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Every Major Buffy Actor That Appeared On Supernatural

When you take a minute to think about the respective formulas of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Supernatural," it's clear just how much the '90s vampire series inspired its similar demon-hunting ancestor more than a decade later. Not only do both series utilize the format of monsters of the week supplementing an overarching Big Bad every season, but they also share more than a few actors and behind-the-scenes talent. Of course, "Buffy" starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as a badass feminist icon and the Slayer herself in the eponymous series. Almost a decade later, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki took to the streets as brothers Dean and Sam Winchester in their missing dad's former '67 Chevy Impala to hunt everything that goes bump in the night.

In addition to the dozens of actor crossovers between the two shows, long-time "Supernatural" producer and writer Ben Edlund also wrote and produced a few episodes of "Angel," the illustrious "Buffy" spinoff, between 2003 and 2004. Meanwhile, Brett Matthews rose up the ranks from assisting Joss Whedon on "Buffy" and "Angel" to moving onto a story editor position on "Supernatural" before penning a few episodes of the show. Between "Angel" cast members like Charisma Carpenter and James Marsters, "Buffy" staples like Amber Benson, and "Supernatural" icons like Felicia Day and Jeffrey Dean Morgan, the shows have a lot more in common than people might realize. 

Charisma Carpenter

When it came to popular high school bullies on '90s TV, Charisma Carpenter was queen. As Buffy's frequent frenemy Cordelia Chase, Carpenter added a touch of humanity, vulnerability, and depth to a character who scans like nothing more than a vapid mean girl at the start of the series.

After she leaves Sunnydale for a taste of stardom, Cordelia heads to Los Angeles to star in the spinoff "Angel." Sadly, though, the series frequently reduces the strong-willed young woman to cringey romantic plotlines and a troubling number of demonic pregnancies. Unfortunately, Cordelia meets an untimely death to further Angel's plotline, leading many fans to agree that Cordelia deserved better. However, "Supernatural" gave fans the reunion they deserved.

In the Season 7 episode "Shut Up, Dr. Phil," Carpenter played Maggie Stark — scorned wife of a character played by fellow "Buffy" alumnus James Marsters. Though Marsters and Carpenter's respective characters didn't interact much on "Buffy," their tumultuous onscreen relationship on "Supernatural" is a fun throwback. Carpenter got to dive even deeper into fantastical elements as a witchy woman ready to hex a whole town to get back at her philandering husband. As it turns out, immortality is tough on a marriage. Who knew?

James Marsters

James Marsters came onto Season 2 of "Buffy" and changed everything. While he's introduced as a charismatic and chaotic villain, Spike becomes the only soulless vampire in the series to demonstrate true love and experience the human emotions he deeply felt as a struggling poet in the late 1800s. Now, that's not to say that Spike doesn't commit egregious and evil acts on a routine basis throughout the series and its flashback sequences. However, he's also the only vampire who actively works to better himself, and even forms genuine connections to humans like Buffy's mom Joyce when she offers him kindness.

When Angel loses his soul, he's blinded by revenge, opting to torture Buffy for making him feel love and emotions when he had a soul. Alternatively, Spike seeks out a soul in a fit of shame after assaulting Buffy. As the only once-soulless vampire to willingly atone for his misdeeds, Spike is a vampiric enigma, providing a refreshing middle ground for the show whose vamps are otherwise either tragic and guilt-ridden like Angel or soulless vampires entirely devoid of humanity.

Meanwhile, in the "Supernatural" episode he shares with Carpenter, Marsters reprised his villainous ways as Don Stark — Maggie's philandering husband. It's tough to keep the sparks alive in an 800-year-old marriage, and Sam and Dean play pseudo supernatural therapists to the dysfunctional couple. The Starks are hell-bent on tearing apart a town during their magically fueled couple's spat until they reach a compromise. Funnily enough, Don Stark is also the name of the actor who played Jay Wiley in the meta "Supernatural" episode called "Hollywood Babylon."

Amber Benson

Leave it to Amber Benson to be the heart of every series she's in, no matter how small the role. Benson first appeared on "Buffy" during Season 4's critically acclaimed silent episode "Hush." Of course, her character Tara Maclay stands out on her own as the soft-spoken and lovable unlikely addition to the Scooby Gang. But most significantly, Tara is an integral component of Willow's coming-out arc, offering some of the best queer representation on TV we'd seen to that point.

Sadly, Tara falls into TV's toxic "bury your gays" trope, but she helps change TV history before meeting a bloody demise the creative minds behind "Buffy" have since admitted was a bad call on their part. Between a queer love ballad in "Once More with Feeling" and onscreen romantic declarations and kisses that aren't typically over-sexualized, Benson helped move the LGBTQ+ needle in TV.

