A sequel slash reboot slash continuation of the stories established in both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel have been demanded for years by fans (mainly me). While another live-action iteration has yet to emerge, Buffyverse stars have recently reunited with an Audible Original to deliver another compelling story set in the OG world (and other worlds, actually), from James Marsters to Emma Caulfield Ford and Anthony Head.
Written by Christopher Golden and Amber Benson, the star behind fan-favourite witch Tara Maclay, Slayers: A Buffyverse Story takes place ten years after the final battle that saw Buffy (and Willow) use the power of the scythe to imbue all potential slayers around the world with the strength to defeat vampires, demons and other gnarly demons.
With the OG trio – Buffy, Willow and Xander – gallivanting off elsewhere, Slayers follows Spike in a slayer-run world as he teams up with Clem to infiltrate LA’s demonic underworld. There, he teams up with the 16-year-old newbie slayer Indira (DeLeon Hayes) to face a major new threat: his ex, Drusilla, from an alternate dimension/universe where Cordelia Chase is 1) alive and 2) the slayer.
Read ahead for seven crucial details (and behind-the-scenes facts) from Slayers: A Buffyverse Story that have elicited a passionate response from fans, such as Cordy’s multiversal shenanigans, Drusilla’s newfound status as a queer icon and how the producers brought Clem’s legendary ears to life (really important).
The multiverse exists!
Thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Academy Award-winning sci-fi epic Everything Everywhere All At Once, the multiverse has recently become a popular narrative tool for fantasy and sci-fi franchises. The Buffyverse came before the aforementioned, however, with the acclaimed BTVS season three episode ‘The Wish’, which sees Anyanka grant Cordelia Chase’s wish for a Sunnydale without Buffy Summers. It’s only fitting then, that Slayers: A Buffyverse Story continues to explore alternate timelines and dimension-hopping, and that Cordelia is once again at the helm. In Slayers, we’re introduced to a new version of Cordelia, one who exists in a universe without Buffy. Gag incoming: she’s also the slayer. Cordy doesn’t share her slayer lineage, like in the OG, slayer-run universe, she is the only vampire and demon-slaying badass. In season four’s ‘Superstar’, Anya (Anyanka’s human form) also mentions alternate dimensions, such as a “world with no shrimp” and worlds with “nothing but shrimp”. Spoiler alert: Slayers also confirms that the former, a shrimp-less world, is indeed out there.
What happened in Cordelia’s universe?
As mentioned above, Buffy never existed in Cordelia’s universe. With this in mind, the Powers-That-Be were determined to imbue another cheerleader/popular girl-type with slayer powers, however, so Cordelia is the one that’s called to defeat the forces of darkness. In Slayers, Cordelia reveals that her sister Sarah (an easter egg, perhaps?) died at the hands of The Master, and she was forced to drive a stake through her heart. (Sarah is never mentioned in our universe.) The aforementioned, unintentionally hilarious season one villain also sunk his fangs into Harmony and her crush Jesse, the latter of which you’ll remember was sired (and staked) in the first two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. As is the case with our universe Buffy, Cordelia’s watcher was Giles, who was killed. The slayer lore is a bit different too: in her universe, slayers are said to be inherently magical, with their power being rooted in magic. The reason for Cordelia’s dimension-hopping is the juiciest part: in her universe, Drusilla has become “queen of vampires” and is in cahoots with a dark witch who also boasts a fancy title as “queen of black magic”. More on that to follow…
Drusilla is queer and in a relationship with who?!
As the Buffyverse has previously shown viewers, the entire vampire race is (seemingly) part of the rainbow flag community. From Vampire Willow’s bi/pansexuality to Angel and Spike’s much-rumoured 20th century sexual exploits, vampires will seemingly get frisky with anyone – regardless of sexuality or gender identity. How progressive! It’s not surprising, then, that the Drusilla from Cordelia’s alternate universe is an LGBTQIA+ icon (also a murderous psychopath, but whatever). What is surprising, however, is who Drusilla has chosen to shack up with: Tara. Bewildering? Yes. But, remember this is an alternate version of our beloved witch, who memorably died in season six at the hands of The Trio’s supreme scumbag, Warren. If you’re screaming at this news, we understand. Drusilla! In a relationship! With Tara! We love the multiverse.
Tara is evil!
You’ve guessed it: Tara is the “queen of black magic” in Cordy’s universe. Plot twist! Fans will remember Willow, Tara’s partner in the OG universe, as the witch who previously lost herself to the dark arts, having memorably flayed Warren alive and attempted to destroy the world following Tara’s death. Amber Benson’s character is one of the most wholesome in the entire Buffyverse, so it’s interesting that the script has been flipped here. Also, it’s so much fun hearing Benson camp it up as an evil-dweller. You can tell she’s having fun too. In an interview with Variety, Benson said she wanted to give her character “some meat”: “So we found a way, without spoiling anything, to give her something to sink her teeth into.” Of Tara’s unexpected romance with Drusilla, she added: “I have a lot of fun stuff with Juliet!”
The cast all recorded in the same room (bar Giles)
During the recording process for Slayers, the entire cast recorded their lines in the same room. (To be a fly on that wall?!) This includes: Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia), James Marsters (Spike), Amber Benson (Tara), Emma Caulfield Ford (Anya/Anyanka), Juliet Landau (Drusilla), James Charles Leary (Clem) and Laya DeLeon Hayes (Indira). Anthony Head, who reprises his role as Giles, was the only main cast member who had to dial in. From his recording booth in Bath, the British icon also brought along his original ‘Mr Giles’ plaque from the show with him. (We’re feeling feels.)
Fans are pretty unanimous in agreeing that Clem’s ears are the most iconic ears in the entire Buffyverse. (I made that up, but it seems about right.) The loose-skinned demon made his Buffy debut in season six, where he became an ally to the Scooby Gang through his allegiance to Spike. (His kitten-devouring antics via poker games proved controversial, but no one’s perfect.) Fun fact incoming: the sound effects for his ears were created by producer Kc Wayland flapping his dog’s ears over a mic. Mr Pickles, alternate Anya’s dog, was also voiced by the same producer. Knowing this, you can now sleep soundly tonight.
Emma Caulfield Ford is a vocal genius
What is the Emmy/Grammy/Oscar/Tony equivalent for podcasts? Whatever it is, give the award to Emma Caulfield Ford. According to Audible, the star would often voice Anya, Anyanka and Pupyanka in the same take. We knew Ford’s comedic and dramatic chops were stellar from her live-action stint on the series, but who knew she’s a podcast recording slayer too?
You can listen to Slayers: A Buffyverse Story on Audible.