‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: Ryan Reynolds Passed on a Chance to Join the Scooby Gang

Over two decades ago, Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered on the WB network, and the face of television was changed. While the show wasn’t perfect, it showed the life of teens in a new way, and Buffy broke ground as a strong, powerful young woman. She defeated a lot of evil during the seven seasons of the show, and she did it all with a close group of friends. But now we know that one of Buffy’s buddies almost looked quite a bit different. 

Ryan Reynolds smiling, looking off camera
Ryan Reynolds | Nathan Congleton/Getty Images

Buffy and the Scooby Gang

The story of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was based on the premise that each generation has a slayer. This person was destined to battle vampires and demons, protecting people from evil. In their generation, that slayer was Buffy, a teenage girl who went to high school in a deceptively peaceful-looking American town. 

Buffy fearlessly faced down some extremely dangerous bad guys during the show’s run. But of course, not even the slayer can get by without a little help from her friends. Buffy was a typical high school kid in at least one way: she had a close-knit group of friends who had her back. 

Buffy and these pals were often referred to as the Scooby Gang, a reference to the popular cartoon Scooby-Doo. Like the cartoon kids, the Scooby Gang was often seen in hot pursuit of a paranormal villain. Although the cartoon ghosts and goblins usually turned out to be human, the Scooby Gang on Buffy was busy tackling the real thing.

Some members of the gang came and went through the years, but some stayed by her side to the end. Xander was that kind of friend. 

Xander was a loyal friend

RELATED: ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’: Xander’s Evil Twin Was Nicolas Brendon’s Real-Life Identical Twin

Played by Nicholas Brendon, Xander Harris was a somewhat awkward guy who had no powers except loyalty. Xander made plenty of mistakes through the years, but he remained devoted to his friends through it all. 

Brendon made the perfect Xander for many reasons. For example, Brendon has an identical twin, Kelly Donovan. This came in handy in season five when a demon split Xander in half. Not only was Donovan the perfect person to play Xander’s alter ego, but he probably enjoyed playing a better version of his twin. 

But most of all, Brendon nailed his character’s goofy appeal. Xander could be frustrating, but the audience couldn’t help but love him. However, the character Xander could have been much different. The role was once offered to another star.

Ryan Reynolds was offered the part

Reynolds is well known today as the star of movies such as Deadpool, but he was just starting his career in the mid-’90s. He auditioned for the role of Xander, and his star potential must have been obvious even then, because he was offered the part, according to Screen Rant.

However, Reynolds decided to turn down the role for a pretty relatable reason. At the time he had only been out of high school a few years. He said it had been an awful experience, and he decided he couldn’t stomach the idea of returning to that world. It must have been pretty bad if a storyline including vampires and demons reminded him too much of his school years. 

In the end, it worked out for everyone. Reynolds’ career clearly managed to recover from turning down the part, and Brendon went on to make Xander a beloved part of the iconic show. As popular as Reynolds is, fans of the Scooby Gang are glad he passed this opportunity up. It’s just too hard to imagine Xander as anyone else.