What If... Buffy Never Came to Sunnydale?

All What Ifs are not in the comics, and what better than an alternate universe Buffy the Vampire Slayer to help celebrate Halloweek 2010? So follow me, gentle reader, and find out what would have happened if Buffy Summers hadn't come to Sunnydale High as expected...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3, "The Wish" (December 1998)
Based on: Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1, "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
The true history: Expelled from school in Los Angeles, the only place that would take her was Sunnydale High - where the death toll is so high, they'll take anyone they can get. She and her mom moved there and the rest is history.
Turning point: What if Buffy moved to Cleveland instead?
Story type: Everybody dies
Watcher's mood: Demon-faced Anyanka (Giles is now an ex-Watcher)Altered history: For some reason (Anya's wish-granting abilities, but shhhh), Buffy and her mom move to Cleveland instead. Perhaps a Watcher there had more pull - there's a Hellmouth there as well, after all - but since Giles is still in Sunnydale, it looks like it was a sudden change of plans. The turning point may have been Joyce choosing city size over proximity. The important thing is that Buffy isn't in Sunnydale to stop the Master from rising (we must suppose he had another plan besides drinking Slayer blood). Consequently, the town becomes the vampire capital of the world, and it's not safe to walk around at night. There's a curfew, no school during the monthly memorial, and the kids wear dark clothes so they won't be noticed by the vamps.
Spike and Drusilla never come to town, but they are replaced by vampirized Xander and Willow!
Oddly, Cordelia isn't dead or vamped yet, but that is probably due to Anya's wish (she soon dies). There is no mention of the Anointed One or Darla (a Buffy victim), but that doesn't mean they're not doing something evil somewhere else. The thin tweed line is held by Giles and his "White Hats", a motley crew that includes Oz (unknown whether he became a werewolf), gay footballer Larry (from "Halloween", "Phases", etc.) and Nancy (who will appear later in "Earshot").
Giles is now an ex-Watcher, so he must be defying the Council by staying in "lost territory" (feels like a conspiracy, with people in the know refusing to even acknowledge there's a Hellmouth in Sunndydale, and Buffy hasn't been told about the Master). As for Angel, he's Willow's "puppy", frequently being tortured by the Master's favorites.
Once Cordelia enters this reality with all her memories of the previous reality intact, she's bound to change things in an unnatural way, but as Buffy is already unreachable by the time Giles tries to contact her, I'd have to say she was headed Sunnydale's way anyway. Perhaps there were rumors of something big in the area. Once her Watcher gets in touch with her about Giles' call, she finds him and gets explanations from him. This is not the Buffy we've come to know and love, however.
She's tough, hard and "doesn't play well with others". The implication is that she's lost part of her humanity (been submerged by the Primal Slayer) because she lacks the friendships we know she made in the standard Buffyverse. Without the help she believes she doesn't need, she's even gotten herself a nasty scar. Her dangers were not shared dangers. She heads for the Master's HQ and finds Angel there. Like Giles, he went to Sunnydale for naught when she changed her plans. Though he's a vampire, he manages to convince her to let him help her stop the Master's "blood on tap" plans.
In the ensuing battle, Xander kills Angel, Buffy kills Xander, Oz kills Willow, and in a fight that lasts all of 10 seconds, the Master snaps Buffy's neck.
I guess it's all downhill for Earth after that, though perhaps Kendra is now activated and can do something about it. Good thing Giles destroys Anya's magical pendant and returns reality to normal, eh?
Shows canceled as a result: Buffy ends with a shortened Season 3, and Angel can't very well get his own series. Joss Whedon's cred is likely shot up by this and he never gets Firefly, Dollhouse or Dr. Horrible off the ground.
These things happen: The Master did kill Buffy in the first season's finale, but she got better. Vampire Willow did return (in "Doppelgängland"), but from that alternate timeline, so it hardly counts. Willow did turn evil in time, but not by becoming a vamp. And there IS a Hellmouth in Cleveland; it's a destination Giles proposes in the series finale.


Jayunderscorezero said...

I think I've told this story before here on this very blog, but I'll always remember how, back when this episode first aired, the only other person I knew who watched BtVS (this was before I discovered such things as online fan communities) actually stopped watching Buffy forever as of about halfway through this episode, as he genuinely thought that this episode was gracelessly ushering in a new status quo for the series, not just playing around with a one-off what-if. To this day, I'm not sure if I ever managed to successfully convince him that this wasn't the case.

Siskoid said...

That's a fantastic story! I can only imagine that person refusing to watch Star Trek TNG when Picard is bumped down to Lieutenant junior grade in Tapestry.

Jayunderscorezero said...

Indeed! If only TV Tropes had existed back then, I might have made a more convincing case that this is something that happens in genre shows all the time!

LiamKav said...

How little time did he have in his life that he couldn't afford to wait around for another 20 minutes to see if things changed? That's like watching half of Shawshank and thinking "well, he's never going to get out of here, so what's the point of me watching?"

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Kendra would have been activated before Faith was.

Siskoid said...

Forgot about poor old Kendra. Let me edit that in.

Risus Monkey said...

We've been getting a lot of mileage out of the alternate universe trope in our Buffy series (http://www.velvet-edge.com/buffy/), most notably in our last two episodes.

Bill D. said...

This right here? My first ever episode of Buffy. Talk about jumping into the deep end, huh?

Loved it, though, and caught up as quickly as I could.

David H. said...

sorry to go off the topic here Siskoid but for what it's worth here it is in it's initial stages but it is up and running. i've got a couple more posting planned for tomorrow.

The Suicide Squad blog spot

Siskoid said...

Dude, use my email or something. I've been moderator on too many forums to not at least try to keep my blog's comments section on-topic.

I'll add your blog to the roll right this minute.

Teebore said...

Ah, nothing like a good genre Alternate Reality/What If episode, and Buffy's is one of the best.

The score that plays over the final battle is one of my favorite bits of music from the show.

Anonymous said...

What if The Evil Entity and Professor pericles saved by the Dazzling's Father?

Anonymous said...

I can imagine of what he looks like.
I know he's green and his eyes were yellowish-orange.


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