Pop culture was never the same after Buffy Summers started turning the undead into piles of dust in 90s hit teen-series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Along with delivering a banging theme tune, messages of female empowerment, the series’ singular blend of horror, teen drama, action, and humor changed what was possible in popular media. It helped make serial storytelling more popular on primetime TV, upped audience expectations for clever, snarky dialogue, helped herald in the age of geek chic, and made us all realize that a word like “apocalypse” could — somehow — have a plural form.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” concluded in 2003 with its 7th season and a year later the spin-off series “Angel” was canceled. Since then, no live action media from the Buffyverse has seen the light of day. Keep reading if you’d like to know what happened to Buffy and the rest of the Scooby-Gang.
1. Sarah Michelle Gellar
For seven seasons, Sarah Michelle Gellar played Buffy Summers — the latest in a long line of Slayers tapped to wage war on demonkind. After Sunnydale made its final plummet into the Hellmouth, Gellar left Buffy behind seemingly for good. While the character appears in one of the final episodes of “Angel,” it wasn’t Gellar playing Buffy and you never see the actress’ face. As recently as 2019, Gellar’s made it clear she has no interest in returning to the role.
Regardless she’s been keeping busy both off and on camera. The year after BTVS ended she starred in the supernatural horror film “The Grudge” as the main character Karen. She reprised the role for the 2006 sequel, and that same year starred in the dystopian thriller “Southland Tales” alongside Dwayne Johnson and Justin Timberlake. She’s also done a lot of great voice work on shows like “Robot Chicken,” “Star Wars Rebels,” and “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe,” and in 2015 she co-founded the e-commerce startup Foodstirs.
2. Nicholas Brendon
While there’s always enough humor to go around on “Buffy,” Xander Harris is an enduring source of laughs, always ready with just the right amount of snark in even the most dire of circumstances.
Brendon’s gone through some steep ups and downs since the end of “Buffy.” His first post-Buffy regular series role — as pastry chef Seth Richmann on the culinary sitcom “Kitchen Confidential” — ended when the series was axed after 13 episodes. He enjoyed memorable recurring roles on shows like “Private Practice” and “Criminal Minds,” and starred in the acclaimed 2013 surreal thriller “Coherence.” The following year he returned to the world of BTVS by co-writing Season 10 of the Dark Horse Comics series.
3. Alyson Hannigan
Of the original four that made up the Scooby Gang, perhaps no one changed more over the course of the series than Willow Rosenberg. Starting the series as a socially awkward, computer-savvy nerd holding a torch for Xander, Willow eventually becomes a powerful witch and comes out as gay in Season 4.
While diehard BTVS fans will always know Hannigan best as Willow, she’s also known as Michelle — the geeky girl with her long list of band camp stories — in the “American Pie” film series. Two months after the BTVS finale, Hannigan reprised the role in 2003’s “American Wedding” and later that year she married her BTVS co-star Alexis Denisof. She returned to the role of Michelle once more in 2012’s “American Reunion.”
Two years later, Hannigan made one of the biggest splashes of her career as Lily on the popular sitcom “How I Met Your Mother.” More recently, you may have heard her voicing the titular girl’s mother Claire on the animated Disney series “Fancy Nancy.”
4. Anthony Stewart Head
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” couldn’t have been complete without a bookish Englishman who knows more about the supernatural than Neil deGrasse Tyson knows about the stars. Filling that role is Anthony Stewart Head as librarian, watcher, and magic store owner Rupert Giles.
Head went right from Sunnydale to London, playing the Prime Minister in the British sketch comedy series “Little Britain.” He then showed up as a sadistic assassin in the 2008 horror rock musical “Repo! The Genetic Opera.” Among many other roles, he’s King Arthur’s tyrannical father Uther in “Merlin” and plays another Rupert — Rupert Mannion — in the AppleTV+ comedy “Ted Lasso.”
For years, there was talk of Head reprising the role of Rupert Giles in either a regular series, mini-series, or one-off special called “Ripper.” But between its time on the back burner and the scandals Joss Whedon’s been dealing with, we wouldn’t expect to see it anytime soon.
