Before he turned his attention to blockbuster superhero movies, writer and director Joss Whedon was pumping out genre TV shows.
So, many of Whedon's shows have become legendary for the groundbreaking use of fantasy tropes to tackle heavy, real-world subject matter, for their expert blend of comedy and pathos, and for their strong female characters in a time when that wasn't happening nearly enough.
However, despite all of the hype, accolades, and current generation directors hailing the Whedonverse as a huge influence, there were still plenty of sketchy stories and embarrassing secrets hiding behind the scenes.
Several of Whedon's prominent actors have been plagued by nasty headlines and bad life decisions, like Nicholas Brendan and Adam Baldwin. Sometimes, Whedon's darkly realistic storylines put off viewers and networks, like the prostitution in the Eliza Dushku-starring Dollhouse or Firefly's planned assault of Inara.
Also, of course, there were plenty of rumors of stars hooking up behind the scenes, like Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz.
From Angel to Dr. Horrible and everything in between, here are the 15 Secrets You Didn't Know Behind Whedonverse Shows.
15 Dr. Horrible Made Joss Whedon More Money Than The Avengers
During the writers' strike of 2008, Joss Whedon bankrolled a pet project about an evil mastermind in love with a girl in love with a hero who was actually kind of a jerk.
Whedon dropped the musical comedy, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, on the internet at a time when professionally produced internet content was as commonplace as dropping a highly anticipated horror movie after the Super Bowl without an advertising campaign.
At PaleyFest in 2015, Whedon modestly admitted that Dr. Horrible had made him more money than The Avengers without actually revealing how big that paycheck really was.
At the time of the interview, The Avengers had earned over $600 million at the box office. Whedon, however, has always maintained that Robert Downey Jr. received a larger paycheck than he did, indicating a cut of less than $50 million.
14 Nicholas Brendon Has Been Arrested Multiple Times
Any beloved franchise is bound to have a black sheep in the family. Sadly, Xander Harris actor Nicolas Brendan seems to be the troubled member of the Buffy cast.
Brendan has struggled with addiction for a long time. His personal demons seemed to be out of control when he was arrested four times in 2015 for a range of crimes from property damage to physical assault.
His antics led to personal issues with other celebs. He made a splash when he walked out of an interview with Dr. Phil after he was accused of smelling like alcohol.
Brendan has also accused his own Buffy co-star, David Boreanaz, of attempting to get him kicked out of the recent cast reunion, stating that the two do not like each other. Brendan claimed not to know the reason for Boreanaz's dislike of him.
13 The Many Rumors Of Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz Getting Together
Fans love shipping their favorite characters, and when the chemistry is just right, they love shipping their favorite actors too. Sarah Michelle Gellar has been very open about her love for Angel actor David Boreanaz (as a friend) and has always chosen Buffy's first love as her favorite vamp boyfriend.
Oh, and she voted him as a better kisser than Spike actor James Marsters.
Naturally, tons of people suspected them of having a hot fling when the show was still on the air. Rumors flew, implying that the two co-stars were constantly hooking up when the cameras weren't rolling.
When accusations began to spread that Gellar was a diva and unfriendly with the rest of the cast, her close relationship with Boreanaz only seemed to strengthen these rumors.
12 Adam Baldwin Fought With Joss Whedon Over Gamergate
GamerGate briefly tore the internet apart in 2014. "GamerGators" claimed that the movement was about ethics in games journalism.
However, violent posts aimed at women in varying positions in the industry, especially those who spoke out about the industry's sexism, led much of the public and media to believe that the point of the hashtag was to scare women out of the already male-dominated industry.
The entire movement was sparked when Eron Gjoni posted on his WordPress detailing what he alleged to be his ex-girlfriend Zoe Quinn's infidelity.
Adam Baldwin, who played the rogueish Jayne in Firefly, is often credited with coining the GamerGate phrase and was considered responsible for bringing the hashtag to popularity.
Baldwin's support of the movement led to many burned bridges, as he would lash out at Joss Whedon and fellow Whedonverse actress Felicia Day over their feminist posts on Twitter.
