Actress Who Almost Played Buffy The Vampire Slayer More Popular Than Ever

By Douglas Helm | Updated

dolly parton buffy

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is one of the all-time great supernatural TV shows, and a large part of that is the endearing cast. This is especially true of the titular character, played by the incomparable Sarah Michelle Gellar. However, Gellar wasn’t the first person offered the role, as Natasha Lyonne was first in line.

Natasha Lyonne Was Offered The Role Of Buffy Summers

natasha lyonne

Natasha Lyonne appeared on an episode of The Howard Stern Show alongside Tara Reid and Buffy the Vampire Slayer veteran Alyson Hannigan. When Stern asked Lyonne if she was the first choice to play Buffy, Lyonne revealed that she was. She said that WB asked her if she was interested in Dawson’s Creek and Buffy and explained, “I was 16 and I told them the only thing I’d want to do is some Carol Burnett sketch show for the WB, but then I decided I did not want to be committed when I was 16 years old.”

Hard To Imagine Anyone Else As Buffy

sarah michelle gellar

Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran for seven seasons and followed Buffy, who is the latest of a line of women chosen to fight the forces of evil. Together with her friends, she battles vampires, demons, and other supernatural beings in the town of Sunnydale, which sits on top of a portal to the realm of demons. Sarah Michelle Gellar perfectly embodied the role of Buffy, so it’s now hard to imagine anyone else playing the role, even if Natasha Lyonne would have undoubtedly done a great job.

Sarah Michelle Gellar Wasn’t The First Buffy

With that being said, Sarah Michelle Gellar wasn’t the only one to play Buffy, as Kristy Swanson also played the character in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie that came out before the TV series. While the movie has been mostly forgotten, the TV series has lived on as a pop culture touchstone. Along with Natasha Lyonne, Charisma Carpenter was also considered for the role of Buffy but landed the part of Cordelia Chase instead, who would go on to co-star in the spin-off Angel alongside David Borneaz. 

No Buffy, No Problem For Natasha Lyonne

Buffy the Vampire Slayer may not have been Natasha Lyonne’s destiny, but she went on to carve out an interesting career during the 90s when Buffy was airing. Lyonne starred in films like The Slums of Beverly Hills and American Pie. However, her true career renaissance came in the 2010s when she starred in Orange Is The New Black, followed by the twisty Russian Doll, which earned her Emmy nominations in both the acting and writing categories. 

Natasha Lyonne In A New Type Of Crime Procedural

poker face season 1 finale

Natasha Lyonne also starred in one of the best new shows of 2023 with Rian Johnson’s Poker Face. The series follows Lyonne as Charlie Cale, who has the supernatural ability to know when someone is lying. She frequently finds herself using this ability to solve crimes while being on the run from people she ran afoul of in Vegas.

Poker Face Is A Hit

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Poker Face is the perfect show for Natasha Lyonne, and she nabbed another Emmy nomination for her efforts. While it’s interesting to imagine a world where Lyonne starred in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, this timeline seems like the right one. Lyonne is the perfect Charlie in Poker Face, and Sarah Michelle Gellar is the perfect Buffy, so everything worked out alright.