In every generation, a show is born that becomes a cult classic by virtue of its witty writing, compelling characters and intriguing storylines. In the late 90s and early 2000s, that show was Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a supernatural drama that followed the exploits of Buffy Summers, a teenage girl chosen to defend the world from vampires, demons and the forces of darkness. With equal parts drama, comedy and edginess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer weaseled its way into the hearts of viewers—an amazing feat, considering that the movie of the same name, which was released in 1992, was an epic flop. Aside from the show’s ingenious team of writers and impressive special effects, one of the reasons that the show was so much more successful than the movie was its charismatic cast of characters. Buffy was just a piece of the puzzle; fans were also drawn in by her “Scooby Gang”, the core of which were her best friends, Xander and Willow, and her Watcher, Giles. Various other characters came in and out of the show, each leaving their mark and each broadening the universe in which Buffy and her friends strived to save the world. It was, in every sense, an ensemble cast of characters like no other, one which continues to garner new fans to this day.
It’s strange to think that it’s been twelve years since the doors were closed on Sunnydale, California—or, rather, since the earth sucked Sunnydale into a deep sinkhole, never to be seen again. Twelve years since Buffy and her friends stood on the edge of that chasm, wondering where to go from here. And where did they go? What are the actors and actresses who portrayed these iconic characters doing today? Lucky for you, I took the time to find out!
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy Summers)
Sarah Michelle Gellar, who portrayed the show’s strong and beautiful heroine, has had quite the prosperous television and movie career after Buffy ended in 2003. The Emmy award-winning actress went on to star in two short-lived TV shows—The Ringer and The Crazy Ones, co-starring Robin Williams—as well as a multitude of movies, including Scooby Doo 1 & 2, The Grudge 1 & 2, The Return, and Possession. In addition, she regularly does voice-acting for Robot Chicken. Fans can anticipate seeing her in the upcoming TV series Those Who Can’t as Gwen Stephanie, slated to premiere in 2016.
Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris)
In many ways, Buffy the Vampire Slayer launched Nicholas Brendon’s career. Post-Buffy, he’s had recurring roles on several other TV shows, including Seth Richman in Kitchen Confidential, Lee McHenry in Private Practice and Kevin Lynch on Criminal Minds. As of 2014, he has also been writing for the Buffy Season 10 comic book series. Sadly, however, Brendon has also had quite a few run-ins with the law due to his alcoholism, and was recently arrested again at the end of September on alleged domestic abuse charges.
Alyson Hannigan (Willow Rosenberg)
Out of all the actors and actresses on the show, Alyson Hannigan, who played my favorite character in the series, Willow Rosenberg, has had one of the most successful careers post-Buffy. In addition to starring in all three of the American Pie movies as Michelle Flaherty—all of which she filmed while Buffy was still on the air—she’s also gone on to guest star on a variety of shows, including That 70’s Show and Veronica Mars. In 2005, she landed her second major role on television as Lily Aldrin on How I Met Your Mother. Fans can anticipate seeing her in the upcoming movie Modern Love, a drama that is scheduled for release in 2016. She’s also married to former Buffy co-star, Alexis Denisof, and they have two children together.
Anthony Stewart Head (Rupert Giles)
An accomplished actor and singer, Anthony Stewart Head has enjoyed quite a lot of success in the industry since his role as Giles in Buffy. Soon after Buffy ended, he scored the role of the Prime Minister in Little Britain. That was followed by six-episode stints on the shows The Invisibles and Free Agents before he landed the role of Uther Pendragon in the fantasy series Merlin. After that, he played Paracelus in Warehouse 13 and David Whele on Dominion. He can soon be seen in the movie Despite the Falling Snow as Old Misha, and was just announced as being a part of a new film called A Cat Named Bob. In addition to acting, Head has also been actively making music; in 2002, he released his album “Music for Elevators”, a collaboration with George Sarah, and in 2014, he came out with a solo album titled “Staring at the Sun.”
Kristine Sutherland (Joyce Summers)
Kristine Sutherland (whose real name is Kristine Young) made her debut in the industry as a secretary in Legal Eagles in 1986. In 1989, she played Mae Thompson in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. However, it was her role as Joyce Summers, Buffy’s mother, which really brought her into the limelight. After her character died in the show’s fifth season, Sutherland went on to guest star on shows such as New Amsterdam, One Life to Live and The Following. In addition, she’s also become very interested in photography, opening up her own studio specializing in portraits. She currently has no new projects on the horizon.
Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn Summers)
I think it’s fair to say that Michelle Trachtenberg’s introduction in the series as Dawn Summers was a bit of a shock for fans. She came on the series in season five as Buffy’s little sister with no preamble and no explanation, as if she had been there the entire time. However, as fans would soon learn, there was a supernatural reason for her abrupt appearance on the show—a reason that I am not going divulge here, in case any of my readers are not caught up on the series. She stayed on the series until its end, growing from the heroine’s annoying little sister to a competent and skilled member of the Scooby Gang. Post-Buffy, Trachtenberg has continued to enjoy success in the industry. She’s starred in a plethora of movies, including Eurotrip, Ice Princess, Black Christmas, Against the Current, 17 Again, Take Me Home Tonight and The Scribbler. In 2009, she was cast as Nurse Chloe Payne in the short-lived television series Mercy. She went on to have recurring roles in several other shows, such as Love Bites and Weeds, before nabbing the role of Georgina Sparks on Gossip Girl. She recently guest starred on the hit sci-fi show Sleepy Hollow and is currently in the process of filming two new movies: Blank Nation and Sister Cities.
David Boreanez (Angel/Angelus)
Who could ever forget Angel, the vampire with a soul and Buffy’s first love? Angel played a prominent role in the series during the first three seasons, garnering such a large following that he went on to be the main character in show’s only TV spin-off, Angel: The Series. After Angel ended in 2004, Boreanez went on to star in quite a few movies, including These Girls, The Hard Easy, Mr. Fix It and The Mighty Macs. In 2005, he landed the role of Special Agent Seeley Booth on the TV show Bones, a role which he continues to play to this day. On October 29, 2015, he will be starring in a Sleepy Hollow/Bones crossover episode alongside his Bones co-star, Emily Deschanel.
James Marsters (Spike)
When James Marsters joined the show in its second season as the vampire Spike, he was only supposed to be on the show for a few episodes. However, his character became so popular that he eventually became a series regular in season 4 and remained one until the show’s end. After Buffy ended, he reprised his role as Spike for the last season of Angel. He went on to play several recurring characters on other TV shows, such as Detective Grant Mars on Without a Trace, Captain John Hart on Torchwood, Barnabas Greeley on Caprica, Milton Fine/Brainiac on Smallville, Tarkoff on Witches of East End and Victor Hesse on Hawaii Five-O. He’s also guest starred on the hit sci-fi show, Supernatural, where he was joined by his former Buffy and Angel co-star, Charisma Carpenter. Fans can anticipate seeing him in the movies Nouvelle Vie and Dragon Warriors, and in the upcoming pilot for the HBO series The Devil You Know, which will center around the Salem Witch Trials. He will play the character Reverend George Burroughs. In addition to being a successful actor, Marsters is also a talented musician. His band, “Ghost of the Robot”, recently released their fourth album, Bourgeois Faux Pas.
Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase)
Ahhh, Cordelia Chase, Sunnydale High’s resident Queen C. In many ways, Cordelia was Buffy’s version of Sabrina’s Libby Chessler, although much more likable. She started off in the series as the school bully but gradually became a member of the Scooby Gang in season 2. After season 3, she left the show, joining the cast of Angel for four out of five of its seasons. Post-Angel, she scored a recurring role as the Seer on Charmed, a recurring role s Kendall Casablancas on Veronica Mars and a recurring role as Tegan Walker on Greek. In 2012, she was cast as Rebecca Sewell Ryback in The Lying Game. She is currently in the process of filming two new movies: The Griddle House and Felo De Se.
Seth Green (Daniel “Oz” Osbourne)
Seth Green is known for a lot of things—his Emmy-winning series Robot Chicken being one, and his voicing the character Chris Griffin on Family Guy being another—but I will always remember him as the taciturn werewolf Oz, who was Willow’s first love on the series. Since Buffy, he’s been involved in a multitude of projects, from voice-acting for Batman Beyond, American Dad and Star Wars: Clone Wars, to guest-starring on shows like That 70’s Show and Entourage. He recently starred as Eli Sachs in the sitcom Dads. Fans can see him in the upcoming TV series Con Man.
