‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: One Mousey Witch From the Series Auditioned for the Role of Buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has thrilled fans ever since it hit the airwaves in 1997. Buffy was an unexpected example of a powerful woman, and the show upended the way teens are portrayed on television. One of the other characters, though, thought she was the right choice to play Buffy. When viewers try to imagine this actress as Buffy instead of the witch she actually played, they can’t imagine how that would have possibly worked. 

l-r: Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Seth Green, Nicholas Brendon and Charisma Carpenter sitting around a library on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'
(L-R) Anthony Stewart Head, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan, Seth Green, Nicholas Brendon and Charisma Carpenter | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Buffy surprised the television world

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The premise of the show sounds campy: teen girl battles witches, vampires, and demons, all while doing her best to survive high school. Even the star character’s name sounded fluffy, emphasizing the fact that heroes can look different from what we expect. 

Joss Whedon, the show’s creator, wanted to make a story that was exciting, but that also addressed typical teen problems in a different way. The monsters that Buffy and her friends fought could be looked at as symbols of what high school kids go through. For example, a real-life problem that many teens can relate to is someone who feels lonely and responds to the negative influence of the wrong crowd. In Buffy’s world, this became Xander feeling unimportant to his evil-fighting friends. This leads to him being approached by an undead gang, pressuring him to join them. By dying. 

People assumed the show was shallow, but it had hidden depths, as Vox illustrates. And its star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, absolutely nailed that combination in her portrayal of the character of Buffy.

Sarah Michelle Gellar was Buffy

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Gellar was only 19 when the show premiered, and she was all the things that are usually dismissed as lightweight. Pretty, young, and blonde, Gellar was perfect as the oft-underestimated Buffy. 

Buffy was described as a former Valley Girl, which was that generation’s stereotypical, empty-headed, popular teen girl. But Buffy was anything but empty-headed. She was smart and fearless and kind of violent when she faced the forces of evil. Viewers quickly grew to love her for her quick retorts, physical strength, and emotional resilience. 

For fans, it’s hard to imagine Buffy as anyone else but Gellar. She looked like a typical pretty teen, but she showed Buffy’s inner strength in ways that inspired a generation of young women. But there was another actress on the show who once hoped she would have the part of Buffy. And the character she ended up playing couldn’t have been much more different. 

Elizabeth Anne Allen originally auditioned for Buffy

When Allen first showed up to audition, she had her sights set on playing the vampire slayer herself, according to Screen Rant. But Whedon quickly realized that she was perfect for a different role. 

Amy Madison was introduced in an episode that showed her as a weak sort of person. She was a cheerleader but it became clear that her mother, who was a witch, was running her life. In this case, her mom was literally living her life, taking over her daughter’s body to relive her own glory days as a cheerleader. 

Amy was a sympathetic character at first. But as time went on, she discovered that she had inherited her mom’s powers, and she started to learn to use them. She transformed herself into a rat at one point to escape a witch hunt. The problem was that she couldn’t transform herself back, so she was stuck in her rodent form for years until Willow figured out how to turn her back. 

Although Amy eventually became a powerful and evil witch, she spent many of her years on the show as a somewhat mousy character in more ways than one. For viewers who knew Allen as the meek Amy, it’s hard to imagine her as the indomitable Buffy

Fortunately, Whedon recognized which actress was best for each role. And the rest is Hellmouth-defeating history.