5 David Boreanaz
One of the most heartbreaking dramas of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is the doomed love between its titular hero and the vampire Angel. Cursed with a soul, Angel is haunted by the evil he’s done, and in Season 2 he loses his soul and becomes one of Buffy’s most sadistic and cruel enemies.
After Buffy and her friends graduated from high school, David Boreanaz struck out on his own in the spin-off series “Angel.” The series finds the soulful vampire joined by other BTVS alums Charisma Carpenter and Alexis Denisof — among others — in his new private eye agency in L.A. “Angel” was canceled in 2004, but it didn’t take Boreanaz long to find his footing. The following year he found another of his signature roles: FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth on the crime procedural “Bones.” The crime dramedy enjoyed 12 successful seasons, and since then Boreanaz has been playing Master Chief Jason Hayes on the CBS military drama “SEAL Team.”
6. James Marsters
Initially meant to be a minor bad guy, the Billy Idol-flavored vampire Spike had instant appeal with fans. Neutered with a microchip that stops him from attacking humans, Spike becomes a series regular in Season 5, and even a love interest for Buffy in the show’s final two seasons.
James Marsters wasn’t completely done with Spike when BTVS ended. Though he sacrifices himself in the series finale, he’s brought back — initially as a ghost — in the final season of “Angel.” Plans for a “Spike” spin-off TV movie written by Marsters died on the vine, and in 2014 Dark Horse Comics released the graphic novel “Spike: Into the Light,” based on the unmade movie.
Marsters has never stopped acting. After “Angel” he played a captain on “Torchwood,” a terrorist on “Caprica” and Brainiac 5 on “Smallville.” He was the villain Lord Piccolo in the 2009 live-action adaptation “Dragonball Evolution” and more recently the troubled scientific genius Victor Stein in “Runaways.”
7. Emma Caulfield Ford
First appearing in Season 3’s “The Wish” as a powerful vengeance demon, Anya eventually switches sides to the good guys and becomes Xander’s main squeeze. Her irrational fear of bunny rabbits becomes legendary and sadly she’s one of the heroes to fall in the series finale (though a bunny is not involved).
While Anya remains the role for which Emma Caulfield Ford is best known, that hasn’t stopped her from inhabiting new characters. She’s made memorable appearances in shows like CW’s “Supergirl,” AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead,” and the web series “Husbands.” She also plays the Blind Witch known for planning to gobble up Hansel and Gretel in the ABC fantasy drama “Once Upon a Time.”
Caulfield made one of her biggest splashes since BTVS in 2021 as Dottie in the first Disney+ original TV series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “WandaVision.” While her role is only a recurring one in the mini-series, much of the fan speculation about the show focused on Dottie and whether or not she was secretly the main antagonist.
8. Michelle Trachtenberg
In the final moments of the Season 5 premiere, BTVS fans were shocked to discover that the eponymous vampire slayer was no longer the only Summers girl. Without any immediate explanation, the young Dawn Summers (Michelle Trachtenberg) appears in the final moments of “Buffy vs. Dracula” and in spite of her bizarre origin, she remains with Buffy and her friends until the end of the series.
Michelle Trachtenberg did pretty well after BTVS ended. She enjoyed a recurring role on the acclaimed HBO drama “Six Feet Under,” starred as the science prodigy Casey in 2005’s “The Ice Princess,” and appeared in the 2009 fantasy comedy “17 Again.” In 2011 she told Us Weekly she was close to playing Bella in the “Twilight” films — a role ultimately taken by Kristen Stewart. Bella or no Bella, she kept at it, getting memorable recurring parts on “Weeds” and “Gossip Girl” along with roles in other series as well as films.
Her last credited acting work was as the voice of Judy in the animated series “Human Kind Of,” but that doesn’t mean she isn’t in the entertainment industry anymore. In 2016 Trachtenberg told Entertainment Weekly she’d become a professional screenwriter. While she said she’d sold “several projects,” they have yet to be produced.
Are there any other cast ‘where are they now’ that you would like us to cover? Be sure to share them in the comments below.