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Btvs The subject of this article is non-canonical.
While created as part of licensed material, it has not been confirmed as part of the "real" Buffyverse continuity.

The Buffy the Vampire Slayer pilot is a thirty-minute production never intended to air, but used by 20th Century Fox to sell the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television show to a network in 1996. It was written and directed by Joss Whedon.

It served a similar function as the pitch tape had for Angel.


A tough guy breaks a window and sneaks into a high school at night, leading a girl by the hand. He takes her to the darkened, secluded auditorium in Berryman High School. They start to make out, until she becomes frightened, but he assures her that they're alone. He approaches her, but then she morphs into her vampire face and bites his neck.

In the next morning, it is a new school day and Buffy is being shown around her new school by Principal Flutie. As he does so, he calls her by different names, none of which are her own. Buffy assures Flutie that there won't be any problems like at her old school and she is "Here to have fun. But I mean learning, fun with learning." Flutie tells Buffy not to worry, he thinks she will fit in just fine.

Meanwhile, Xander and Willow talk, and he asks her to help him with his homework; Willow agrees after being promised the reward of a shiny nickel. A jock asks Cordelia out to the Bronze and she declines him. Her companion, Harmony, confirms that they're still going. Cordelia asks who is playing that night and Harmony tells her it's Dingoes Ate My Baby. Cordelia surveys the group of her fellow students and mocks them one by one, until Xander interrupts. Cordelia ridicules him and leave, just as Buffy, looking through her bag and not paying attention to where she is going, bumps into Xander, causing her to drop her things. She gathers what she has dropped as Xander apologizes, and she asks him where the library is. He helps her out but when she leaves, he notices she has forgotten a sharpened wooden stake.

The library is deserted and Buffy turns to leave, but bumps into Giles. She starts to ask him for some school books she needs, but Giles cuts her short and says he has what's she is looking for, and places a large book in front of her entitled Vampyr. Disturbed, Buffy tells Giles that's not whats she's looking for and hurries out, leaving a confused Giles behind. Buffy goes to class, but instead of paying attention, seems troubled by what had happened in the library.

The bell rings and Willow introduces herself to Buffy, offering, by request of Mr. Barnes, that she help Buffy get caught up. Willow is a bit unsure of herself when talking to Buffy but Buffy accepts her offer. While walking with Willow, Buffy asks about Giles. Willow tells her that he started a couple weeks ago, when Cordelia, Harmony and a girl appear before them. Cordelia introduces herself as the welcoming committee and maneuvers Buffy away from Willow to join her group of friends. Meanwhile, Aphrodesia and Aura talk about Buffy in the girls' locker room. As Aphrodesia rants on about how Buffy got kicked out of her old school due to some kind of delinquent behavior, the body of the boy killed the previous night falls out of her locker onto Aphrodesia, making her go into a screaming fit.

Xander finds Buffy to return her stake and gives her a tour of the school and its cliques. Willow finds them and tells them about the dead body, causing Buffy to run off and find Principal Flutie. The rattled principal apologies for such events on her first day of school and asks if there's anything he can do, so Buffy asks to see the body. She sees two holes in the neck and she heads for the library. Giles is not surprised by the news, but instead that Buffy wants nothing to do with being a Slayer. She explains that being the Slayer is why she lost everything she valued. Xander overhears the conversation.

That night, Buffy meets Xander outside the Bronze and he tells her that Willow isn't there because she's at school with a new boyfriend. Buffy is suspicious and asks a lot of questions about this new boyfriend's appearance and when Xander mentions that he has a long-out-of-style look, she runs off and Xander follows. Meanwhile, Willow is shyly hanging out with a guy. She tells him that she is still a little troubled about the dead body, but he says that the boy got what he deserved for being alone in a secluded place with someone he barely knew. Willow turns to see that the guy has morphed into his vampire face. He grabs her and bites her neck. Meanwhile, Buffy and Xander have arrived at the school and they follow Willow's screams.

Buffy gives Xander her purse, saying he might need it, and then she charges in and tells the vampire biting Willow to get away from her. Buffy looks untroubled by the prospect of defeating the vampire, but then a bunch of other vampires appear and she gets nervous. She begins her attack, telling Xander and Willow to escape. Xander then throws Buffy a broom that she uses in the fight, and then he rushes to help a dizzy Willow. Buffy gets to stake a vampire with the broom, who disappears into ashes. Xander is then grabbed by the vampire from the previous night and she bites him. Willow notices a large cross in Buffy's purse, so she uses to burn the vampire until she boils. Buffy dispatches the vampires then announces she is the Slayer, causing one of them to away. It remains only the vampire who had attacked Willow, who Buffy finally kills. The three now resting, Willow apologizes for all the turmoil, and Buffy explains it's actually a matter of destiny. Xander then asks: "So, what does a vampire slayer do exactly?"

The next morning, Giles is unimpressed by Buffy's fighting and that she allowed others to find out her secret identity, but Xander and Willow defend her and Buffy is rather unperturbed. "Don't sweat it. The world's in beauty hands. Trust me," she says, then throws a stake into the heart of a Nosferatu poster nearby.


