Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have gone off the air over 15 years ago, but the show maintains a devoted fan following. And those fans have spent years poring over every nuance of the show. At this point fans know the characters inside and out, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few things they missed.
Here, we’re covering details about the main characters from Buffy that fans might not have picked up on. From foreshadowing future character developments, to referencing the past, to hinting at secret relationships, Buffy is full of subtle elements that are easy to overlook. Here are 10 of them.
10 WILLOW AND HER DOPPELGÄNGER HAVE A LOT IN COMMON
Willow’s vampire doppelgänger made her debut in Season 3, but it wasn’t until a few episodes later that the human Willow met her blood-sucking counterpart. Willow didn’t believe the pair had anything in common at the time, observing of her doppelgänger, “I'm so evil… and I think I’m kind of gay.”
It turns out that by the end of Buffy’s sixth season Willow would be both of those things. In Season 4 after breaking up with Oz, Willow finds herself attracted to Tara and realizes she’s a lesbian. Then, in Season 6, after Tara’s unexpected demise, Willow, who had been teetering on the edge all season, went completely dark. She became evil in ways her vampy doppelgänger probably never could have imagined. Willow even used her vampire look-alike’s signature catch phrase “Bored now,”before magically massacring the man who killed Tara. So much for nothing in common.
9 DAWN’S DEBUT IS FORESHADOWED
Fans were left scratching their heads when Buffy’s sister Dawn was introduced in Season 5, especially since the characters acted as if she had always been around. But it turns out Dawn’s arrival was foreshadowed more than once.
In the two-part Season 3 finale, Faith tells Buffy she’s “all dressed up in big sister’s clothes.” Later, when Faith and Buffy share a dream, Faith talks about Little Miss Muffet, a reference to Dawn. In another dream in Season 4, Faith and Buffy discuss how much Buffy has to do with “little sis coming.” Then, in the Season 4 finale, Tara instructs Buffy to “be back before dawn.” Finally, as the episode ends, Buffy peers into the empty room that would become Dawn’s in the very next episode.
8 BUFFY’S SARCASTIC PREDICTION
In one of the show’s most heartbreaking story arcs, Buffy lost her mother Joyce in Season 5 after a battle with a brain tumor. Just as Joyce seemed to be on the mend, she suffered a brain aneurysm and perished unexpectedly. What fans may not have noticed is that Buffy predicted her mother’s passing in an offhand comment the season before.
In the fourth season premiere while buying textbooks, Buffy makes a joke about their outlandish price tag by commenting, “I can’t wait ‘til my mom gets the bill for these books. I hope it’s a funny aneurysm.” Ouch. Buffy creator and executive producer Joss Whedon had planned Joyce’s demise well in advance and incorporated that throwaway line to foreshadow things to come.
7 TARA KNOWS WHAT GILES WILL DO
When big bad Glory was searching for her magical key in the fifth season, she came to the conclusion that it had to be Tara because she was the newest member of the Scooby Gang. However, when she realized Tara was just a plain old human, Glory brain-sucks her, turning Tara into one of her minions.
While Tara loses her faculties in most ways, she somehow becomes plugged into Glory’s wavelength, easily leading the gang to Glory’s tower in Season 5' finale “The Gift.” Yet, her abilities seem to go beyond that. As the group is exiting The Magic Box, Tara has a moment of clarity as she walks past Giles. She turns to him and accuses him of being a murderer. The gang is surprised and confused. But the accusation turns out to be prophetic. Before the fight with Glory is over, Giles takes out Ben, Glory’s host body.
6 XANDER WORKED AS AN EXOTIC DANCER
During the summer after high school, Xander took off on a road trip to see the United States. He was gone all summer and never contacted the rest of the gang, so they assumed he was traveling the whole time. However, in Season 4's premiere, Buffy learned the truth: Xander never made it past the southern California city of Oxnard because that's where the engine fell out of his car.
In order to pay for the repairs, Xander spent a month and a half working at the Ladies Night club washing dishes. That is until one night when one of the male strippers called in sick…While Xander refused to say more, the implication was clear: the (strip) show had to go on, so Xander filled in.
5 WILLOW MUSICALLY REFERENCES SEASON 1
Fans agree that the iconic Season 6 episode “Once More, With Feeling” was one of the high points of the series. Willow didn’t get a ton of singing time during the episode but she had a noteworthy line in the early number “I’ve Got a Theory." In the song, all the characters propose ideas about who could be responsible for the musical plague they're experiencing. Willow’s theory was “Some kid is dreaming, and we’re all trapped inside his wacky Broadway nightmare.”
Willow didn't pull her theory out of thin air; that exact scenario happened to her before in the Season 1 episode “Nightmares,” in which a child turns people’s worst nightmares into reality. Willow’s nightmare: that she had to sing onstage.
4 BUFFY’S FATHER REMAINS A PART OF HER LIFE
Buffy’s father Hank is barely seen in the series. After her parents’ divorce, Hank had minimal contact with his daughter. If anything, most fans thought of Giles as Buffy's father figure. Yet Hank wasn't completely gone from Buffy’s life.
In the show’s first three seasons, Buffy saw her father several times. He periodically came to Sunnydale to see her on weekends and she visited him in Los Angeles over the summer. Then in Season 6, after Buffy’s mother passed away, Buffy unsuccessfully tried to reach her father. It seemed like maybe Hank was gone for good. Yet in the comic book continuation of the series, Hank makes an appearance to visit with both Buffy and Dawn.
3 SPIKE KNEW HALFREK WHEN…
The episode “Fool for Love” details Spike’s backstory, including his pre-vampire days when he was simply a bad poet named William who was in love with a woman named Cecily, who cruelly rejected him. However, the episode wasn’t the last we saw of Cecily — or at least the actress who played her.
Kali Rocha returned to in Season 6 to portray Anya’s vengeance demon bestie Halfrek. And when Halfrek and Spike happened to run across one another in the episode, there's a telling moment where they recognize each other. Halfrek even refers to Spike as “William." Many fans took the moment as confirmation that Halfrek and Cecily were the same person — a theory that was later confirmed by Whedon.
2 BUFFY EXPIRES AT THE SAME TIME AS HER CREDIT CARD
It's no secret that Buffy enjoyed some retail therapy every now and then. But one subtle detail has her expiring at the same time as her mother's credit card. When Faith swapped bodies with Buffy in Season 4, Faith used Joyce's credit card to book a flight out of Sunnydale.
On the phone, the expiration date she gave for the card was 5-0-1. In other words, May 2001, a date that happened to coincide with Buffy’s Season 5 finale a year and a half later when Buffy sacrificed herself to save Dawn.
1 SPIKE AND ANGEL SHARE A NAME
Fans know that Spike and Angel went by different names when they were human. Spike’s given name was William, a popular moniker in England where Spike was born. Meanwhile, Angel’s given name was Liam, the Irish form of William.
The names share the same origin and meaning, with Liam arising out of the name William. That means for all intents and purposes, Spike and Angel’s given names are the same.