Unaired Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot

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"Unaired pilot"
Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode
Pilot (unaired episode title screen).jpg
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 0
Directed by Joss Whedon
Written by Joss Whedon
Production code 4V79
Original air date Unaired 1996
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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List of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes

The non-broadcast pilot episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer was produced by 20th Century Fox in 1996 to pitch a series to networks. The twenty-five-and-a-half-minute production was written and directed by Buffy creator Joss Whedon, and was expanded upon and re-shot for the first episode of the series. It is notable for featuring a different actress in the role of Willow, Sunnydale High is Berryman High and a different actor as Principal Flutie.

After having burned down her school gym and been expelled from a school in L.A., Buffy Summers has moved to Sunnydale with her mother. Buffy goes to school for the first time at Sunnydale High and meets new people: Cordelia, Willow, and Xander. Willow is lured by a vampire into a trap. Buffy shows up with Xander and kills all the vampires except one; the surviving vampire reports the incident back to The Master.

Plot synopsis[edit]

A couple breaks into a deserted school. The girl is a beautiful blonde, and she follows the guy to the theater stage. She stops, seemingly afraid that she has heard something. He assures her that there is nothing to be worried about, but the girl, whose identity is later revealed to be Darla, turns towards him with a monstrous face and bites his neck, killing him.

Buffy Summers begins her first day at Berryman High School. She meets Principal Flutie, who can't remember her name. Meanwhile, Xander arrives and announces he is troubled by mathematics work. He offers his best friend Willow a shiny nickel in exchange for her help. Cordelia and her gang of mean girls mock Willow's outfit, before mocking Xander for daring to speak to them. Xander searches for a witty comeback but is interrupted by Buffy bumping into him and dropping her things. She introduces herself and asks for directions to the library. Xander explains where the library is; after she walks away, he finds a stake that she dropped.

Buffy arrives at the library and encounters the British librarian, Mr. Giles. She explains she's working on history, but instead of helping her with that, Giles slams a book on the desk entitled Vampyr. She leaves, obviously unsettled. After class, Willow approaches her, offering to help her with her studies. Buffy cheerfully accepts.

The two walk through the school, and Willow admits to having a dorky nature. Buffy tries to convince Willow she's pretty, but Willow won't listen. Buffy asks her about the librarian. Willow says that Mr. Giles is new, "from some British museum". Cordy and her gang interrupt them, attempting to get Buffy to join them and leave Willow.

Two other school girls, Aura and Aphrodesia, talk about the new girl while preparing for gym class. However, they are interrupted by a body falling out of a locker. Meanwhile, Xander returns Buffy's stake. Xander then gives Buffy a tour of the school. Willow approaches Buffy and Xander, troubled. She explains about the body in the locker. Once Cordelia confirms the news, Buffy runs off. She meets Principal Flutie when he is coming out of the girl's locker room and asks to see the body. When she finds the two holes in the neck, she heads for the library.

Mr. Giles is unsurprised by the news; instead, he is surprised that Buffy seems to be rejecting interest in Slaying. She angrily tells him that she loved her life before she knew about her calling and even loved it for a little time after. She explains she then lost everything she valued (including her Watcher) and now wants nothing to do with it. Xander overhears the conversation in the stacks.

That night, en route to her first visit to The Bronze, the cool student hangout in Sunnydale, Buffy meets a stranger, who warns her that she is living on a Hellmouth. He also gives her a large silver cross. It isn't revealed in the pilot that the stranger's name is Angel. This was the only deleted scene in the pilot.

That night, Buffy meets Xander outside the Bronze and asks about Willow. Xander says that Willow has seemingly found a boyfriend, information that unnerves Buffy. She quizzes Xander about the guy's appearance; when he mentions a 'Lionel Richie' look, Buffy runs off. Xander follows. Willow is shyly hanging out with a handsome blond guy whose face turns to the monstrous form of a vampire about to feed.

Xander and Buffy hear Willow's scream from the auditorium. Buffy charges in, finds the blond vampire biting Willow, and attacks him. Two other vampires emerge. Xander and Willow attempt to escape, using a cross to scare the vamps. Buffy dispatches the vamps and announces she is "The Slayer". One vampire runs away, and Buffy is left to dispatch the blond vampire.

The next morning, Giles is unimpressed by Buffy's sloppy fighting and the fact that she allowed others to find out her identity as the Slayer. Her new friends, Willow and Xander, defend her, but Buffy is unbothered.

Cast[edit]

Starring[edit]

Guest starring[edit]

Writing and acting[edit]

  • Riff Regan[1] was originally signed on to play the role of Willow Rosenberg. The network later recast the role for the series with the now familiar Alyson Hannigan.
  • For the pilot, Principal Flutie was played by Stephen Tobolowsky. In the series, Ken Lerner played a more emotionally overt Principal Flutie.

Production details[edit]

  • Whedon was asked by IGN Film Force in June 2003 about the unaired presentation:
IGNFF: Is the presentation ever going to make it to DVD?
WHEDON: Not while there is strength in these bones.
IGNFF: Well, I mean, it's one of the most heavily bootlegged things on the Internet.
WHEDON: Yeah. It sucks on ass.
IGNFF: Yeah, it does, but it's sort of that archival, historical perspective...
WHEDON: Yeah, I've got your historical perspective.
IGNFF: It would take it off the bootleg market...
WHEDON: Ah, I don't – what are you going to do?
IGNFF: Put it on the DVD.
WHEDON: Not me.[2]

Music[edit]

  • Rancid - "Salvation" - Plays as Buffy enters high school
  • Dionne Farris - "I Know" - The song plays as we're first introduced to Xander and Willow
  • Stone Temple Pilots - "Lady Picture Show" - The song plays as Buffy waits in line to enter The Bronze, talking with Jonathan.
  • Bob Mould - "See a Little Light" - The song that plays at the end of the episode as Buffy throws the stake at the poster.

External links[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Riff Regan at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ An Interview with Joss Whedon by Ken P., page 10, filmforce.ign.com, June 23, 2003, retrieved March 6, 2006