19

Note that I am only referring to the original show, and not the comics which expanded the story.

Through the TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Angel, Cordelia Chase undergoes a massive character growth arc - beginning as a typical snobby, rich prom queen and ultimately

becoming a "higher being".

Season 4 of Angel brings about the extremely controversial pregnancy and relationship with

Angel's son Connor.

This pregnancy coincided with Charisma Carpenter's real-life pregnancy.

After giving birth to Jasmine, Cordelia

falls into a coma and only makes one more appearance in the show during the show's final season.

Wikipedia states (with a citation) that Carpenter's real-life pregnancy required the writers to change much of Season 4's storyline. I have not specifically read whether or not the birth of her own child led her to

effectively leaving the show,

but it would make sense.

Additionally, the writers have said that originally,

the one appearance by Cordelia in Season 5 was meant for Buffy, but had to be re-written due to Sarah's unavailability. It was this episode where Cordelia dies.


Is there any information regarding what the writers originally intended for Cordelia had Charisma Carpenter not become pregnant?

  • 1
    Cordelia & Angel were supposed to get together in season 3 but the negative reaction from the fans caused them to change that character relationship arc and they went a different way. Plus Charisma Carpenter had become tired of playing Cordelia so they went a different way. They talk about these things on the commentaries for episodes of Angel, you should check some of them out! – 22nd Century Fza Jul 1 '14 at 4:44
  • It's probably worth adding that Charisma Carpenter has always maintained she was fired from Angel, and as sanguine as she was in interviews at the time, was upset about leaving. – Django Reinhardt Jul 23 '14 at 2:36
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    Here she is talking about being fired (although she says that her and Joss have since made up): youtube.com/watch?v=Y_igTbXKPck – Django Reinhardt Jul 23 '14 at 2:59
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It's not clear that the show had any major arcs planned for Cordelia beyond Season 4, nor is it even clear that she'd have been staying regardless of her pregnancy.

Mike Jozic spoke about the pressures of getting the studio to commit to a 5th season which would strongly suggest that long-term planning for each character wasn't a major issue:

JOZIC: I think it was between Season 3 and 4 of Angel when it was still up in the air as to whether or not the show would be coming back, and I seem to remember someone saying that Buffy was in a kind of comfort zone because they had been syndicated since day one, so they had a lot more leeway to ease into things, whereas Angel never knew if it was coming back the next season so it was always balls-to-the-wall, I guess, to try and go as far as you can and push it as hard as you can to hopefully get that renewal.

It's well known that Carpenter's salary was the largest of the actors (barring Boreanaz) and with pressure from the studio to reduce budgets for the 4th and 5th season, her pay packet may have seemed the obvious choice.

Charisma Carpenter doesn't say much on the subject other than that she feels that her leaving was handled pretty gracefully :

TVGO: So they'll want you back as Cordy...

Carpenter : I don't think it'll be necessary. You never say never. However, at this point in time, I don't see a future for her. Even if I didn't [have other acting work], I feel like Joss feels — the Cordelia stories have been told. There were no other directions to go with her. I mean, they made her a higher being! First she was bitchy, then she was nice. She's matured, she's evolved, what's left to tell? Not a lot. And that's fine. - TVGO Interview - 2004

and

Interviewer : Do you think you'll come back again?

Carpenter : I don't think so, no. I think this is it.

Interviewer : No! Why?

Carpenter : The thing about Cordelia is that her stories have been told. I think this is it. And what a time to go--the 100th episode. I think everything has been explored for her. And it's really a sweet, sweet episode. Joss had written me a note and said this is one of the sweeter stories we've ever told. And I agree. E! Online Interview - 2004

  • The only issue with this is that those interviews were done at the airing of episode 100 out of 110. Less than two weeks after those interviews, the show was cancelled. Joss has said that at the time, they were only then getting ready to plan out season 6. And since the 100th episode was originally supposed to feature Buffy, it sort of begs the question as to just what Joss intended to do with Cordy. – phantom42 Jul 5 '14 at 22:41
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    @phantom42 - The 100th episode was supposed to feature Buffy. In her absence, they got Cordelia back. I've not read anywhere that they had any other plans than to simply leave her in a coma. – Valorum Jul 5 '14 at 22:46
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I've heard claims regarding the original intention for Cordelia's season 4 storyline but none from an official source.

It's been said that the possession was always intended much the same just without Jasmine. The entity would have remained unidentified and spent its entire role acting through Cordy rather than eventually manifesting into its own being. In the end, the only way to defeat it would have been for Angel to kill the most important person in his life alongside Connor, the dearest friend he'd ever had and the woman he'd just realized he was in love with. A hundred times more tragic circumstances but with more dignity and no doubt far better and hopefully more tasteful development.

Doyle, the way I'd heard it was supposed to have served possessed Cordy which would have led to his death (In case you didn't know, Doyle's death in early season 1 was a result of Glenn Quinn having been fired due a drug addiction that he was allowing to affect his work), a concept I feel fits perfectly. Considering his somewhat irrational desperation to win her heart and judging by his strong accusation of betrayal when he thought Angel had slept with Cordy in 'Room with a Vu', he likely would have ended up in a rivalry with Angel for her over the course of those three years. Add in his confidence issues and insecurity and I can see him being pushed over the edge enough to blind him to the possession.

Again NO official source that I am aware of has revealed either of these stories so they must be taken with a grain of salt.

Richard: "The 100th episode was supposed to feature Buffy. In her absence, they got Cordelia back. I've not read anywhere that they had any other plans than to simply leave her in a coma"

This is accurate and I'd heard that Joss had actually promised Charisma that he wouldn't kill Cordelia off because she was upset by the idea of being brought back just to establish her death. So naturally she had reservations about doing 'You're Welcome' but she couldn't help being moved when she read the script. "Bittersweet, A love letter to Cordelia" she'd called it.

Another tidbit: Writer/Director David Fury had called the Cordelia focused revision "a God send" because "Charisma was fantastic".

  • Could you provide a source for the David Fury quote? Also: Welcome to SFF.SE :D – BMWurm Sep 2 '15 at 8:26
  • Very interesting. Do you have any sources you can cite for this alternate version of events? – phantom42 Sep 2 '15 at 11:27
  • The DF quote came from here: buffy.wikia.com/wiki/You%27re_Welcome Again, an UNOFFICIAL source created and maintained by fans though they seem to be well enough informed. – Shadow of Existence Apr 15 '17 at 21:44
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I've since been told of another version of what was initially intended for Cordelia in season 4 and according to the fan who told me, this, unlike the first scenario I posted has been revealed by the writers.

Instead of a possession at all, Cordelia would have become basically an inverted Dark Willow. She'd have had a vision while in the higher plane of humanity destroying itself, and returned power-mad with the need to save it.

Again another fan told me this so I CAN NOT cite any sources though I'm pretty sure this fan told me it was revealed in an official interview with the writers.

The same fan has also told me that it's been officially revealed that Cordelia was initially going to wake from her coma and defeat Jasmine herself but Charisma Carpenter was unable to accommodate because she actually was pregnant (that's the only reason Jasmine happened, to begin with) and near her due date.

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