While Tara isn't a vampire on "Buffy," Benson got the chance to fang it up in the Season 1 episode of "Supernatural" called "Bloodlust." Though it was a one-off episode at the time, her character Lenore was the catalyst for Dean's wishy-washy character growth realization that not all monsters are evil when he figures out that Lenore and her nest of vamps don't kill people. When Lenore shows back up in the 2011 episode "Mommy Dearest," she begs the Winchesters to kill her when Eve, the mother of monsters, mind whammies her into killing again. Sigh. Once again, Benson played a wonderful woman who survives for years only to get killed off for no real purpose.

Julie Benz

Angel's ex Darla is certainly no darling. Julie Benz's ruthless vampire is a "Buffy" staple from the very beginning, having been sired by The Master in the 16th century to do his bidding. Given that Darla was a prostitute before contracting and nearly dying of syphilis, her vampiric punishment tracks with creator Joss Whedon's tendency to torment women for having sex. (Just look at what happens when Angel and Buffy do the deed.) Darla's storyline continues into her old flame's spinoff, where she leads the charge for one of the most-hated plotlines in "Angel": the birth of Angel and Darla's son, Connor.

A few years later, in Season 1 of "Supernatural," Benz took on the role of Layla Rourke — another dying woman. Yet instead of getting hoodwinked by an ages-old vampire into "saving" her life, she puts her faith in a fraudulent faith healer in the aptly titled episode "Faith." Dean bonds with Layla over their impending deaths following a hunt gone wrong, highlighting the contrast between Dean's pessimism and Layla's blind faith. 

The episode also lays the groundwork for the brothers' never-ending quest to save each other. As any "Supernatural" fan is retroactively aware, everything comes with a catch. The faith healer is tied to a Reaper, meaning any saved soul is counterbalanced by reaping a healthy human. So, what does that mean for Layla? Certain death.

Mercedes McNab

Once a vampire, always a vampire. Fans might remember Mercedes McNab as Harmony Kendall — the ditzy Cordelia clone from "Buffy," who thinks popularity is more important than the vampire infestation of Sunnydale. The joke's on Harm, because her graduation present during the Season 3 finale is a shiny new pair of vampire fangs. Harmony isn't winning any bravery points, and she's eternally susceptible to strong-willed people and betrayal, which persists through her stint on "Angel." Let's just say that if there was a vampire-led cult or multi-level marketing scheme, Harm would be the first one drinking the bloody Kool-Aid.

McNab didn't leave her vampire roots behind after "Angel," however. She appeared in Season 3 of "Supernatural" during "Fresh Blood" as a newly turned vampire. "Supernatural" is nothing if not horrifically inventive and for this episode, it establishes vampire blood as a metaphor for roofies. For vampires, dosing a bunch of unsuspecting, trusting, thrill-seeking college-aged kids with vampire blood seems like an effective but monstrous way to expand your ranks. The Winchesters aren't happy about killing Lucy, who's a victim herself, but they decide that they have no choice.

Felicia Day

Long before Felicia Day was a badass lesbian hacker named Charlie on "Supernatural," she was the slightly timid though no less badass potential Slayer Violet in 2003's seventh and final season of "Buffy." Like the other potentials, aka Slayerettes, she reaches full Slayer status in the series finale when Willow activates all of the Slayerettes in a ritual. Luckily for Vi, she makes it through the final battle and even helps some of the injured Slayers escape a doomed fate as the Hellmouth crumbles.

Day made her "Supernatural" debut years later as Charlie Bradbury in the seventh season during an aptly named episode that the famously nerdy actress surely wasn't complaining about: 2012's "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo." While "Supernatural" had a pretty grim track record of stereotyping its LGBTQ+ characters, Charlie was a refreshing change as an entirely unique and powerful character whose sexuality is celebrated without being objectified or mocked. Sadly, she meets a brutal "bury your gays" end in Season 10 to further Dean's arc, which continues to be one of the fandom's most loathed moments in "Supernatural." An alternate version of Charlie pops up later from another universe, but it doesn't erase watching our Charlie lying lifeless and bloodied in a bathtub.

Rob Benedict

Rob Benedict may not have had a significant role on "Buffy," but his character is more than infamous on "Supernatural." Benedict played a vampire named Jape in an episode called "Superstar" in the Slayer series' fourth season. Though Benedict is listed in the later episode "New Moon Rising," Jape doesn't actually show up in the final cut of that episode. As is often the case for "Buffy" vampires, Jape is a minion of a greater threat: Adam. Fans might remember Adam as Maggie Walsh's pet demon and android project that goes on a killing spree during Buffy's first year in college.

