Most of you know him as Spike, the bad boy villain, later to become the anti-hero from the hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Sarah Michelle Gellar. But as you’ll soon find out, James Marsters’s talents aren’t limited to acting. Though he’s stayed busy in Hollywood for decades, there is more than meets the eye with this guy.
For James Marsters, there wasn’t much to his career before he signed on for Buffy. He was twice seen on the TV series Northern Exposure in brief roles and then moved on to another series, Medicine Ball. He also pulled in a guest-starring role on Moloney before Joss Whedon hired him for his career-turning role. It was certainly the right move.
JAMES MARSTERS WAS SPIKE IN BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, WHERE JOSS WHEDON THREATENED HIM
Initially, the character of Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was going to be short-lived. According to James Marsters, who told 411Mania, “At first I was supposed to die in 5 episodes and then they decided to keep me around for 10, but at the end of 10 that was it; I was gone and there was no plan to bring me back at all. It was only when they spun off Angel into a series and lost their Cordelia, which was the character who told Buffy she was stupid and about to die, that they needed someone to tell Buffy she was stupid and about to die, and they decided to bring me back.”
He went on, “I failed miserably at that because I could never be around in the daytime to tell Buffy she was stupid and going to die because I was a vampire and going to catch on fire. There were two or three burning blanket episodes in season four, during which I thought I was going to be fired because it was very obvious to me I was not working out as Cordelia.”
It was a surprise to many, especially James Marsters, that his character made it as long as it did throughout Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On many occasions, series creator Joss Whedon made it perfectly clear his thoughts and ideas about vampires in general, something he liked to remind Marsters of time and again.
“I remember doing those first five episodes and, it must have been episode three, and Joss (Whedon) almost physically pushing me up against a wall and saying, ‘I don’t care how popular you are; you are going to die, die, die.’ He made it very clear he did not want the show to be taken over by another romantic vampire. He was not enamored with vampires and that’s putting it mildly.”
James Marsters also said to 411Mania, “To Joss, vampires were supposed to be ugly, evil, and quick to be killed. He got talked into one romantic vampire by his writing partner David Greenwalt and that was Angel. Of course Angel took off like a rocket and when I was cast Joss did not imagine me to be popular; Spike was supposed to be dirty and evil, punk rock, and then dead.”
“Things started to turn out differently and I think Joss was passionate that I would not corrupt his theme, which was basically trying to find a metaphor for all of the problems you encounter during adolescence. Vampires stood in for those problems and I think I endangered that theme by being popular. He did not want people to like me at all.”
Whedon’s wishes were not granted, because Spike became a very popular character. So popular that James Marsters also crossed over to the Buffy spin-off, Angel. So popular that even when Angel was canceled, there was talk of a Spike movie.
That eventually went away because as more time went on, Marsters felt his aging would take away from his character. He was, after all, a vampire.
HE TOOK A NUMBER OF ROLES AFTER BUFFY
While James Marsters worked on both Buffy and Angel, he continued with other endeavors. He could be seen on Millennium, House on Haunted Hill, Strange Frequency and Strange Frequency 2 (a rock ‘n’ roll version of The Twilight Zone), and Chance.
After Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel wrapped up their respective series, James Marsters moved on to other various projects that include the trifecta of features, TV movies, and TV series. They included The Mountain, Without A Trace, Torchwood, and Numb3rs. He also played the role of serial killer Ted Bundy in The Capture of the Green River Killer.
James Marsters was also part of another high-profile TV series having a recurring role on Smallville.
He was seen on the series Caprica and even Witches of East End. But acting is not all Marsters has done.
JAMES MARSTERS HAS DONE EXTENSIVE VOICE WORK AND FRONTED THE BAND GHOST OF THE ROBOT
Along with all his work in front of the camera, James Marsters has done his fair share of voice work. He has lent his vocal talents to animated shows such as Spider-Man, The Super Hero Squad Show, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Ultimate Spider-Man, and Dragon Ball Super.
He has also been part of a few video games that include Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chaos Bleeds, Real Heroes: Firefighter, DC Universe Online, Dragon Ball FighterZ, and Dragonball Legends.
James Marsters’s talents go beyond his acting and voice work. He also fronted a rock band, Ghost of the Robot, as well as doing his own thing as a solo artist. As a member of Ghost of the Robot, they released five CDs and as a solo artist, Marsters has released two CDs. He, as well as the band, frequently plays gigs all across the U.S.
JAMES MARSTERS IS STILL ACTING AND IS ON INSTAGRAM
Now 60 years old, James Marsters continues to play music as well as act. He most recently was seen as Victor Stein on the TV series Runaways and had a recurring role on the Hawaii Five-O reboot. He could also be seen in the series The Order. So, while we know we won’t be seeing him don his Spike persona anymore, it is nice to know Marsters will still be entertaining his fans.
James is currently married to his second wife Patricia Rahman, whom he married in 2011 at a ceremony in Germany. He has one son, born in 1996 and a niece who he has raised as his own daughter since 2002.
He also has an Instagram account that is semi-active. There he has close to 160K followers and as you can see above, will occasionally post his rock band’s performances. But there’s also Buffy shoutouts as well:
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