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Whatever Happened To Tara From Buffy The Vampire Slayer?

Throughout its seven-season run on the small screen, Joss Whedon's horror-tinged cult sensation Buffy the Vampire Slayer was widely regarded as one of the hippest shows on television. Outside of Whedon's razor-sharp writing and geek-centric penchant for pop-culture reverie, the show's super-hip reputation had a lot to do with the impressive young cast of up-and-comers driving the narrative. And while names like Sara Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz, Nicholas Brendon, and Alyson Hannigan are among the more notable names in the Buffy-verse, there were a handful of equally impressive supporting players (see Seth Green, Eliza Dushku) who left a lasting impression on the series in relatively brief runs.

Of those Buffy the Vampire Slayer short-timers, few made as large a splash as Amber Benson, who appeared on 47 episodes of the show as the kind-hearted Wiccan Tara Maclay between 1999 and 2002. Benson's Tara was also the love interest of Alyson Hannigan's then-burgeoning witch Willow — in and of itself a very big deal in the late '90s-early 2000s television landscape. To this day, the Tara-Willow coupling remains an inspiration to the LGBTQ community even a couple of decades after Benson left the show.

Of Benson's unexpected Buffy the Vampire Slayer exit, we'll say Tara's death continues to be one of the most genuinely tragic moments in the history of Buffy-dom — so much so that it very nearly led to the end of Earth itself in the final moments of the show's sixth season. And yes, Buffy fandom felt just as strongly about the beloved character's fate as Willow did. As for Amber Benson, she's managed to keep herself quite busy since she left the Scooby Gang behind. Here's what happened to Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.     

Amber Benson has kept quite busy in front of the camera

If you know anything about Amber Benson, then you know that she was already a well-established actor before she first set foot in the vampire-infested town of Sunnydale. Prior to joining the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1999, Benson had already appeared in a bona-fide blockbuster (Alicia Silverstone's 1993 breakout Crush), worked with Steven Soderbergh (in the director's grossly overlooked King of the Hill), and turned up in the early-'90s cult hit S.F.W. (alongside Reese Witherspoon, Stephen Dorf, and Tobey Maguire). 

A few years in the spotlight on Buffy only helped raise Benson's profile, so it should come as no particular surprise that the actor has been gainfully employed in front of the camera since her dramatic series departure. The genre elements of Buffy the Vampire Slayer clearly resonated with Benson as well, as much of her post-Buffy career has unfolded in the realm of horror and fantasy. Vampires in particular have featured fairly prominently, with Benson actually portraying a blood-sucker herself via a pair of memorable appearances on the CW's Supernatural, and finding herself in another vampire-friendly town via the short-lived Morganville: The Series (based on the popular YA book series The Morganville Vampires).  

Benson has been particularly busy on the horror front in recent years, delivering memorable appearances in the likes of Tom Holland's Twisted TalesHouse of Demons, and the SYFY chiller The Crooked Man. But if you haven't yet seen Benson's 2019 offering The Nightmare Gallery, we can tell you it's a surprisingly effective little paranormal thriller well worth seeking out. 

Amber Benson has worked steadily behind the camera as well

While Amber Benson has continued to book gigs in front of the camera since her Buffy the Vampire Slayer days, she's also spent a fair amount of time working behind the scenes. The actor actually earned her first screenwriter credit for co-writing the 2001 drama The Theory of the Leisure Class with the film's director, Gabriel Bologna. In the years since, Benson has gone on to earn no fewer than ten more credits as a writer, spanning such disparate projects as made-for-TV movies (2018's Lifetime feature Terror in the Woods), small screen animated series (BBC's Ghosts of Albion: Legacy and Embers), and no-budget indies (Chance and Lovers, Liars, and Lunatics).

It might surprise you to know that Amber Benson has served as director on several of those projects as well. She actually earned her first directorial credit with 2002's Chance, a film she also starred in and produced. And for all the Buffy diehards out here, we should go ahead and tell you Chance also saw Benson reunite on screen with another Buffy the Vampire Slayeicon, Mr. James Marsters. 

Benson turned her director's eye towards the animation field for Ghosts of Albion: Legacy, helming all seven episodes of the show's initial BBC run and working with an impressive voice cast featuring Rory Kinnear and Star Wars legend Anthony Daniels (you'll know him as C-3PO). Benson followed her BBC stint with 2006's genuinely underrated crime farce Lovers, Liars, and Lunatics before re-teaming with another Buffy alum in Adam Busch (he played Warren Mears) to co-direct the 2010 comedy Drones. Of late, Benson has been at the helm of a couple of short films in 2014's Singlewood (also with Busch), and 2015's Shevenge, both of which are worth seeking out if you're interested.

Amber Benson has actually penned a few books too

Perhaps not completely satisfied with a steady career in the film and television industry, the multi-talented Amber Benson has also become a player in the realm of fiction and literature as well. Not surprisingly, her first credited fiction gig came while she was still a regular on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Even less surprising is that the story she conjured alongside comic book gurus Terry Moore and Eric Powell served as the basis for Dark Horse Comics' 2001 Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow and Tara spin-off book "WannaBlessedBe." That trio would re-team the next for the two-part "Wilderness" follow-up.

Benson's work in the comic book realm didn't stop there. In 2005 she teamed with artist James McKelvie for a segment in the Image Comics anthology release Four Letter Worlds, and in 2006 released Demon Father John's Pinwheel Blues through IDW.

Benson followed those comics with a series of fantasy-tinged detective novels featuring a young sleuth named Calliope Reaper-Jones, whose father happens to be Death himself. Of late, she's been hard at work writing another series called The Witches of Echo Park, an L.A. set story that follows a group of powerful witches who use their powers to keep the magical world in check. A small screen adaptation of The Witches of Echo Park is already in the works, by the way, so Amber Benson may well be bringing another group of powerful witches to a television near you in the very near future.