Of course, Benedict's role in "Supernatural" is a much more confusing journey. Benedict enters "Supernatural" Season 4 as Chuck, a chaotically lovable train wreck prophet who loves booze just as much as he loves the ladies. In one of the show's most meta storylines, he pens the in-universe "Supernatural" books under the name Carver Edlund — a mashup of real "Supernatural" writers Jeremy Carver and Ben Edlund. Chuck's winning fandom moments include going to conventions and hooking up with his biggest fan. By the way, he's also God. Yes, that God.

Though Chuck's first departure from the show in Season 5 heavily implies that he just might be God as he narrates Eric Kripke's swan song from the show, it isn't solidified until much later. And even then, the brothers toggle back and forth between Chuck being an absent God or the vilest villain they've faced yet. In the final season, we realize it's the latter. Chuck has been creating, destroying, and toying with dozens of universes out of boredom, just like a kid killing ants with a magnifying glass. That is until Sam, Dean, and their pseudo son Jack strip him of his power toward the ending of "Supernatural."

Harry Groener

Real talk: Who wouldn't want an immortal mayor who wants to become a giant demon snake to represent their town? Well, boy, does the Hellmouth have a politician for you. In Season 3 of "Buffy," fans meet Harry Groener's Mayor Richard Wilkins, who's been mayor of Sunnydale since its inception. Posing as the latest in a long line of ruling Wilkins, the demonic hopeful founded Buffy's town as a haven for evil after making a deal with some unfriendly neighborhood demons in exchange for 100 years of immortality. With little time to lose before he's rendered mortal once more, Wilkins plans to feast on the graduating Sunnydale students as he ascends to a massive reptilian form. Of course, Buffy and her classmates have something to say about this and slay him in what would've otherwise been his triumphant hour. Imagine signing a yearbook with "Remember that time we slayed the mayor at graduation? Good times. HAGS." 

Groener didn't have a major role in "Supernatural," but he played Professor Morrison in the Season 7 episode "The Slice Girls." After losing their pseudo-father Bobby, the Winchester brothers need a research assist while dealing with a group of Amazonian monsters. These beings get pregnant and give birth all within 36 hours, only to produce children who rapidly age and kill their fathers. Paging Dr. Freud? Morrison's translation help the Winchesters kill Dean's homicidal monster daughter Emma, adding another notch to the reasons why both brothers should seek therapy. 

Amy Acker

Amy Acker may not have appeared on "Buffy," but she was a one of the most prominent supporting actors on "Angel." Her character Winifred Burkle is a physics genius who gets sent to the dimension of Pylea that enslaves the human race. After Angel saves her from that ordeal, Fred understandably has to slowly regain her sanity and confidence, later becoming an integral and badass member of Angel Investigations. Later, Acker got the chance to play a wholly new character when Fred is killed and taken over by an ancient demon named Illyria in Season 5. Though absolutely evil and as obsessed with conquest as any "Angel" Big Bad, Illyria occasionally succumbs to Fred's lingering empathy and humanity.

Though Acker's Season 1 stint on "Supernatural" was short-lived, her character Andrea Barr and her son offer Dean some serious opportunity for character development. In "Dead in the Water," the brothers face off against a vengeful spirit haunting the waters of a small town. Andrea's son Lucas takes a liking to Dean, and both characters get Dean to drop his bravado, get in touch with his compassionate side, and deal with some of his own trauma.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Like Acker, genre staple Jeffrey Dean Morgan graced the "Angel" set instead of "Buffy." Pro tip: When a vampire tries to steal a $50 watch, you might just want to give it to them, lest you meet an untimely demise over an obviously antiquated time-keeping device. In the episode "Provider," Morgan's character Sam Ryder is on a quest for revenge after his friend falls prey to this bonkers scenario. Happily, Sam recovers the watch after taking on the vamps with Angel's help.

Morgan's role in "Supernatural" was just a tad more intense, having played Sam and Dean's moderately absent father, John Winchester. The eldest Winchester appears in the very first episode up until the Season 14 episode "Lebanon." Fans discover early on that John became a hunter after his wife Mary was killed by a yellow-eyed demon named Azazel. As a result, he left his kids for weeks at a time to hunt demons while the boys were probably still wetting the bed. (John fathered another son named Adam along the way, but that's another story.) Though his parenting leaves something to be desired for his traumatized and neglected kids who wielded salt-filled shotguns before they could spell, John loves his children, and later sacrifices himself to save Dean's life. But the show is called "Supernatural," after all, so he comes back. A lot. 

Chad Lindberg

Apparently, there's something about Chad Lindberg that screams "computer nerd" to casting directors. While his "Buffy" and "Supernatural" characters couldn't be more different, they're both whizzes at the keyboard. Lindberg's "Buffy" character Dave only shows up in the Season 1 episode "I, Robot... You, Jane," where he gets hoodwinked by a demon preying on Sunnydale students online. However, Dave dies doing the right thing, just like his future "Supernatural" character, Ash.

