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47 Little Facts You Probably Didn't Know About "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"

Like that the show turns 20 years old today. Yes, really.

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Everyone's favourite ass-kicking, bubblegum-chewing, demon-destroying show Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired 20 years ago today. While you contemplate the fact that you're officially old AF, here are some fascinating little facts you may not know about the series...

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1. The show's creator, Joss Whedon, decided to call his main character Buffy because "it was the name [he] could think of that [he] took the least seriously". The network begged him to change the name, arguing that people wouldn't take it seriously, but he insisted that that was the point.

2. Whedon wanted to take the classic "victim" type – a young, blonde, seemingly harmless girl – from Hollywood horror movies and turn her into the hero.

3. Ironically, though, the actor who ultimately played her, Sarah Michelle Gellar, has played the role of classic Hollywood victim several times – in movies like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream 2, and The Grudge.

4. The show's core four – Buffy, Willow, Xander, and Giles – were first referred to as "The Scooby Gang" in the ninth episode of Season 2.

5. But the first references to the name came as early as Episode 11 of Season 1. In it, Willow wears a Scooby-Doo shirt, and Buffy wears a neck scarf similar to Daphne's signature scarf.

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6. Seth Green – who played Willow's boyfriend Oz – is the only actor to appear in both the TV show and the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie. He had an uncredited role as a vampire in the movie.

7. Originally, Season 7 saw Willow's girlfriend Tara returning from the dead. Whedon said he cried every time he pitched the storyline to the network.

8. Eventually, though, the storyline was cut because Amber Benson didn't want to do it. She reasoned that if she came back, the character would have to be "bad", and Tara was so beloved that "for her to be bad would just destroy people".

9. Instead, Whedon had Willow move on from Tara's death and begin a relationship with Kennedy, because he didn't want Willow to "be stuck in typical gay celibacy on TV".

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10. Buffy was the first show to use the word "google" as a verb on TV. In the fourth episode of Season 7, Willow asks Buffy, "Have you googled her yet?"

11. Episode 18 of Season 3, "Earshot", was originally meant to air a week after the Columbine massacre, but was delayed until after the season hiatus due to similarities within the themes of the episode.

12. James Marsters, who played Spike, auditioned for the role with a Texan accent (he's originally from California).

13. And Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Dawn, wanted to be part of the show so badly she wrote a pitch to Joss Whedon explaining how exactly she'd fit in.

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14. Ryan Reynolds was offered the role of Xander but turned it down because he didn't want to play a high schooler. He had just graduated high school at the time, and called it "fucking awful".

15. Meanwhile, Katie Holmes was offered the role of Buffy, but turned it down to go to high school. Selma Blair – who starred opposite Sarah Michelle Gellar in Cruel Intentions – also auditioned for the role.

16. Charisma Carpenter, who eventually went on to play Cordelia Chase, also auditioned for Buffy...

17. And when Sarah Michelle Gellar first auditioned, Whedon told her she'd make the perfect Cordelia. Gellar says that she'll "never let Joss forget the torture he put [her] through" before casting her as Buffy.

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18. Bianca Lawson, who went on to play Kendra, was originally offered the role of Cordelia, but turned it down.

19. In the unaired pilot episode of the show, Willow was played by Riff Regan. Casting director Marcia Shulman said they always knew they would recast if the show got picked up, which is how they eventually came to cast Alyson Hannigan.

20. Gellar and Hannigan are the only cast members to appear in all 144 episodes of the show (not including the unaired pilot, duh). Nicholas Brendan isn't in "Conversations With Dead People" from Season 7.

21. But although Buffy is technically the main character in the Buffyverse, Angel's spinoff means he appears in more Buffyverse episodes than she does.

22. Joss Whedon partly based Buffy on the X-Men character Kitty Pryde. In an interview with Wired in 2012, he said "Kitty was the mother of Buffy".

23. Anthony Stewart Head was given the role of Giles on the show's first day of casting – but the creators never intended for the character to be British.

24. Head also helped James Marsters – who, as we know, is from California – with Spike's British accent. He actually sounds more like Spike IRL than Giles.

25. The IRL high school that was used as the filming location for Sunnydale High can also be seen in Beverly Hills 90210, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, She's All That, Bruce Almighty, and Not Another Teen Movie.

26. In the original movie, the vampires just looked like regular people (just slightly paler and with pointy teeth). They changed that for the TV show, because Whedon didn't want to air a show about "a high school girl who was stabbing normal-looking people in the heart".

27. According to David Boreanaz, applying the vampire prosthetics took an hour and 20 minutes, but "taking it off was the worst part" because it had to be removed super carefully.

28. Some of the cast had trouble with the fast-paced, Valley Girl-esque dialogue, particularly Sarah Michelle Gellar, who grew up in New York and didn't understand a lot of the California slang.

29. The main cast hated the scenes in the library, because they were always filled with a lot of information-heavy dialogue. They all celebrated when it was eventually blown up at the end of Season 3.

30. Joss Whedon wrote "Hush" – the episode in which the villains take away the characters' voices – to challenge himself, because he felt he too often relied on the show's witty, fast-paced dialogue.

31. Most of the cast cite "Hush" as one of their favourite episodes, including Gellar, who called it "the scariest episode [they'd] ever done".

32. Her other favourite episodes are "The Prom" from Season 3 and Season 5's "The Body", which she called "beyond difficult and heart wrenching to shoot".

33. The first scene of "The Body" – in which Buffy finds her mother's dead body in the living room – was around 5 minutes long, and was shot in one take.

34. Gellar knew Whedon was planning on killing Buffy and introducing the character of Dawn a whole three years before it actually happened – because she just asked him.

35. Whedon wrote the character of Dawn because he wanted Buffy to have "a really important, intense emotional relationship" with a character that wasn't a boyfriend.

36. He also thinks Dawn was short-changed by fans who accused Dawn of being too whiny. He said, "Excuse me, she's been abandoned by about six parental figures. The girl has huge issues."

37. Sarah Michelle Gellar hated doing the musical episode, "Once More With Feeling". She originally wanted someone else to do the singing for Buffy, because she doesn't "like to do something unless [she] can really do it".

38. Buffy was turned into a rat for the majority of Season 2's "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered" so Gellar could have time off to rehearse and film Saturday Night Live.

39. Whedon said that while Spike was one of his favourite characters to write, Angel was one of the most difficult, because it was hard to "make a decent, handsome, stalwart hero interesting".

40. He also said that of all the deaths he's written, Joyce's death was hardest on him.

41. Gellar has a special stake, made by her makeup artist on the show, and a little bottle of holy water from the set that she still keeps by her bed.

42. Alyson Hannigan was known for pranking people on set, and Gellar called herself Hannigan's "co-conspirator".

43. During filming for Season 6, Gellar took writer Marti Noxon aside and told her, "I feel like I want Buffy back. I feel like we've run on this path, and I feel like it's time to sort of reclaim her."

44. Whedon says Season 6 was flawed because the creators "were so clearly focused on what we wanted to do at the end of the season" that they had to fit a lot of story in only a few episodes.

45. For a few episodes in Season 7, Head wasn’t allowed to touch anything on set to cause suspicion that Giles may have been the First – he wasn’t, though. Whedon just said he wanted to “spice things up”.

46. The majority of the cast found out the show was over when Entertainment Weekly published an interview with Gellar announcing it. Hannigan said she was "devastated".

47. And, after all this time, Gellar still believes Buffy belonged with Angel rather than Spike.

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