  • The overall story and some dialogs are also present in the series premiere "Welcome to the Hellmouth," which replaces this episode in the canon chronology.
  • The school is called Berryman High School. In the series, it was renamed Sunnydale High. The school's team is the Bulls, not the Razorbacks like in the series, as first mentioned in "The Pack."
  • Harmony mentions that Dingoes Ate My Baby are playing. The band would not make an appearance until the second season ("Inca Mummy Girl").
  • Buffy appears as a brunette, but she is consistently blonde throughout the series.
  • The library demonstrates the largest alteration in scenery between the unaired pilot and the show, as first seen in "Welcome to the Hellmouth."



Organizations and titles[]




Death count[]

  • Chris Boal, drained by Darla.
  • Unidentified vampire, staked by Buffy.
  • Darla, burned by Willow.
  • Thomas, killed by Buffy (only mentioned).

Behind the scenes[]


  • The pilot is without an opening theme and simply renders the title in a different font.
  • The way in which the vampires dusted differ with the canonical series in terms of effects.
  • Actors Riff Regan and Stephen Tobolowsky were replaced by Alyson Hannigan and Ken Lerner in the series, in their respective roles as Willow and Flutie. The uncredited actors for Chris and Thomas also changed to J. Patrick Lawlor and Carmine Giovinazzo.
  • Joss Whedon was asked by IGN in 2003 about the unaired pilot:
    IGN: Is the presentation ever going to make it to DVD?
    Whedon: Not while there is strength in these bones.
    IGN: Well, I mean, it's one of the most heavily bootlegged things on the Internet.
    Whedon: Yeah. It sucks on ass.
    IGN: Yeah, it does, but it's sort of that archival, historical perspective...
    Whedon: Yeah, I've got your historical perspective
    IGN: It would take it off the bootleg market...
    Whedon: Ah, I don't— What are you going to do?
    IGN: Put it on the DVD.
    Whedon: Not me.[1]
  • Clips from the pilot were included in the History of the Slayer.
  • Mercedes McNab appears in the unaired pilot as Harmony, and is the only cast member from it who would also appear in the series finale of Angel making her the longest serving character in the Buffyverse, introduced prior to Angel, and continuing to appear on screen after Buffy Summers.
  • Nicholas Brendon recalled in the book Into Every Generation a Slayer Is Born that he, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Riff Regan attended a read-through at Joss Whedon's house. The process was interrupted by a phone call from Steven Spielberg, asking Whedon to polish the dialogue in Twister.

Deleted scenes[]

  • This line from Principal Flutie was cut:[citation needed]
"I don't think you'll have any problem adjusting, Bunny. Just remember our personal rules: No gang colours, no fur, no hanging from the rafters in the cafeteria screaming "Meat is Murder", on sloppy joe day. That became very popular last month. Had to put my foot down."
  • A scene with David Boreanaz was filmed for the pilot, but the scene was deleted and his name was not included in the credits. The scene is similar to the aired debut episode "Welcome to the Hellmouth":[citation needed]
    Angel: "Ah, heh. Is there a problem, ma'am?"
    Buffy: "Yeah, there's a problem. Why are you following me?"
    Angel: "I know what you're thinking. Don't worry, I don't bite."
    She backs off and lets him get up, but keeps her fighting stance.
    Angel: "Truth is, I thought you'd be taller, or bigger muscles and all that. You're pretty spry, though." (massages his neck)
    Buffy: "What do you want?"
    Angel: "The same thing you do."
    Buffy: (lets down her guard) "Okay. What do I want?"
    Angel: (steps toward her) "To kill them. To kill them all."
    Buffy: "Sorry, that's incorrect. But you do get this lovely watch and a year's supply of Turtle Wax. What I want is to be left alone!" (she starts a determined walk away)
    Angel: "Do you really think that's an option anymore? You're standing at the Mouth of Hell. And it's about to open."
    She stops, turns to him and looks at him with a wide-eyed gaze. He reaches into his jacket and pulls out a small box.
    Angel: "Don't turn your back on this." (tosses her the box) "You've gotta be ready."
    Buffy: "What for?"
    Angel: "For the Harvest."
    Buffy: "Who are you?"
    Angel: "Let's just say… I'm a friend." (starts to leave)
    Buffy: "Yeah, well, maybe I don't want a friend."
    Angel: (turns back) "I didn't say I was yours."

Pop culture references[]

  • When Principal Flutie confuse named Buffy several times he makes several external references, like: Bugs Bunny, the Barbie doll, the deer Bambi, and The Flintstones (Betty and Wilma).
  • Cordelia makes a comment about the Sears store and the fashion of flannel cloth.
  • Buffy and Willow commented about celebrities such as Laura Ashley, Home Depot Guy, and Martha Stewart. Later on the library, Buffy talk with Giles about Cindy Lou.
  • When they speak of gangs and tribes, Buffy and Xander comment about the movie The Muppets Take Manhattan.
  • Xander compares a vampire with singer Lionel Ritchie.
  • Buffy and Giles talk about a promotion from Time-Life series.
  • The staff of Cineclub is exposing a poster of the Nosferatu movie, to which Buffy later reaches with a stake.



  • The background music used when Buffy is shown the Vampyr book for the first time by Giles is never used again in the series, but was used in the season premiere of the fourth season of Charmed as well as several episodes of its fifth season.


Behind-the-scenes pictures for the episode.


  1. Ken P., "An Interview with Joss Whedon." IGN, June 23, 2003. Retrieved October 17, 2019.