This year marks two decades of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. In that time, the show has made the jump from midseason replacement to ongoing multimedia franchise, an accomplishment that few can claim. Of course, it’s part and parcel of an anniversary like this to look back to where it all began, and what better way to do that than with someone whose involvement goes back to the beginning? At the recent Wizard World Philadelphia convention, we had the opportunity to speak with Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander Harris through all seven seasons of the landmark series. Our conversation covered both his time on the series and his continuing involvement with the ‘Buffy’ franchise following its transition to the comic book medium under the stewardship of Dark Horse Comics.
Science Fiction: Looking back after twenty years, what is the most surprising effect Buffy has had on your life today?
Nicholas Brendon: I guess the fact that I’m here right now, you know? That people still care and that it had the effect that it had.
SF: Thinking back to the early days of the show, is there a moment that stands out as the time you realized that it was something special?
NB: I think probably when… The first episode that was completely finished was the third episode, ‘Witch’. So me, Aly, and Sarah all watched it and we’re like “Oh. Oh wow, this could be kinda good.” And then when it aired on a Tuesday, I would always check out the ratings on that next Wednesday and you’d see them going up and up. It was just a very special time.
SF: More generally, do you have a favorite memory from your time on the series?
SF: And in terms of his growth as a character, what do you consider to have been Xander’s most important moment?
NB: Probably the last scene in ‘The Zeppo’, when he kind of said he didn’t really need Cordelia and just walked away and had a smile on his face.
SF: In addition to acting on the show, you’ve since been contributing to the comic book relaunch as a writer. Has your approach to Xander changed now that you’re on the other side of the camera, so to speak?
NB: It really hasn’t. I was really good at writing Xander and then a young GIles, and I also just came up with some ideas. It was kind of neat just to be writing it with Christos Gage and then kind of acting out the lines. We would write at this little coffee shop in Santa Monica, and if anybody had been an avid ‘Buffy’ fan they would have been like, wetting their pants, you know?
SF: On a related note, Joss Whedon has suggested that if Buffy were to get a television revival, it might overwrite the comics continuity. If that were to happen, what would your ideal scenario be for Xander?
NB: Well, to be on the show. And then probably to be overseeing the Slayers and things like that. And working the hell out of an eyepatch!
SF: Do you have any upcoming projects you’d like to share with us?
NB: I’ve got a movie called ‘The Nanny’ coming out for the Syfy Channel. I’ve got a movie called ‘Redwood’. I’ve got a movie called ‘Milk and Honey’ and I’m gonna shoot a show next month called ‘The Wannabes’, which I’m also writing.
For more from Nicholas Brendon, including updates on all of his current and future projects, make sure to check out his Facebook and Twitter pages. And while you’re at it, be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on the twentieth anniversary of ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’!