton performs during The Gift Of Music Concert
Dolly Parton performs during The Gift Of Music Concert |Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ changed television

Before we get to Parton’s connection to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it’s important to note how impactful the show was on pop culture. The series, of course, kicked off a full-fledged “Buffyverse” consisting of spin-off Angel, comics, novels, and other media. But it also changed the nature of television itself.

After Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s debut, countless shows began to pop up featuring teens and twenty-somethings battling supernatural forces. Shows like Charmed, Smallville, and many others continued the trend Buffy started. Whedon’s show used its fantastical elements to highlight his heroine’s own inner turmoil and coming-of-age.

Likewise, Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s representation of the LGBT community broke ground. At the time, romances like that of Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) simply weren’t featured on network television. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer was instrumental in pushing this progress forward.

Dolly Parton served as an uncredited producer

As fans have only recently discovered, Parton played a key role in making Buffy the Vampire Slayer possible. Parton co-created and owned Sandollar Entertainment, one of the production companies behind the show. Although her name never appeared on screen, the Sandollar logo can be clearly seen in the last frame of the end credits.

In fact, Sandollar also produced the original 1992 Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie which inspired Whedon’s series. Sandollar’s co-creator Sandy Gallin and executive Gail Berman are listed in the show’s credits. And Sandollar was very active in the 1990s and continues to be so.

Dolly Parton shares a key detail with Buffy Summers

For decades, Parton has been beloved by fans for her music, her films, and her humanitarian efforts. But this new revelation adds a whole new dimension to her stardom and career achievements. After all, few TV shows in recent years have inspired such rabid fandom and cast such a long shadow as Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

The show itself may even be tipping its hat to Parton. After finding out her role in creating Buffy, fans noted the performer shares Buffy Summers’ birthday. Both the fictional slayer and country music superstar were born on January 19. So it’s very likely this was always meant to be a sly tribute to Parton’s role in helping bring Buffy to life on the small screen.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer currently has a reboot in development. While the new show will reportedly stay in the same continuity of the original series, it’s unclear whether Parton’s company will still be involved. But certainly — after this game-changing revelation — fans will keep their eyes peeled for that Sandollar logo whenever the Buffy reboot does come together.