Emma Caulfield (Anya/Anyanka)
Anya, the feisty ex-vengeance demon who joined the show in season 4, is another favorite of mine in the series. With her blunt attitude and quirky demeanor, she became an irreplaceable member of the Scooby Gang. The actress who played Anya, Emma Caulfield, benefited greatly from her time on the show. After it ended, she scored recurring roles as Sasha in Gigantic, Emma in Bandwagon: The Series and Emma Bradshaw in Life Unexpected. She also guest-starred on the shows Leverage, Once Upon a Time and Royal Pains. Her most recent project was America is Still the Place, in which she played the character Fran.
Amber Benson (Tara Maclay)
Amber Benson joined the show in season 4 as the shy witch Tara Maclay, who would become Willow’s first girlfriend. After she left the series in season 6, Benson went on to guest star on a number of shows, including Cold Case, The Inside, Private Practice, Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, Husbands and The Glass Slipper Confessionals. In 2014, she played Amelie in the TV Mini-Series Morganville: The Series. Fans can anticipate seeing her in the upcoming movies The Griddle House and Seeking Chloe.
Eliza Dushku (Faith)
Faith may not have only been in the series for a short time, but she certainly left an impression on viewers. Played by the sultry Eliza Dushku, Faith was what many fans called “the dark Slayer”, the Slayer more prone to give into her baser instincts. Although Faith and Buffy didn’t get along, they gradually became reluctant allies in the final season of the show. Post-Buffy, Eliza Dushku has enjoyed quite a lot of commercial success. In addition to starring in horror movies such as Wrong Turn and Open Graves, she was also the star of two intriguing—albeit short-lived—television shows: Tru Calling and Dollhouse. She’s also done voice-acting for the series Torchwood: Web of Lies and Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. In 2016, she is slated to appear on the TV series Banshee as Agent Veronica Dawson.
Juliet Landau (Drusilla)
Next, we have the amazing Juliet Landau, who played another of my favorite characters in the series: the vampire Drusilla. Drusilla was sired by Angel, who drove her insane before turning her; she, in turn, sired Spike. Although she was only on the series for a short while, she certainly left an impression. After leaving Buffy, Juliet Landau reprised her role as Drusilla in Angel for a brief stint. Afterwards, Landau did voice acting in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Thundercats, and Green Lantern: The Animated Series. She also did voice acting for the video game Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Some of her movie credits include The Yellow Wallpaper, Fairfield, Dark Hearts and Where the Road Runs Out. On October 20, she’ll be launching an Indiegogo campaign for her new vampire project, “A Place Among the Undead”, which she is working on with Joss Whedon, Anne Rice, Gary Oldman and Charlaine Harris, plus many more.
Alexis Denisof (Wesley Wyndam-Pryce)
Alexis Denisof joined the cast of Buffy for its third season as Giles’s over-eager replacement Watcher, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce. Afterwards, he joined the cast of Angel as first a rogue demon hunter and then a valuable member of Angel’s team, staying on that series until its end in 2004. Since then, he’s had several recurring roles on different television shows: he played Senator David Perrin on the short-lived sci-fi show Dollhouse; he played Sandy Rivers on How I Met Your Mother; and, he played Victor Albert Wilhem George Beckendorf on Grimm. in 2014, he scored the role of David Wilson in Finding Carter. He is currently married to former Buffy co-star Alyson Hannigan, and they have two children together.
D.B. Woodside (Robin Wood)
Finally, we have D.B. Woodside, who joined the show for its final season in 2003 as Principal Robin Wood, the son of a Slayer killed by Spike in the 1970s. Post-Buffy, he’s been involved in a number of television projects, playing Wayne Palmer in the popular series 24, David Gendler in Hawthorne, Derrick Altman in Hellcats, Dr, Joe Prestridge in Parenthood, Malcolm in Single Ladies and Jeff Malone in Suits. He’s also starred in movies such as Easy, The Inheritance, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 and Love the One You’re With. He can soon be seen in the upcoming television series Lucifer, in which he will play the angel Amenadiel.