- “Can't even shout.
Can't even cry.
The Gentlemen are coming by.
Looking in windows,
knocking on doors...
They need to take seven
and they might take yours...
Can't call to mom.
Can't say a word.
You're gonna die screaming
but you won't be heard.”
- ―Girl in Buffy's dream[src]
The Gentlemen were a group of demons known from fairytales. They roamed from town to town stealing voices in order to gather seven human hearts. They were served by a group of demonic footmen dressed in straight jackets who did all the fighting and muscle-work for them.
In 1999, Buffy Summers, the Slayer, had a prophetic dream about the Gentlemen's arrival in town. A group came to Sunnydale in the same night and made all inhabitants silent, gathering their voices inside a box. They stayed in a clock tower and managed to collect five hearts, two of them from UC Sunnydale students and one from a fifteen year old girl. The Gentlemen were fought by Buffy with help from the Initiative soldier Riley Finn. Riley freed their voices breaking the box, which allowed Buffy to explode their heads with a scream.
The Gentlemen were bald, pale humanoids that never spoke, but were always grinning through metallic teeth. They wore black suits and carried satchels with scalpels in them, with which to remove the hearts they required. They did not walk, but instead hovered about a foot above the ground, standing straight. They had yellow blood, as seen when the sound of a voice made their heads explode.
True to their name, they tended to act and carry themselves very elegantly and politely; gesturing gracefully, kindly passing the scalpel during a heart extraction and applauding another Gentleman each time they added a heart to the collection.
They were completely silent, never uttering a single word or sound even when in seeming agony upon their defeat.
Powers and abilities
- Levitation — The Gentlemen were able to hover above the ground instead of walking.
- Sense manipulation — They stole the voices of every inhabitant upon arrival in a new town through a magical box.
- They were also invulnerable to physical harm from swords and taser blasters; their only known weakness was the sound of a human voice.
Behind the scenes
- They were portrayed by Doug Jones, Camden Toy, Don W. Lewis, and Charlie Brumbly. Camden Toy also played Gnarl, a Turok-Han, and the Prince of Lies.
- Joss Whedon describes his inspiration while designing the Gentlemen: "What I was going for with the Gentlemen was very specifically a Victorian kind of feel, because that to me is very creepy and fairytale-like." He also lists the characters Nosferatu, Pinhead, Mr. Burns, and a dream he had in which men floated at him as he lied in bed. "I wanted guys that would remind people of what scared them when they were children. I believe the thing that scares us most when we are children is old people. Is the idea of age."
- Two Buffy the Vampire Slayer action figures were based on the Gentlemen, as well as one from the ReAction Figures line, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer bust, and a Funko Pop!
- Asylum, Part One (Only in a picture)
- Asylum, Part Four (Only in a picture)
- "Always Darkest" (Only in visions)
- Top Trumps Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Note from the Underground, Part Four (Only in visions)
- Wrath of the Darkhul King
- Dark Congress
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A Picture Book
- The Cursed Coven (Only mentioned)