Movies + TV, Pop Culture

Ever wondered what “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” would look like, 20 years later? We’ve got the answer.

On this day 20 years ago, our lives changed forever.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’re a 90’s kid, you’re a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” or at least have heard of it. If you haven’t seen it, get on Netflix now, watch all 7 seasons, and then come back.

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” premiered in 1997 – it followed the life of a vampire slayer, Buffy Summers, and her fight against all things evil: vampires, actual and personal demons, men, and even gods (remember Glory?). Being the Chosen One of her generation, she was trained by the librarian/Watcher Giles to slay. As the slayer, it was her job to protect us all from evil with her super-human strength and witty puns.

But there’s something the show lacked; minority representation. With a 7 season long series, there were very few PoC actors with significant speaking roles, 2 to be exact: Kendra, a slayer, and Principal Wood who appeared in season 7 (when the world was ending).

As 90’s kids Buffy is one of those icebreaker shows that brings people together. As young girls of color, we, Sana and Saffiyya, watched and grew with this show, but never quite saw ourselves represented. A series as iconic as Buffy, in general but also for our lives, it’s about time we re-imagined it with a PoC cast. So here’s two life-long fans casting commentary and selection for the Buffy remake. Bear in mind that this is an imaginary world where ages can be changed to fit the ages of the characters…

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1. Buffy Summers, played by Constance Wu

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Who cares about twirling batons when you can twirl a stake?

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Sana: I mean, Constance Wu is consistently badass, much like Buffy Summers – plus she’s TOO beautiful and feisty.

Saffiyya: Constance can definitely be the chosen one, even though I’ve not seen her in roles where’s she’s fighting I’m pretty sure she can slay easily.

2. Angel, played by Idris Elba

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Sana: Angel was my first-ever crush. Idris Elba is my current and forever crush. It works.

Saffiyya: Ok, so even though I’ve got mixed feelings about Angel, and that self sacrificial love (bleh) there’s no denying he was Buffy’s first love, and that breakup affected all of us. With Idris, I expect all the feels.

3. Spike, played by Mahershala Ali

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Sana: Mahershala has played someone just as vicious as Spike and looked good doing it. Y’all know he’s perfect.

Saffiyya: Dem cheekbones, that leather coat, c’mon! Yep, perfection.

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4. Dru, played by Jada Pinkett-Smith

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Sana: I think Jada is just weird enough to play Dru… which, ya know, is hard considering she was driven mad by Angel.

Saffiyya: No question that Dru was off her rockers… with Jada’s role in “Gotham” it’s such an easy transition into being Dru.

5. Xander, played by Donald Glover

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Sana: Gambino is bae. And he’s nerdy cute, like Xander is meant to be. But I think he’d do Xander more justice, and be way more fly.

Saffiyya: It was so hard for Xander to catch a break for all 7 seasons so maybe Donald will make him less meh.

6. Willow, played by Janelle Monae

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Sana: Janelle is SMART AF (plus played a super smart woman in “Hidden Figures”), but I think can handle end of season 6, destroy the world Willow too.

Saffiyya: Willow was our introduction to witches and computers, is really smart and helped saved the day except when she turned too witchy and tried to kill everyone. Plus I think Janelle’s colorful style fits in perfectly with Willow’s. I’m just hoping for less hyperventilation.

7. Giles, played by Jaime Camill

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Sana: Because he’s old and he’s hot and he’s awesome, okay?

Saffiyya: Of course Rogelio de la Vega would look good in tweed!

8. Faith, played by Priyanka Chopra

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Sana: Priyanka Chopra? I feel like I don’t have to explain this one.

Saffiyya: Faith’s supposed to be really sexy, doesn’t play by the rules and will take your man- I think Priyanka could pull it off easily, plus they’re both really athletic.

9. Cordelia, played by Gabrielle Union

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Sana: Cordelia’s meant to be the best looking girl around. Have you SEEN Gabrielle Union?

Saffiyya: Cordelia was the first mean girl I remember in a TV series even though she still has a conscience sometimes. Gabrielle would be the sweetest mean girl around.

10. Oz- Aziz Ansari

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Sana: I really love imagining Aziz turn into a werewolf … SO INTRIGUED.

Saffiyya: Apart from being a werewolf Oz is also a very smart musician with snarky yet awkward one liners.

11. Tara, played by Amandla Stenberg

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Sana: Tara was a hard one, but I think Amandla is shy and can offer awkwardness akin to Tara. Plus a Janelle + Amandla shipping is not something I knew I needed until now.

Saffiyya: Tara’s kinda awkward and really shy but a very powerful witch – not to mention adorable.

11. Dawn, played by nobody. NOBODY.

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Yeah, so Dawn doesn’t exist in this world. You are welcome.

12. Joyce Summers, played by Lucy Liu

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Sana: Just imagine the episode in season 2 when Joyce tells Buffy if she leaves the house, she can never come back. Lucy in that scene would be amazing.

Saffiyya: Lucy can TOTALLY be the protective mother that Joyce tried to be.

13. Riley Finn, played by Brian Tee

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Sana: Brian Tee is our re-imagined, hot dude that actually has a personality and isn’t the worst like Riley.

Saffiyya: So Riley was meh for Buffy at least even though he was the doting boyfriend. Maybe this Riley can make an interesting love triangle for Buffy.

14. Glory, played by Taraji P Henson

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Sana: THERE IS NO ONE ELSE WHO COULD OR SHOULD PLAY GLORY AND Y’ALL KNOW IT.

Saffiyya: We couldn’t leave out Glory given that she was the evil the Scooby gang was fighting for a season. Taraji would be a stellar Glorificous.

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Buffy has truly shaped who we are today by being one of our first role models — she’s strong, complex, flawed, and amazing. We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate her and the 20th anniversary than reimagining it with a full POC cast. If it’s ever redone, we hope Buffy is a WOC.

Saffiyya Mohammed

Saffiyya Mohammed

Caribbean woman but not by your preconceived notions; there’s a Trini everywhere so I’m the one here. As the Senior Community Editor for The Tempest, she knows two things for sure: writing can change the world, and if you have a story to tell, you owe it to yourself to share it. Born and bred island girl, she’s contemplating the next destination for her adventure while also being a bibliophile, writer, and planeteer.

Sana Saiyed

Sana Saiyed

Science editor and writer. Raised in Kentucky and educated at Wellesley College and the University of Chicago. Studies the ways in which climate change influences animal behavior.

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