Into every generation, a slayer is born: one girl in all the world, a chosen one. Those of us alive in the 1990s (or since then) lucked out, because our generation got the best slayer yet: Buffy Summers. Over seven seasons, Buffy saved the world a whole damn lot, risking her life night after night to prevent Sunnydale from falling further into the chaos any town built on top of a Hellmouth is bound to experience.
Unfortunately, as one Buffy's life progressed and her series cast of characters grew ever larger, some old favorites had to get killed off to make room for others. Oh, who are we kidding—characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer were getting killed off from the very first episode, which is why a superhero like Buffy was needed in the first place. Keep reading to take the our quiz and find out whether or not you remember who survived one of the most iconic TV shows from the 1990s.
(Note: as fans of Buffy surely know, characters have a way of dying then coming back to life in one way or another. For the purposes of this quiz, we're considering a character's final appearance on Buffy as the indicator of their life or death. This means the comics don’t count, at least for our purposes. Neither does Angel, although we have another fun quiz for that.)
She alone wields the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness; to stop the spread of their evil and the swell of their number. She is Buffy Anne Summers, but the Big Bads know her by a more descriptive name—Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Kicking ass and looking good while doing it, Buffy bravely battled the forces of evil and somehow graduated high school at the same time. With the amount of chaos she deals with, one might expect Buffy to find herself near death at least once, or maybe even twice.
Most two hundred plus year old vampires would be considered a serious threat to Buffy and her friends, but Angel is an extremely special case—he’s the only vampire in history who somehow has a soul. This means Angel feels bad about the whole killing people thing, and will do whatever it takes to avoid it. More than that, he helps Buffy stop other vamps from doing the same, at least until their complicated relationship causes him to run to Los Angeles and open a detective agency. Of course, this hardly made his life less dangerous.
Even the Slayer occasionally needs a little help from her friends, and lucky for Buffy, her best bud Willow Rosenberg happens to be one of the most powerful witches in the world. Of course, it’s a few years into the series before Willow realizes her power, and until then she’s a relatively demure bookworm who nevertheless proves invaluable to the Scooby Gang’s operations. Over time, Willow also became a deeply romantic character, doing whatever it took to protect her girlfriend, Tara—even if it meant putting her own psyche at risk.
Blaring punk rock and stealing his look from Billy Idol (he says it was the other way around), Spike made an impact from the second he showed up in Sunnydale. It could be said Spike was used to the chaos by then, as one of the few vampires able to experience love and all the problems that come with it—especially when that love is for an insane vampire named Drusilla. From then on, love would become the defining factor in Spike's un-life, especially after he comes into contact with the Slayer.
Because Slayers are often called at a young age, Buffy and her predecessors found themselves in serious need of guidance the moment they were called. This is where the role of a Watcher comes in, and for Buffy, the guidance librarian Rupert Giles was essential to the hero she would become. More a father figure than a mere teacher, Giles deeply cared about Buffy both personally and professionally, meaning he was extra diligent in helping prepare her to fight the various forces of evil around them.
Every gang of heroes needs their comic relief, and Buffy’s best male friend Xander Harris was a constantly hilarious source of lightness in their dark and dangerous world. That isn’t to say Xander couldn’t hold his own in battle, though, especially after some mystical military training turned him into a makeshift general for some of the Scoobies toughest wars. Even so, Xander was one of the physically weakest members of Buffy’s crew, at times making him feel like an unnecessary liability…or in entertainment terms, a Zeppo.
Before Buffy went full-on into Slayer mode, she was a bit of a stereotypical valley girl, and elements of that style remained in her wardrobe for the first few seasons of the show. This naturally attracted other females of the type, like snobbish Cordelia Chase, one of Sunnydale High’s most popular and nastiest students. While Cordy and Buffy are quick to realize they have less in common than appearances would imply, the two nonetheless slowly became friends as they battled evil. Soon enough, Cordy was acting fairly heroic herself, although she had to move to LA and join Angel Investigations to make the move stick.
