Unaired Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot

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 thirty-minute production was written and directed by Buffy creator Joss Whedon.

Plot synopsis


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

Expanded overview

A couple breaks into a deserted school. The girl is a 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 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; he welcomes Betty... Bambi... Barbie...? Meanwhile, Xander arrives, and announces he is troubled by mathematics work. He offers his best friend Willow a shiny nickel in exchange for help. Cordelia and her gang 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 the stake she dropped.

Buffy arrives at the empty two-floor library and almost bumps into the British librarian, Mr. Giles. She explains she's doing history, but Giles slams a book on the desk entitled, Vampires. She leaves, obviously unsettled. After class, Willow approaches her offering to help with studies. Buffy cheerfully accepts.

The two walk through the school, and Willow admits to 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 et al. interrupt them, attempting to take Buffy away from Willow.

Blue and Aphrodisia 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, and he points out the various different social groups: The Housers are 'gansta-wannabees' who are crippled by their upper-middle-class status. The 'Panga-in-breeds', are surfers, always looking for the perfect wave. Buffy spots the 'theater class', whilst both notice the passing 'Dirty Girls' walking by. Xander admits he doesn't have an affiliation (joking he's waiting to hear back from the 'Dirty Girls').

Willow approaches Buffy and Xander troubled. She explains about the body in the locker. Once Cordelia confirms the news, Buffy runs off. Buffy once again meets Principal Flutie when he is coming out of the girl's locker room; he immediately apologizes for such events on her first day of school. Buffy 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 Buffy meets Xander outside the Bronze, and asks about Willow. Xander says that Willow seemingly has a boyfriend, and Buffy is unnerved. 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 blond guy. She tells him she is still troubled by the boy found in the locker, but the blond guy says he got what he deserved. His face turns to its monstrous form.

Xander and Buffy hear Willow's scream from the auditorium. Buffy charges in and finds the Blond Vamp noshing on 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". A vampire runs away, and Buffy is left to dispatch Blond vamp.

The next morning, Giles is unimpressed by Buffy's sloppy fighting, and the fact she has allowed others to find out her identity as a slayer. Her new friends, Willow and Xander, defend her. Buffy is unbothered. "Don't sweat it. The world's in beauty hands. Trust me." Before flipping a stake into the heart of a Nosferatu poster across the way.



Guest starring

Writing and acting

  • Riff Regan 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

  • 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.


  • Rancid - "Salvation". - Plays as Buffy enters high school
  • 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


Notes and references

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