It’s hard to believe but it’s been 20 years since Buffy the Vampire Slayer hit the airwaves, winning over audiences with its unique blend of action, humor and horror. Joss Whedon created the show, drawing inspiration from his 1992 film of the same name. Sarah Michelle Gellar played Buffy, a teen who is the “chosen one” and must defend the town of Sunnydale from all sorts of supernatural villains. Buffy got an assist in her ghoul-slaying activities from her school’s librarian, Rupert Giles (Anthony Stewart Head) and her friends, Xander (Nicholas Brendon) and Willow (Alyson Hannigan). Buffy also had to deal with Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter), Sunnydale High School’s resident mean girl, and Angel (David Boreanaz), her brooding, handsome vampire love interest.
While Buffy fandom still runs strong today, the show’s cast have headed in different directions since the show’s initial run. Many found new opportunities on the small screen while others have branched out into new fields and faced personal challenges. Learn more about life after Buffy for some of our first season favorites below.
More than Just the Slayer: Sarah Michelle Gellar
One of Gellar’s first post-Buffy roles was on the big screen. Continuing her work in realm of the scary, she starred in the 2004 horror film The Grudge, and the movie performed well enough at the box office to spawn the 2006 sequel The Grudge 2. Gellar also sought another turn at TV fame with the mystery series Ringer in 2011. The show called for Gellar to play twin sisters with one using the other’s identity to hide from a crime boss.
In 2013, Gellar flexed her comedic muscles. She joined forces with comic legend Robin Williams to play a father-daughter advertising team on The Crazy Ones. Despite all their combined star power, the show only lasted for one season. Gellar also sought to revisit her success with a new TV series based on her hit 1999 film Cruel Intentions, but the project never made it passed the pilot stage in 2016. In addition to acting, Gellar is a mom of two who has branched out in the baking business. She is the co-founder of Foodstirs, which sells wholesome baking kits for families.
An International Actor: Anthony Stewart Head
Head’s English accent on Buffy was the real deal. Born in north London’s Camden Town neighborhood, Anthony Stewart Head has worked extensively on both sides of the Atlantic since his Buffy days. He has appeared in such British television shows as Monarch of the Glen, Little Britain and The Invisibles. Head also took on a regal role, portraying Uther Pendragon, the father of legendary King Arthur in Merlin, which aired on both American and British TV. He recently had a chance to work with his real-life daughter, Daisy Head, on Guilt, a 2016 crime drama series.
Teen Sidekick No More: Nicholas Brendon
After years of playing the sensitive yet sarcastic Xander, Brendon landed a supporting role as a pastry chef in the short-lived sitcom Kitchen Confidential, starring Bradley Cooper in 2005. He later delved into much darker fare with a guest appearance on the medical drama Private Practice. But perhaps his most substantial later work as Kevin Lynch on Criminal Minds. This recurring role had Brendon playing a FBI technical analyst.
In his personal life, Brendon has struggled since Buffy ended. He has gotten himself in trouble with the law several times and has battled with depression and substance abuse issues. He seems to be doing well these days with a role in the horror anthology Dark/Web series and numerous Buffy-related appearances on his schedule.
From Buffy’s BFF to Sitcom Star: Alyson Hannigan
Putting aside practicing magic and battling monsters, Alyson Hannigan quickly landed another major TV part after Buffy. She began her run as Lily Aldrin on the hit sitcom How I Met Your Mother in 2005. This time around, Hannigan played a quirky and sweet school teacher. Lily was involved with Marshall (Jason Segel), making one of comedy’s cutest couples. This endearing character netted Hannigan a People’s Choice Award in 2010 for favorite TV comedy actress. After this series ended in 2014, Hannigan tried her hand at drama. She had a supporting role in the 2016 independent film Do You Take This Man? She also became the host of the series Penn & Teller: Fool Us that same year.
Beyond Being a Queen Bee: Charisma Carpenter
Charisma Carpenter played Cordelia, the snobby, ditzy it girl of Sunnydale High School. Cordelia only lasted a few seasons before joining Buffy’s good-guy vampire Angel in the 1999 spinoff Angel. She moved on to a recurring role on Veronica Mars, graduating from being a teen to playing a stepmother to teens. Carpenter later landed work in The Expendables, a 2010 all-star action film starring Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham and Jet Li among others, and its 2012 sequel. Back on the small screen, Carpenter has appeared on such series as Chicago P.D. and Lucifer.
Carpenter also has served as the host of Surviving Evil, a crime documentary series, which debuted in 2013. Her own personal tragedy gave her special insights into the show’s subject matter. Carpenter had survived a vicious attack decades earlier.
From Vampire to FBI Guy: David Boreanaz
After only a few seasons as a Buffy’s vampire paramour, Boreanaz got his own series, Angel. The Buffy spinoff debuted in 1999 with Angel helping humans alongside another Sunnydale alum Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter).
Boreanaz got to retire his tormented vampire look when Angel’s run ended in 2004. He was only gone from the small screen for a moment, returning as FBI agent Seeley Booth in the popular crime series Bones in 2005. Unlike Angel, Boreanaz’s character Booth was definitely mortal. Bones centers on the relationship between Booth and his crime-fighting partner Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a leading forensic anthropologist. And this duo has proved to be a hit with audiences, lasting for 12 seasons. Bones wraps up its final season in spring 2017.