Even though it's been 20 years since its premiere, Buffy The Vampire Slayer remains one of the most iconic TV shows of all-time. What keeps people talking, year after year, and what keeps pulling in new viewers on Netflix, is the show's unmatched writing. Buffy transports you to places that even the most well-developed, high budget, Oscar-worthy movies could never dream of taking you. Through the series, there are major, realistic, and raw plot lines about loneliness, self-loathing, abuse, addiction, death, grieving, sisterhood, queer relationships, selfishness, revenge, redemption, depression, womanhood, and growing up in a cruel, ever-complicated world.
It's interesting then, to wonder what Buffy would look like if it was written by different people. The writers of Buffy have very clear voices that shine through, giving the show and its characters their own unique flavor. What would the Slayer look like if she were written by Haruki Murakami, for example? How would the fate of certain characters be changed if Roxane Gay had been heading the show? Would J.K. Rowling's flair add tragedy to an already devastating show? And what damage would George R. R. Matin do if he was writing it? Let's ponder, for a moment, what Buffy would be like if it had been written by these four very famous authors.
Spoiler warning ahead.
Angel doesn't leave Sunnydale. He decides to stay, because he can't bear to hurt Buffy. Selfishly, he also doesn't want to be alone again. As Buffy begins attending college, their relationship is put to the test. Buffy begins to see what everyone was telling her — about how being with Angel at this time in her life would be difficult for both of them. She starts to resent those people for putting ideas in her head that she can't forget.
Angel can see how he's hurting Buffy, but he knows it's too late to leave now. Buffy stays with Angel in his mansion, but most days, they stay in completely separate rooms. When they lay together at night, they feel more alone than ever. Is it possible, they wonder, to completely love someone but to want more? They wish they could explain this feeling to the other, but they can't find the words. They say nothing.
Despite their disconnection, they want each other, physically, now more than ever. Their want makes them more powerful and makes them deadlier to vampires and demons, but they never can scratch the itch that they feel. Buffy dreams of Angel, yet she finds herself aroused by Xander's never-ending obsession with her, and sometimes she pleasures herself to the thought of one her teacher's aids named Riley. Angel, meanwhile, drowns himself in demon-related texts, much like Giles does, hoping he can do something, anything, that might satisfy Buffy.
Together they overthrow the Initiative and defeat Adam, but still they feel unfulfilled. One day though, at a Scooby's dinner, Anya confronts the two, uncomfortable by their tension, which is so obvious to her. "Listen," she tells them. "Your tension is making everyone uncomfortable. It's all grim and darkness and complaining with you two but really it isn't so bad. Sure, sex is fun. REALLY fun. But it's ultimately just bodies pressing together. Anyone can do it... well, most people can do it. The point is, you've found someone willing to be with you for your soul, for your heart, someone willing to fight evil soldiers and Frankenstein monsters with you. So just masturbate, masturbate together, watch each other have sex with other people, have Willow on standby to do that spell once a year so you two can do it really good. Just do something because you two make me everyone here feel guilty for having sex."
Everyone slowly turns to Giles. He cleans his glasses and says nothing.
Faith, the other Slayer, joins Buffy in her battle against The Mayor. What Buffy and co. didn't know was that Faith, after losing her Watcher, had been rescued by an extraordinarily powerful Seer. This Seer, who took her in after her traumatic loss, placed a great burden upon her. He showed her the future of the world, how The Mayor would destroy Buffy, her friends, and all of Sunnydale. He explained to Faith that she would have to play the role of villain, to leave hints for Buffy, and to give The Mayor a weakness he didn't have before. She hesitantly agreed to play her part.
Coming to Sunnydale, Faith knew the plan, but found herself caught off guard when she accidentally killed a human. The Seer hadn't told her about that part. She quickly began to spiral, not knowing whether the plan included her feeling and acting as crazy and vicious as she was. She decided to lose herself in the plan, as she drowned in a world loneliness in which she'd never felt loved or needed. At least this mission needed her, she would remind herself as she lay in bed at night. It's funny, how fulfilled she felt, when Buffy slid that knife in her gut.
3George R. R. Martin
Buffy is killed by The Master in season 1, who drinks from her, then snaps her neck... just to be sure that she's dead. In a desperate counter-move, Giles does a dimensional travel spell, in hopes that he can find a Buffy from a different timeline who can save them all. He can't find Buffy when he arrives there, but the Willow of that universe, who is grieving the loss of her girlfriend, senses the breach and runs through, just as the spell drains the last of Giles' energy. He's left an empty, dead shell from doing a spell so far above his level.
Willow is devastated when she discovers that this is universe is far from her own, as The Master has quickly ravaged a world without an experienced Slayer to defend it. She understands that she has traveled to a different universe, and being little more than a shell on the brink of collapse, she decides her only move is to look for Xander. She finds him near the school, attempting to stake Angel in a psychotic break — after having lost Buffy, Giles, his parents, and this universe's Willow, who was eaten alive by the disgusting, tentacled demon above the Hellmouth. Xander curses Angel for vampires, for existing, for taking Buffy from him, for everything. Angel tries to dissuade the boy, but eventually, his vampiric nature takes over and he snaps the boy's neck.
Willow loses her humanity right then and there and destroys Angel with a fireball that will never stop burning. She destroys everything in her path. No vampire, not even The Master, can stop her. After a while, she can't even tell the vampires and demons from the humans, her vision is so clouded by darkness, so she kills anything that crosses her path. Her sole purpose is to travel the world to find Tara, alive or dead. Powerful though she may be, the Gods have used all of their power to curse the wretched witch who disrespects order and balance. They have made it so that Tara may never exist in a universe if she does.
The world's only hope lies in a vengeance demon named Anyanka, who prays that she will find someone to wish this terrible universe back to the way it was. But it's unlikely in a universe where demons now outnumber humans.
Kendra isn't killed. In fact, she kicks Drusilla's ass. She moves to Sunnydale to be closer to the Hellmouth, fights alongside Buffy, and enrolls at the high school. She wants to fit in socially, but instead she finds herself disgusted by how the world history she and her fellow classmates are being taught is blanketed in white supremacy. "That's not how that happened," she shouts to herself. Kendra didn't study so hard back home to be lied to by her teachers.
Later, in their battles against The Mayor, Buffy learns exactly how privileged she is, particularly compared to Kendra. This makes her uncomfortable. Tension between the two begins to grow, and eventually Giles sits them both down for a lesson on past Slayers. Through these lessons, which Kendra had already learned long ago, Buffy is forced to confront the uncomfortable, terrifying realities that face former Slayers of color. They didn't have the options Buffy did. They faced aggression and suspicion from police officers who saw them out late at night. They bore the burden of darkness in the human and demon world.
Buffy is better for this lesson and slowly learns to pass over leadership to Kendra. Silently, Kendra struggles with overwhelming whiteness, her discomfort talking and/or being alone with boys, but we learn, through the seasons, exactly what made this no-nonsense Slayer into the young woman that she is today.