Buffy The Vampire Slayer Is Actually An X-Men Character?

Joss Whedon based Buffy Summers off of Kitty Pryde, the fan-favorite X-Men character, referring to the mutant as a prototype of Buffy.

By Danyell Marshall | Published

sarah michelle gellar

In a 2012 Wired interview, show creator Joss Whedon revealed a surprising Buffy/X-Men connection. Whedon referred to the X-Men character Kitty Pryde as the prototype, or mother of Buffy, the titular character in his popular series starring Sarah-Michelle Geller. The parallels between the TV slayer and the comic book character are apparent.

Buffy and Kitty are young women who discover they have grave power and responsibility at a vulnerable age. As young women, they face a roller coaster of emotion and experience while they navigate coming of age with superhuman abilities. The Buffy/X-Men link perfectly explains the internal structure of Buffy’s character.

Whedon is a former writer for comics like Astonishing X-Men, which included Kitty Pryde, so his relationship with the character has been intensely developed. Her influence on the surface of Buffy should be little surprise, knowing her creator’s relationship to the prototype character. It’s no wonder Buffy follows the same archetypal arc of a young woman discovering who she is while navigating extraordinary circumstances and abilities.

Like many coming-of-age/passing-of-the-mantle stories, Kitty and Buffy rely on older, trusted confidants for guidance. Kitty Pryde has Storm to look to for leadership while Buffy is guided by the stuffy academic Giles (Anthony Head). Both characters rely on these mentors and their peers as they struggle to balance a personal life with saving the world, though like Buffy, X-Men is essentially a story about extraordinary characters trying to find a place in an ordinary world.

As young women, both Buffy and Kitty attempt to leave their extraordinary lives behind in the hopes of settling down into a dull, everyday life. However, going to college, dating, and even getting regular jobs are complicated by these women’s great power. Both characters eventually accept that they are helpless against their fate and return to their old lives.

Elliot Page as Kitty Pryde in X-Men: The Last Stand

The Buffy/X-Men characters aren’t carbon copies of each other as Kitty discovered her powers much younger than Buffy at 13. Kitty’s dynamic within her more extensive cast differs slightly from the 90s TV slayer. Where high school peers surrounded Buffy, Kitty was the youngest to join the X-Men crew and was viewed as such while in comparison, Buffy’s pals looked up to her as a leader and acted as her gang of plucky helpers. Even Giles worked in Buffy’s service to make her job as the slayer easier.

Whedon is a staple and icon of nerd culture. His work on beloved properties like Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly, and more have sealed his legacy in the culture. Unique as the Buffy/X-Men creative is, he’s not been immune to a fair amount of scandal throughout his career. Ironically, while he’s known for creating strong female leads, Whedon’s been criticized for problematic writing and real-life treatment of women.

Buffy and X-Men fans may enjoy this glimpse into the inspiration behind an iconic character. Buffy represents an alternate reality, a different path for a young woman coming to grips with heroism and womanhood simultaneously. Perhaps in Buffy, Whedon could write the development arc he would have wished for Kitty Pryde.