In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode Doppelgangland there is an evil Vampire-Willow doppelgänger, who comes on to the real Willow.

Willow: (appalled) It's horrible! That's me as a vampire? I'm so evil and... skanky. (aside to Buffy, worried) And I think I'm kinda gay.

Buffy: (reassuringly) Willow, just remember, a vampire's personality has nothing to do with the person it was.

Angel: (without thinking) Well, actually... (gets a look from Buffy) That's a good point.

That made me wonder, when the decision was made, that Willow would be gay. While watching the series already knowing that that's what eventually will happen, I noticed dozens of those little "hints". But some of those probably came before the decision was made (when the above dialogue occurred she is still with Oz and has a little affair with Xander).

By which episode (or season) did the scriptwriters know of Willows orientation, and were able to actually foreshadow her coming out?

  • 2
    Slightly related: I had heard, can't remember where or when, that Joss Whedon had decided before the series started that he wanted one of the main characters to be gay, but was not decided as to whether it would be Xander or Willow. Classic quote, BTW. The words of Angel had me ROTFL. Aug 9, 2014 at 15:51
  • @AndrewThompson Thanks, I just love the dialogues of the Buffy-series! But it is an interesting point you are making: Could be, that a "general foreshadowing" occurred: Scriptwriters pre-emptively hinting something...
    – Einer
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:04
  • No real evidence for this, but my guess is that it wasn't that long before this episode was written, mostly because it seemed to me like there were a lot more "Xander might be gay" than "Willow might be gay" jokes up until then.
    – Micah
    Aug 9, 2014 at 16:54
  • @Micah Until AndrewThompson said it, I never noticed any "Xander might be gay"-jokes. Though they are there! But with Willow it is really massive and it's getting more and more the further the series progresses.
    – Einer
    Aug 9, 2014 at 17:04
  • I think it's likely Alyson Hannigan just likes it. She plays the same character in How I Met Your Mother.
    – Gaius
    Aug 21, 2014 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


The show's senior staffers and the network seem to have been aware of Willow's sexuality and the relationship between her and Tara before the end of season 3, hence the inclusion of the (in hindsight) highly revealing line in Doppelgangland:

Willow: I mean, I'm so evil, and skanky, (softly, to Buffy) and I think I'm kind of gay.

The rest of the cast and crew were then advised at the start of season 4 when they started receiving advance copies of scripts.

Alysson Hannigan spoke about this in an interview with Cult Times in July 2000.

The 'provocative' stuff refers, of course, to the romance between Willow and fellow student Tara (Amber Benson), which culminates with Willow making an arguably controversial decision late in Season Four. But Willow's course of action is surprising only to those who watched last season with their eyes closed.

"I knew that I was going to have a friend and that we'd do witchcraft together and cast spells and I'd always asked if there was 'something more' to the relationship. Joss would always say, "Well, maybe there's some subtext there" and then Amber and I would see some of the spells and we'd be like, "Joss -- this is going way beyond "subtext"."

Eventually, after weeks of tiptoeing round the issue, everyone concerned admitted that all roads led to the fact that the girls were in love which resulted in huge sighs of relief all round. "Amber and I were sort of in the same position as Willow and Tara in that for the longest time we weren't sure what was going on ... Then finally it was, "Great! It's official. We're in luurrvvve."

  • 1
    Somehow I didn't doubt that you'd be the one to answer this question! Thanks!
    – Einer
    Aug 9, 2014 at 17:35
  • @Einer - I haven't actually answered that many BTVS questions on this site.
    – Valorum
    Aug 9, 2014 at 18:09
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    @Richard: I think he's referring to your extensive knowledge of lesbians. Aug 10, 2014 at 1:24
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    @jamessheridan - Well, I have given the subject extensive study, waiting for this moment to shine.
    – Valorum
    Aug 10, 2014 at 9:07
  • @Richard: I wish I could slow-clap in a comment, but since I can't do that, have an upvote. Aug 10, 2014 at 9:17

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