10 Casting 'What Ifs' From Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Katie Holmes, Nathan Fillion and Ryan Reynolds almost made it to Sunnydale High.

Buffy Kendra
Mutant Enemy

The cast of Buffy The Vampire Slayer feel irreplaceable, particularly the leading trio of Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan and Nicholas Brendon. To many, they are Buffy, Willow and Xander - it is as simple as that.

Others, such as David Boreanaz, Anthony Stewart Head and James Marsters also all make their characters unforgettable in their own ways. Such is the way that they made those roles seem so memorable and made for them, it is easy to forget that the show could have turned out very differently.

A whole host of actors were considered for major roles in the series that, ultimately, all fell through. Others who did appear in the show did so not in the roles they originally auditioned for, instead being offered different supporting roles throughout the series. Many of these characters became fan favourites in their own right, but even still, enough of these 'what ifs' exist to make you think quite seriously about what could have been if history had played out differently.

Some of these feel plausible, others seem ridiculous, and one or two feel like casting choices that would have been looked back on with some fondness.

Here, are ten actors who were either almost cast in Buffy, or who were cast in roles other than the ones they had hoped for.

10. Ryan Reynolds

Buffy Kendra
Miramax Films

Ryan Reynolds is a big star today, having brought Deadpool to life in all his profanity-fuelled wonder, but in the 1990s he was right at the start of his career. Looking for roles, he auditioned for the role of Xander Harris - one of the Scooby Gang along with Buffy and Willow - and he impressed the producers enough to be offered the role.

However, he turned it down. In a 2008 interview, Reynolds explained that he couldn't deal with playing a high school student after his own years were so full of torment. He said at the time "I love that show... but my biggest concern was that I didn't want to play a guy in high school," Reynolds said. "I had just come out of high school and it was f**king awful".

Eventually of course the part went to Nicholas Brendon. What Reynolds' take on him would have looked like is anybody's guess, but given his flair for mixing gut-busting action with comedy, it seems entirely possible that his Xander would have been more of a front-and-centre action hero, more akin to the likes of Riley - albeit with a mischievous comedic streak.


I write regularly about all things pop culture, and am an individually approved critic on Rotten Tomatoes. My other credits include bylines in The Guardian, The Quietus and The Indiependent.