11 James Marsters Might Have Had A Crush On A 14 Year Old
Crazy stories of co-stars getting together are expected, and it's not that unusual to learn that some castmembers develop unrequited feelings for their castmates. However, when one of those actors is in their forties and the object of their affection is only 14 years old, well, that's when things start to get uncomfortably gross.
James Marsters' alleged crush on a then very underage Trachtenberg (Dawn) has never been officially confirmed by anyone in the Buffy cast or crew. However, many believe Marsters to have hinted at it in magazine interviews and podcasts.
The strongest piece of evidence is often cited to be the lyrics to the song "Dangerous" performed by Marstes' band Ghost of the Robot, which references a young girl with long brown hair and a few more years to go until she has "curves."
Marsters allegedly said that only two people actually knew who that song was about.
10 Chloe Bennet Called Out Marvel Over Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
At least one Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. castmember has grown sick and tired of Marvel pretending that the series doesn't exist: Skye/Daisy actress Chloe Bennet.
At the Wizard World Des Moine Comic-Con in 2016, Bennet aired her frustrations in a scathing interview that put Marvel on blast for their "one-way street" method of production.
The actress asked where the Avengers were and why they were never present on her show, calling out Robert Downey Jr. by name. She then went on to specifically ask why Marvel refused to acknowledge any Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. storylines, accusing the studio of not caring about the series.
She then picked apart Marvel's habit of connecting franchises, pointing out that AOS had never been officially connected to anything in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
9 Charisma Carpenter’s Pregnancy Caused Angel To Be Rewritten
Most fans remember the bizarre Angel storyline that saw Cordelia Chase become pregnant by Angel's teenage son with a demon baby. However, the writers weren't exactly happy about those developments either.
Rumor had it that Cordelia actress Charisma Carpenter had hidden her own pregnancy from the cast and crew until the last moment, forcing them to rewrite season 4.
The unpopular pregnancy story arc served as a means to effectively fire Carpenter from her prominent role in the series. Cordelia slipped into a coma while giving birth and was absent for the entirety of season 5, save for the last episode in which she passed away.
More rumors claimed that Whedon had promised Carpenter that Cordy would survive the episode in order to lure her back on set, only to pull the rug out from under her when it came time to film.
8 Inara Was Almost Assaulted By Reapers On Firefly
In Firefly season 1 episode 1 "The Train Job," Zoe informed the crew that they would likely be eaten, assaulted, and sewn into fashionable Reaver clothing should the cannibal pirates attack the ship.
Meanwhile, Inara was shown staring at a mysterious syringe. The series was canceled before the contents of the syringe ever came to light, which is good because showrunners had a brutal story arc in store for Inara.
Writer and executive producer Tim Minear revealed the horrifying truth behind Inara's syringe, saying the fluid in the syringe would have caused Inara's abuser to die.
Mal was to board the ship after Inara's assault to find all of the Reavers dead, which has absolutely horrific implications. At that point, Mal would discover the badly injured Inara and would finally realize his misogynistic treatment of her was unwarranted. We're kind of glad that this super problematic episode never came to be.
7 Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Had To Stall For The MCU
Marvel has never officially sanctioned Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. as a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, they've actually hinted that they would prefer to keep their television adaptations and their movies as separate entities. However, that didn't stop AOS's showrunners from attempting to tie in their storylines anyway.
Viewers and critics blasted the early seasons of AOS, saying that the show's storylines were too slow and dragged down the pacing of the episodes. It turns out that this pacing was very intentional-- the show's writers were forced to delay the reveal of their big Hydra twist until after the shady militaristic organization was addressed in the Captain America movies.
Some reviews felt that this delayed reveal lessened its TV impact, saying it had lost any appeal as an actual "game-changer."
6 Whedon Wanted To Troll Fans With The Buffy Title Sequence
Buffy fans were shocked when Xander's best friend Jesse passed away just two episodes into the first season. However, Whedon had plans that would have been a lot more devastating.
Whedon wanted to put Jesse actor Eric Balfour in the opening credits as if he were a series regular. The production didn't have the money for two different title sequences, so Whedon was forced to scrap his plan.