College is a time of soul-searching and self-discovery for many people, and this was certainly true of Buffy’s best friend Willow. No one was more integral to Willow’s journey than her first girlfriend and true love, Tara Maclay, who inspired the young witch to assert herself magically and personally. This was slightly ironic, as Tara herself was an extremely shy and quiet person, two qualities that only added to her soft charm and made Willow love her more. Though less physically active than the others, Tara ultimately became an integral member of the Scoobies through her influence on Willow alone.
Giles might be the most important Watcher in the Buffyverse, but he isn’t the only one around. In fact, an entire Watcher’s Council exists, training and preparing future Watchers and potential Slayers alike to best perform their duties should it become necessary. For all his bumbling nature, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce was always at the top of his class, which should have prepared him to guide Faith Lehane when she was called to duty. Instead, Wesley had some trouble adapting to the role, and it wasn’t until a few years in Angel Investigations that he would come into his own.
Not every demon gets to keep their powers forever, and what comes after they lose them can be scary and bizarre for everyone involved. That was definitely the case with Anya Jenkins, a former revenge demon named Anyanka who was stuck in her visage as a teenage girl after Buffy foiled her original plans. Much humor was found in Anya’s transition to mortality, as long with plenty of love, most of it directed to her first regular boyfriend in centuries, Buffy’s best bud Xander.
Suddenly introduced as a 'key' figure in season five, Buffy’s little sister Dawn Summers came out of nowhere in the eyes of many fans. Before Dawn’s role was fully explained, some viewers were even annoyed she even existed, an emotion often shared by big sister Buffy in the show. Of course, Buffy also loved and cared for her sister above all else, making poor Dawnie the perfect target for whatever Big Bad was trying to get her goat that given Tuesday.
After dating a vampire and having a quick fling with a total jerk, Buffy found herself in serious need of a normal relationship for once, and teacher’s aide Riley Finn seemed like the perfect guy for the role. Unbeknownst to Buffy however, Riley was in fact a secret operative for The Initiative, a military organization seeking to control and better understand the same demons and monsters that consumed the Slayer’s everyday life. Buffy still liked Riley anyway, at least enough to hang out with him for a few seasons.
Dark, sexy, and mysterious in all the ways Buffy wasn’t, Faith Lehane was an alternate version of what a Slayer could be without the proper support group providing her with a relatively normal life. Unlike Buffy, Faith had neither a Scooby Gang nor family, and even her Watcher was killed before she could do anything to protect him. This naturally made her less optimistic than Buffy about the whole saving the world thing, though if one was to ask Faith, everything was five by five as long as she got to get a workout and kill some vamps.
Fun fact: the very first character introduced on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was not in fact the title role, but rather a centuries old vampire named Darla, who used her youthful appearance to lure a young male victim in Sunnydale High. From there, we learn Darla is as manipulative as she is evil, having become a true master of chaos in her hundreds of years serving The Master. Along the way, Darla is also responsible for turning Angel into a vampire, and she served as one of the most important figures in his life from that day forward.
Daniel Osborne (Oz)
For as quirky and socially awkward as Willow was, she definitely had a great many charms, all of which were immediately recognized by Daniel Osborne, aka Oz. Of course, Oz was somewhat quiet and peculiar himself, and that was before his nephew bit him on the finger and turned him into a werewolf. Oz is also an accomplished musician, the guitarist of Dingoes Ate My Babies, providing the soundtrack to many of the Scoobies trips to their favorite teen friendly nightclub, The Bronze.
No matter what superpowers a girl has, and regardless of any support she might find from her friends, having a loving mother to talk to can sometimes be the most important step to maintaining her safety. Buffy is lucky enough to have one of the best moms in television history in Joyce Summers, a woman so understand she gradually comes to accept her daughter genuinely has far more important things to do than keep her curfew. In time, Joyce even lets Buffy hold her Scooby meetings at their house and sometimes makes food for the occasion.
After Buffy and her classmates blew up Sunnydale High School during their graduation ceremony, the few educators to survive the destruction had a heavy task ahead of them in rebuilding from the ground up. Lucky for them, a newcomer named Robin Wood was there to serve as the Principal, and time would prove he was a competent fighter and ally to Buffy, as well. Of course, being the son of a Slayer will instill skills in a kid that most people would never have, although this tidbit about Wood’s past doesn’t come up until he and Buffy already know one another fairly well.