As Ash, Lindberg saunters onto "Supernatural" in Season 2 with a mullet that he deems to be "business up front; party in the back." He's a friend of the Roadhouse bar, which is a haven for wayward hunters. Yet it turns out that demons don't like it when you know too much, and Ash's keen hacking skills get him and the Roadhouse burned to a crisp that same season. It's not the end for Ash, though. Later on, he runs yet another hunter haven: Heaven's Roadhouse.

David Haydn-Jones

When it comes to "Buffy," betrayal is a dish best served in a body bag. In the heartbreaking episode "Helpless," Buffy learns that one of the Slayer's final trials is fighting a vampire without her powers after her Watcher drugs her. Of course, Giles can't go through with it, but not every Watcher is so kind. "Supernatural" staple David Haydn-Jones played a fellow Watcher named Hobson, who meets his untimely demise while wrangling Buffy's vampire match Kralik after he escapes.

Haydn-Jones might not have come to "Supernatural" until Season 12, but his character Arthur Ketch lasts a whole lot longer than most of the show's guest stars. The British Men of Letters — a monster-hunting organization akin to the hands-off Watchers in "Buffy" — aren't fans of the hunters' methodology of going into supernatural situations guns blazing. Unlike most Men of Letters, however, Ketch has no issue getting his hands dirty, or torturing and murdering innocents. Mary eventually kills him, but the guy is pretty slippery, snagging a shiny resurrection. He's pretty awful most of the time, but he does help the brothers out on a few occasions.

Jeff Kober

Speaking of the not-so-helpless vampire who escapes Watcher custody, onetime "Supernatural" actor Jeff Kober played Zachary Kralik in "Helpless." But Kralik is not the only "Buffy" character the actor played. He shows up again in Season 6 as Rack, a catalyst for Willow's magical descent to the dark side. The show dives deep into the "magic is drugs" metaphor during the Dark Willow arc, with Rack selling magical energy bursts that get witches high. Of course, he pays for causing Willow's descent when she slaughters him and takes his powers for herself.

After "Buffy," Kober wasn't done with supernaturally charged TV. He played a spooked inmate named Randall in the "Supernatural" episode "Folsom Prison Blues" — a standalone episode where the Winchesters go undercover to gank a ghost that's haunting and killing inmates of a prison. Though Randall is a career criminal, he's actually a pretty chill guy, and fans can't help but root for his survival. Luckily and shockingly for Randall, he makes it out of the haunted cellblock physically unscathed when Sam and Dean discover that the ghost of a homicidal nurse is the culprit. 

Mark Rolston

Once a demon, always a demon. Wait. ... is that how that saying goes? Someone should ask Mark Rolston. The actor played the demon Boone in the Season 2 episode of "Angel" titled "Blood Money." When it comes to the demon's evil-o-meter, Boone only kind of sucks. After all, he spared Angel in a battle back in the '20s and helped Angel out with a Wolfram & Hart sabotage plan in "Blood Money." But he also steals $2 million in cash from a charity before Angel wins it back in an evenly matched fight, so maybe his ethics are a wash.

Additionally, Rolston suited up as the demon Alastair in two Season 4 episodes of "Supernatural": "I Know What You Did Last Summer," and "Heaven and Hell." Though Rolston played the first onscreen iteration of the torture-savvy demon, Dean and Alastair go way back ... to hell. Alastair tortured Dean into becoming a torturer himself, thereby breaking the first seal to free Lucifer from hell. Whoops! And though Rolston only played the demon for two episodes, he set the tone for the character's integral future.

Aimee Garcia

Aimee Garcia's "Angel" character Cynthia was a blip on the radar in the Season 3 episode "Birthday," playing a manufactured fan of alternate universe mega-star actress Cordelia during a demon-induced vision. Angel Investigations saves the day, and we never quite find out if Cynthia is even real in Cordelia's trippy vision.

Not too many years later, Garcia guest starred as Nancy Fitzgerald in the Season 3 episode of "Supernatural" "Jus in Bello." As Lilith's demon army attacks a police station, the sweet and softspoken religious virgin learns to appreciate the importance of enjoying life, opting to lose her virginity ASAP. But in true "Supernatural" fashion, it's too late for Nancy. After Dean and Sam save the day with a mass exorcism, Lilith comes back to slaughter everyone anyway, highlighting the futility of the season. Nancy's wholesome nature makes her easy to like, but she pays the ultimate price in order to raise the stakes and hammer home the fact that the brothers can't save everyone.