Over the past week, we've been sharing just a handful of the dozens of heartwarming, heartbreaking & enlightening personal perspectives shared by Sarah Michelle Gellar, Charisma Carpenter, Emma Caulfield, Amber Benson, James Marsters, Anthony Head, Seth Green, Marc Blucas, Nicholas Brendon, and many others in Evan Ross Katz's Into Every Generation a Slayer Is Born: How Buffy Staked Our Hearts (you can purchase it here). Katz's impressive access to those in-the-know when it came to Buffy the Vampire Slayer helps elevate the work above previous examinations of the series, helping craft an examination that addresses both the franchise's immense impact on pop culture and society as well as a number of its failings (including directly addressing the abuse accusations leveled at Joss Whedon by many connected with the show in 2021). As fans are more than aware, the end of the show's third season brought a wave of change to BtVS with perhaps the biggest change being the departure of David Boreanaz's Angel and Carpenter's Cordelia Chase to Los Angeles for the spinoff series Angel (along with the late Glenn Quinn's Doyle), which would run for five seasons, from October 1999 to May 2004). Now, we're learning how Gellar felt about the show moving forward without Angel (a question that Gellar says she was never asked before now), and Carpenter's initial concerns about joining the spinoff.
"Joss told me [early] on and coming from soap operas, you know that there's nothing worse than a happy couple. And at a certain point, it gets very hard to maintain that," Gellar explained, seeing the move as a way of keeping the couple's bond fresh even if it would be from a distance. And as Gellar saw it, it was a no-lose situation since Boreanaz always had BtVS to return to. "I was just really happy for David and excited to see what the next chapter was. And as David and Joss and I sued to joke, if 'Angel' doesn't work, he'll just come back. It was never such a closed-door," she explained. As for Carpenter, she admits that Cordelia's popularity among the fans wasn't something she was really aware of at first. "I didn't know what was going on, on the message boards. I didn't really know until one time I was protesting a Cordelia moment and the producers said something like, 'Calm down, this is why America loves you,' and you're going, 'Oh, America loves me?' It was like new information for me."
But playing a popular character is one thing. It's quite another to take that character from being part of an ensemble to being a lead in a new series. "To hear that I was being invited to go onto the spinoff show and have the opportunity to just be on a cast of three people instead of five-plus, I was very terrified by that responsibility," Carpenter reveals. "I was kind of insecure and not sure that I would live up to the task. I had a lot of anxiety. I still am a pretty anxious person. And I was simultaneously in a lot of fear because I didn't know what kind of economic responsibility or insecurity that it could bring on [if it wasn't a hit]. My first response was, 'Thank you so much. If it fails, can I come back?' [Joss] said yes, and I said, 'Great, let's go.'"