Every high school inevitably has a few kids who don’t really fit in, and in Sunnydale, that nerdy, awkward, lonely kid was Jonathan Levinson. Perhaps influenced by the Hellmouth he lived on, Jonathan eventually fought to break this persona and turn himself into a superstar by learning about magic and other supernatural ideas. Of course, Jonathan also had a tendency to fumble his plans in one way or another, even after he joined forces with fellow mildly villainous dweebs Warren and Andrew.
In a manner of speaking, it could probably be argued that all vampires are somewhat mentally unbalanced, what with their undying desire to murder humans and drink their blood. That said, this mere matter of sustenance in no way compares to the sheer madness of centuries old vampire Drusilla, who was driven to insanity by Angelus through years of systematic torture and torment. By turning her into a vampire after that, Angelus also made Drusilla one of his most powerful allies in spreading chaos throughout the world.
Teachers need love, too, and that even applies to nerdy librarians who moonlight as the Slayer’s Watcher. Rupert Giles wasn’t necessarily looking for love when his younger friends started growing attached to the cool new computer teacher Jenny Calendar, but that’s exactly what the pair found after a few choice meetings. Surprisingly, though, Jenny had some skeletons in her closet related to how Angel gained and then lost his soul, giving Giles reason to think twice and seemingly dooming their relationship from the start.
Cordelia Chase might have been noble enough to drop her pretense as a popular high school student to help Buffy and allies fight against evil, but most of her old weren’t quite so understanding about the world being in peril. Harmony Kendall, for instance, would have called it lame as heck that Buffy wandered through graveyards at night, and she never saw what Cordy could possibly see in Xander, either. Of course, once Harm turned into a vamp and started hanging out with Spike, the tides had turned in that regard.
It would be next to impossible to count how many baddies Buffy fought throughout the course of her life, let alone the number of vampires she slayed. One statistic that’s easier to track down is the number of Gods she challenged, because there was only one—Glorificus, or more simply, Glory. Now, before anyone goes and questions Buffy on that one, keep in mind Glory is the goddess of an alternate hell dimension she plans on returning to, and the fact Earth would get destroyed in the process doesn’t bother her in the slightest.
The nerdiest nerd a the trio of them, Andrew Wells was weak, easily manipulated, and rarely seemed to have that great a grasp on what was going on. Quite frankly, his nerdiness was more of the socially awkward variety than anything involving smarts, though he did at least have a base knowledge about magic and vam-PYRES (notwithstanding the fact he’s the only one to pronounce it that way). Either way, Andrew was never all bad, and when Warren stopped controlling him he slowly became a friend and ally to the very Scoobies he lamely tried waging war against.
Tempted though some men may be, the idea of actually building a lifelike robot to serve as your girlfriend is the sort of behavior only a serious misogynist would follow through on. This being audiences introduction to Warren Mears, it’s no surprise that he turns out to hate women more and more with his each appearance, naturally focusing the bulk of his rage on female superhero Buffy Summers. In contrast, the fact Warren is no more than a particularly irritating human makes Buffy largely forget about the goof, until he started committing crimes that can’t be ignored.
Moral grey areas exist with demons all the same as human, and one of the Buffyverse’s friendliest reminders of this fact is a peaceful, loose-skinned monster named Clem. Aside from the fact his species eats adorable kittens for sustenance, there’s really nothing evil about Clem whatsoever, such to the extent Buffy even trusts him to babysit Dawn on a few occasions. That said, this same peacefulness makes Clem run for cover any time trouble is afoot, giving the impression he may be defenseless whenever Sunnydale’s Hellmouth makes is presence known.
Originally introduced as Buffy’s psychology teacher, the Slayer and audiences alike soon learned there was far more to Professor Maggie Walsh than her profession would imply. Deep beneath the halls of UC Sunnydale, Walsh was also the Director of The Initiative, either the highest ranking member of the organization or at least damn near the top. This makes Walsh a valuable ally to the Scoobies at first, though once she realizes Buffy can’t be controlled, the two fast turn into enemies.
