On Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Slayers of the Last Arc
By Nancy Holder
With the announcement that Buffy the Vampire Slayer was ending its seven-year run, viewers went on high alert and speculation mounted about how Joss Whedon and his staff would conclude Buffy’s story. There had been discussions about the fate of the show before, by savvy fans who knew that Sarah Michelle Gellar’s contract was due to run out at the end of season seven (as were the contracts of most of the regular cast.) They were aware that Gellar could decide to renew her contract, but the prevailing feeling was that she would not. Surely for a show titled Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the character of Buffy Summers was pivotal–or was she? If Gellar left but the show went on, would it be revamped (sorry) and titled Slayer, as it had originally almost been called? Would Buffy die? Would Faith survive and take over the job? Would Buffy “jump” into Faith’s body? Would the Buffybot provide a model for a new Slayer? Would Dawn take on the mantel? What about a new unknown becoming the Chosen One?
During the course of season seven, most of the possibilities fans discussed among themselves were brought into play. The opening shot of “Lessons,” the last season’s first episode, shows the assassination of a Potential (though not revealed to be so at first.) Potentials were murdered; Willow had visions; The First drove the newly ensouled Spike even crazier, and haunted the living with their dead. Potential Slayers by the dozens hurried to Buffy for …