Whedon was able to execute his devious plan in season 6. Amber Benson had been playing Willow's epic love since season 4 but had never been upped to series regular.
The first time Benson was ever shown in the title sequence was in the season 6 episode 19 "Seeing Red," in which Tara was shot by Warren. The title sequence joke seems more cruel with the death of a longstanding, beloved character versus a doomed one-off.
5 Firefly’s Episodes Were Aired Completely Out Of Order
Diehard fans of Firefly have always maintained that the network just didn't understand Whedon's brilliance-- and they probably have a point.
How could FOX possibly understand a series that was an incoherent mess? It wasn't the writers' fault that the series' plot made no sense. Instead, this was due to the network itself. FOX aired Firefly's episodes completely out of order.
FOX felt that the original pilot episode was too slow, forcing Whedon and Minear to come up with a faster paced first episode at the last minute. The network then continued to air episodes at random, sometimes moving them around to make room for sporting events.
Whedon's original two-hour pilot was aired at the very end of the season. FOX was also accused of messing up the advertising for the series, making it appear to be a comedy rather than a sci-fi/western.
4 Sarah Michelle Gellar Faced Her Greatest Fears
Sarah Michelle Gellar had it really rough on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer set. She had to keep limber and active, performing some of her own stunts. She had long hours and physically and emotionally demanding scenes. She also had to face two of her greatest fears in a single scene.
Gellar revealed that she actually had a phobia of cemeteries, which she obviously had to process on a daily basis thanks to half the show's scenes being filmed in graveyards.
Thankfully, most of those scenes took place in a fake cemetery, as the crew built their own on the studio lot for use in later seasons. However, Gellar also had a fear of being buried alive, so she became quite hysterical when she was forced to crawl out of Buffy's grave in season 6, despite the fake tombstones.
3 The Execs Were Uncomfortable With The Premise Of Dollhouse
Joss Whedon's Dollhouse was about adult workers. That's not hyperbole or some crazy over-thinking, though-- Whedon has flat out confirmed it.
At the 2012 New York Comic Con, Whedon said that some people involved with the series were very concerned with what appeared to be adult workers on the show. Whedon told them that that was exactly what it was-- it wasn't a metaphor, these acts were actually taking place in the script.
Some people were just too uncomfortable with the idea of tackling adult workers in a series that they worked on and chose to exit the show.
However, one key person was all for the heavy subject matter and requested that it remain intact. According to Whedon, Echo actress Eliza Dushku requested that the script to tackle mature themes and orientation.
2 David Boreanaz Wants Nothing To Do With Angel Ever Again
Will there ever be a Buffy reboot? All signs point to... maybe. However, if there is, David Boreanaz won't be touching it with a ten-foot pole. The actor has made it painfully clear that he wants nothing to do with his vampire-with-a-soul character ever again, and on more than one occasion too.
Speaking to Parade in 2017, Boreanaz stated that he was completely uninterested in any possible remakes or reboots, saying that he preferred to look forward in his life and career.
Though he is adamantly finished with the character of Angel, Boreanaz put in a lively appearance at the recent Buffy reunion where it was made clear that he still gets along wonderfully with the majority of his former castmates, with the exception of Xander Harris actor Nicholas Brendan.
1 Fans STILL Tell Michelle Trachtenberg How Much They Hated Dawn
Before there was The Walking Dead's Lori Grimes or Breaking Bad's Skylar White, there was Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Dawn Summers. Easily the most-hated character of the entire series (and possibly the entire Whedonverse), viewers couldn't stand Dawn's whining, brattiness, and constant need of being rescued.
Some weren't fans of how she was introduced, randomly showing up at the end of season 5's episode 1 as Buffy's sister, as if that was how things had been for years.
Dawn actress Michelle Trachtenberg has earned quite a following since her time on the show thanks to popular roles in EuroTrip and Gossip Girl.
However, the hatred of Dawn still remains... and people aren't shy about letting Trachtenberg know. Though she admits that more and more people have begun to support the character, it's still pretty common for total strangers to tell her how much they hated her onscreen counterpart.
Can you think of any other dark secret behind Whedonverse shows? Have your say in the comment section!