Willow’s interest in magic didn’t exactly come out of nowhere, as her high school friend and fellow witch, Amy Madison, heavily influenced her interest in the Wicca lifestyle. Unfortunately for poor Amy, part of this interest involved Willow accidentally turning her into a rat, a status she kept for about three years before Willow suddenly realized how easy it was to reverse the spell. This somewhat understandably miffed Amy, leading to her getting into a few magical wars with Willow to varying results.
Mayor Richard Wilkens III
As Buffy and her friends learned more and more about the demons that surrounded them, they gradually came to the conclusion that not only did the government know hell occasionally reigned on Earth—certain politicians relied on that fact for their success. Mayor Richard Wilkins, for example, achieved his power by making sacrifices to a number of demons, and his ultimate goal is to use control of Sunnydale to become a gigantic snake demon himself. Unfortunately for him, the very day his Ascension is supposed to happen coincides with Buffy’s graduation, putting them in the same place for a major showdown.
Duties as the Slayer notwithstanding, Buffy never fit in well with her fellow students at Sunnydale, and outside of Giles, the faculty hated her even more. Key amongst her bureaucratic rivals was the annoyingly impish Principal Snyder, who regularly served as an unintentional comic foil to the Scoobies battles against evil. Snyder’s main fault was his ambition, always trying to impress The Mayor in hopes of becoming more than a mere Principal at a crummy school with lousy kids—at least that’s the way he sees it.
Even the mild-mannered librarian can be a wild child in his youth, and that was certainly the case for Rupert Giles. Back in his childhood, Giles was a more dangerous sort nicknamed Ripper, hanging out with miscreants and mischievous sorts like Ethan Rayne. As Giles and Rayne grew older, they became natural rivals, with Ethan constantly reminding Ripper of his less scrupulous past. Of course, with Buffy and the Scooby Gang always by Giles’s side, Ethan is rarely more than a slight nuisance.
With the number of demons and beasts running rampant throughout Sunnydale, it could be easy to see how a religious man might start to lose his resolve. Granted, this hardly justifies former preachers like Caleb becoming agents of The First Evil, waging war against Buffy and her friends in preparation for unleashing the Hellmouth and letting pure chaos reign on Earth. Caleb remains influenced by his religious past throughout his conversion to evil, offering long-winded and self-righteous sermons to the Scooby Gang as he wages war against them.
When Buffy and her friends decide they can’t challenge the forces of evil on their own any more, Willow decides to cast a spell causing all potential Slayers throughout the world to suddenly unlock their powers. Included amongst these “potentials” is Kennedy, a tough and assertive personality who wastes no time in making her romantic interests towards Willow known. Initially, Willow is still feeling hurt due to some past relationships, but before long the two realize they might have more in common than Willow first realized.
Suave, sophisticated, and dressed to the nines, Mr. Trick was a different kind of vampire than the residents of Sunnydale were used to upon his arrival. That doesn’t mean his true essence was any less vicious, though, as his goal was the same as any other vamp in town—killing as many humans as possible, and hopefully bagging a Slayer or two along the way. Trick was especially interested in that second goal, sponsoring SlayerFest ’98 on the night of Buffy’s homecoming dance.
The older a person gets, the more their body starts to break down, no matter what sort of calisthenics program they adhere to. As it would turn out, the same thing is true for vampires, and as one of the oldest around, The Master’s appearance barely resembles that of humans in the modern era. This makes him all the more terrifying a menace, and that’s before we learn about the prophecy stating he’s destined to kill the Slayer and raise hell on Earth.
The First Evil
Millennia before Darla turned Angel into a vampire, let alone Buffy getting called as a Slayer, the concept of evil had been festering within the souls of certain villainous individuals, whether history remembers them or not. According to the Buffyverse, this isn’t a drawback of humanity’s very nature, but rather the influence of a demonic presence known as The First Evil, which Buffy and the Scooby Gang tackle head on throughout season seven, ending in an epic showdown inside the Hellmouth itself.