‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Pilot Turns 22: Where Are Stars of the Hit Series Today?
On March 10, 1997, the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired on the WB. The two-part pilot introduced audiences to Sunnydale, slayer mythology, and an entirely new kind of teen drama. As they say in the opening: Every generation, a slayer is born — and for this generation, a phenomenon was born.
The series, which was a sort-of sequel to the film of the same name, not only helped to launch a pop culture fascination with vampires and other mythical creatures, but it launched the careers of its stars. Here’s what the actors from the pilot have been up to since the show ended in 2003.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (“Buffy Summers”)
The eponymous star was the heart and soul of the series. Prior to landing her career-making role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Gellar was a regular on the soap opera All My Children. During the show’s run, Gellar scored roles in numerous films, including Cruel Intentions, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and the live-action Scooby-Doo movies.
During Buffy, Gellar married her frequent co-star Freddie Prinze Jr., with whom she had two children. Gellar has gotten into voice acting, as well as starring in two short-lived series: Ringer and The Crazy Ones, opposite Robin Williams. Today, she is focused on her cooking startup Foodstirs. Gellar is scheduled to star in an upcoming miniseries, Sometimes I Lie.
Alyson Hannigan (“Willow Rosenberg”)
Fun fact: Hannigan was not the first actor cast as Willow Rosenberg, Buffy’s super smart best friend-turned-powerful witch. Hannigan came aboard after the unaired pilot was shot, and really made the part her own. Like Gellar, Hannigan had been acting since childhood, but Buffy was her breakout role. During the show’s run, she began appearing in the American Pie movie series.
Not long after Buffy, Hannigan landed a starring role in the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, which aired until 2014. Hannigan married her Buffy co-star, Alexis Denisof, in 2003, and they have two children. At present, Hannigan is the host of the magic competition show Penn & Teller: Fool Us.
Nicholas Brendon (“Xander Harris”)
Xander Harris is the final member of the original trio of friends, and though he doesn’t have the same kind of powers as his cohorts, he brings a lot to the team. Brendon was brand new to acting when he landed the role of Xander. After the show ended, he stayed in the greater Buffy universe, writing for the canonical comic books.
Brendon’s acting career never really took off after Buffy. He has had recurring roles on series such as Criminal Minds, Private Practice, and Faking It. Sadly, Brendon has made the news for his struggles with addiction, numerous arrests, and various incidents of violence.
Anthony Stewart Head (“Rupert Giles”)
Mr. Giles is a librarian at Sunnydale High School when Buffy arrives there, but she soon learns that he is also her Watcher, and he becomes much more to her over the series. Both before and since Buffy, Head has been an accomplished actor on stage and screen. He is also well-known for his roles on Merlin and Little Britain.
David Boreanaz (“Angel”)
Buffy falls in love with Angel, a vampire with a soul, and the two have an on-again, off-again relationship over the first few seasons of the show. Boreanaz portrayed the role on the spinoff series Angel, which was canceled in 2004. The actor went on to star on the crime drama Bones for all 12 seasons. Today, he stars on the military drama SEAL Team.
Charisma Carpenter (“Cordelia Chase”)
Cordelia is the most popular girl at Sunnydale High School, but she soon becomes a member of the Scooby Gang despite her dislike of all things supernatural. Carpenter left Buffy after Season 3 with Boreanaz and went on to play Cordelia on Angel. Since the end of both series, Carpenter has stayed busy with TV roles on series like Veronica Mars, Greek, and The Lying Game. She also starred as Lacy in the Expendables films.