"Final analysis, final verdict," TV Guide scribe Matt Roush said to the assembled panel of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" castmembers and creators. "Angel or Spike?"
As Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, looked amused but shocked — and James Marsters, who played Spike, wriggled uncomfortably in his chair — only Nicholas Brendan, who played Xander, had the nerve to pipe up and rephrase the age-old question: "Given the comic book, I think Willow."
Ten years after the unlikely show hit the air, the "Buffy" cast and creators reunited Thursday for the first time since the show ended in 2004 at Hollywood's Cinerama Dome as part of Paley Fest. The "Buffy" event was at full capacity, and some tickets were sold for 10 times their face value on eBay. "Sarah and Seth [Green, who played Oz] and I are planning a song-and-dance number with jazz hands for it," Michelle Trachtenberg, who played Dawn, joked on the red carpet. "We have mermaid costumes and everything. We're the 'Jazz-Hands Buffy Brigade.' "
That was, in part, a reference to one of the things that has kept the show alive during the years it's been off the air: Buffyoke, performed to the tune of the show's "Once More With Feeling" musical episode, which was shown prior to the panel at the Cinerama Dome. Since the sing-alongs had been stalled, Gellar and Green told MTV News that they should stage their own, saying they could hold them at Green's home and call it a "Hot Musical Evening ... And Some Pizza." "I just heard [about the sing-alongs getting killed]," Gellar said. "That's so sad. That makes me mad. I'd go to one!"
But though Gellar was up to speed on the sing-alongs, she was definitely not up on the other form her character Buffy had been resurrected — via the Season Eight comic book series spearheaded by show creator Joss Whedon.
"I want to be Buffy; she's getting some pretty hot ladies," Green joked on the red carpet prior to the event, to Gellar's puzzlement.
"What?" she asked.
"You haven't heard any of that?" he said. "The comic Joss is writing. Oh my gosh, she's totally making out with a girl."
"Is it with Willow?" Gellar asked.
"No, but she's smoking-hot," Green said. "I have to get you the back-issues."
"Buffy's getting some action?" Gellar asked. "Nice, good for her."
And so when the Angel/Spike choice came up on the panel a few minutes later, Gellar was prepared to address the big news that had rocked Buffy's world earlier this month — barely. "Wait!" she said, putting her hands up. "I did not know about this until five minutes ago. Someone says to me, 'How do you feel about Buffy's new relationship? She's with a woman.' And I'm like, 'She's with Willow?' "
Marsters gasped, "What?"
That's what reunions are for, folks — catching up. Whedon and the cast also waxed nostalgic on how hard it was to make the "Hush" and "Once More With Feeling" episodes (the shows during which they couldn't speak and had to break out into song, respectively) and speculated on the possibilities of turning "Buffy" into a Broadway musical ("I'm a song-and-dance man," Green offered) or another movie, since that's where the story started out in the first place (though even Whedon conceded the original movie wasn't "all that"). But where would the story go from here?
"You could call it 'Xander the One-Eyed Monster,' " joked Brendan, referring to his character's eye patch. Whedon and Gellar, trying hard not to burst out laughing, couldn't help themselves. Gellar stifled a tear and exclaimed, "This is why this [reunion] hasn't happened in four years!"