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Why Dottie From WandaVision Looks So Familiar

After the first two episodes of WandaVision dropped on Disney+, MCU fans immediately set to work, picking apart every little detail of the early '60s inspired pseudo-sitcom. There are lots of people, places, and even objects that potentially hint at how WandaVision could change Marvel's TV universe going forward, but one of the biggest so far is in the casting of Westview community leader Dottie.

Dottie, like many of the residents of Westview, is already beginning to see through the cracks in WandaVision's world. As she and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) clean up after a town planning event, she makes it clear that she has "heard things" about Wanda and Vision and, moreover, doesn't trust them. More than that, when a mysterious voice calling Wanda's name is heard coming through the static of a nearby radio, both Wanda and Dottie are able to hear it.

It's obvious that there's more to Westview and Dottie than meets the eye, and the actor who plays her likely seems more than a bit familiar. Her name is Emma Caulfield, and this is not her first foray into the world of science fiction. In fact, she's starred in projects both large and small, so you've probably seen her in at least one other movie or TV series before.

Here are some of the places you've seen Caulfield's face in the past.

Emma Caulfield is Anya on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In 1998, Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter) wished that Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) had never come to Sunnydale, thus creating an alternate universe ruled by The Master (Mark Metcalf) and overrun by his creatures of the night in one of the most iconic episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show that changed TV and no one noticed. The "scary, veiny, good fairy" who made Cordy's wish come true? Why, that would be none other than Emma Caulfield as the vengeance demon Anyanka.

It wouldn't be until the fourth season of Buffy that Anya would be slotted in as a series regular, but it didn't take long before fans realized the character would become far more than Cordelia's replacement after she absconded to Los Angeles with Angel (David Boreanaz).

Anya was a fresh, snarky take on the "inhuman being must learn to be human" trope. After centuries of helping scorned women take extreme revenge on the men who spurned them, Anya becomes friends with Buffy and the gang while also falling in love with Xander Harris (Nicholas Brendon). The romance between Anya and Xander is a huge part of the Buffy story, and very nearly leads to marriage.

Of course, it wouldn't be Buffy if true love didn't lead to misery, so we get to see Anya cope with being a vengeance demon all over again, making her one of the most complex characters in Buffy's seven-season history. Writer Jane Espenson was responsible for a lot of Anya's story, but she never would've become a fan favorite if not for Emma Caulfield.

Emma Caulfield fights the Tooth Fairy in Darkness Falls

The same year that Buffy the Vampire Slayer concluded it's seven-season run (R.I.P. Anya), Caulfield was already starring in a horror movie with a concept that actually feels like it could've come straight out of an episode of Buffy — Darkness Falls.

Darkness Falls is both the name of the 2003 film and the town in which the story is set, begging the question — who in the heck would live in a town named Darkness Falls? The answer, as you might have guessed, is Caulfield playing Caitlin Greene.

In A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven found success redefining the Sandman as a knife-fingered monster who kills you in your dreams named Freddy Krueger. Darkness Falls performs a similar trick, but this time it's the Tooth Fairy getting a murder-y makeover. Just like the parents from Elm Street killed Krueger, the parents of Darkness Falls kill Matilda Dixon a.k.a. the Tooth Fairy; the difference is that Matilda Dixon was innocent of the crimes she was accused of. 

The result is the same: The Tooth Fairy becomes a vengeful spirit and returns to do some killing. Considering Caulfield just wrapped playing a vengeance demon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she naturally was the perfect person to fight an evil Tooth Fairy.

Emma Caulfield is Oona in TiMER

There's a season 3 episode of the Netflix series Black Mirror called "Hang the DJ," which presents a world in which there is an app that tells everyone who they will date and for how long. Despite Black Mirror's tendency to lean into the horror of its near-future tales, "Hang the DJ" functions as more of a romantic comedy — pseudo-happy ending included.

Two years before Black Mirror existed in any form, Emma Caulfield starred as Oona O'Leary in TiMER — a movie with a very similar premise: In the future, most people accept who their "soulmate" will be via app. The app is a device installed in the wrist that counts down to when a person will meet their soulmate, but Oona's clock is not counting down. Does she have no soulmate? Is her soulmate dead? Or has her soulmate simply not gotten their own device installed?

TiMER is a classic science fiction exploration of free will versus destiny set through the lens of a romantic comedy. As you might expect, Oona (for the most part) chooses free will over the life sentence of the app.

There are two interesting things about TiMER as it pertains to WandaVision. The first, is that there seems to be a question of whether or not the residents of Westview are there of their own free will or not. Even more interesting, however, is that Jac Schaffer, who wrote and directed TiMER, is also the showrunner for WandaVision. So if there's any role from Caulfield's past that's relevant to WandaVision, it's actually Oona from TiMER.

You can catch Emma Caulfield as Dottie on WandaVision right now on Disney+.