Still, if the story is 'basically canon', that means that sticklers for accurate characterisation need to know who Jennifer and Kimberly were, and what happened to Jeffrey, what Buffy's parents' maid was called, what her relationship with her first Watcher Merrick was like, and why Lothos was more dangerous than the Master and Spike combined - because all these things were important parts of her pre-Sunnydale life… Fortunately for those people who don't like reading comics or can't get hold of them easily, I've written a transcript of the story – dialogue is Joss's, scene and action descriptions are my own. I've also interspersed my own commentary on the characterisation and events, calling attention to where they differ from the movie as filmed as well as implications for the TV show.
And for people who don't even have the patience to read the transcript, I've also included a synopsis and cast listing. :-)
Buffy and her clique of rich, snobbish friends Jennifer, Kimberly and Cassandra are hanging out and planning the school dance when she meets Pike, a bad-boy surfer dude. Pike's friend Benny is killed by vampires who are working for the powerful vampire lord Lothos, who has recently moved to Los Angeles. Lothos is 900 years old and has killed over two dozen Slayers. A mysterious man named Merrick approaches Buffy and tells her she is the Slayer. Although dubious at first, she is eventually convinced and agrees to let him train her in how to kill vampires, and to start patrolling. Merrick warns Buffy not to think of him as her friend, but a bond forms between them nevertheless. Her social life suffers due to the time this takes up; her friends complain about her neglecting them and the school counsellor thinks she's doing drugs.
Things come to a head when Pike tries to flee town and is ambushed by a whole gang of vampires including his old friend Benny. Buffy saves him, but in the ensuing fight Merrick is trapped by Lothos, who says he will turn him so he will then betray and kill his own Slayer. Merrick orders Buffy to flee then shoots himself to avoid this fate. Angry and heartbroken, Buffy quarrels with both her friends and Pike.
The school dance begins, and Buffy discovers that her former best friend Jennifer has stolen her boyfriend Jeffrey. Fortunately Pike shows up and effectively distracts her; they dance together. However, the party is also crashed by Lothos and about a hundred vampires, who have discovered that Buffy is the Slayer. There is a big fight scene; Buffy kills lots of vampires, Pike kills a fair few and so do some other people, but there are plenty of casualties. Buffy confronts Lothos, who tries to put her under thrall; Buffy shakes it off and kills him in an ingenious fashion that involves a cross and hairspray. She also makes a witty quip while doing so, thus starting a famous tradition. She rescues Pike – all the other students have either fled or been killed. She then sets fire to the school gym where the dance was being held (using a burning vampire as tinder) and locks the doors from the outside to kill them all.
Buffy Summers, a reluctant vampire slayer
Merrick, her Watcher
Pike, a romantic male lead
Benny, Pike's friend
Kimberly, a friend of Buffy
Jennifer, another friend of Buffy
Cassandra, a friend of Buffy who's actually good at schoolwork
Jeffrey, Buffy's boyfriend
Andy, a friend of Jeffrey who thinks Buffy is hot
Grueller, a friend of Jeffrey
Joyce Summers, Buffy's mother
Buffy's father (not actually named in the comic)
Zeph, a car mechanic
Gary, a school guidance counsellor
Lothos, a 900 year old lord of vampires
Amilyn, chief servant of Lothos
Assorted vampires, students and townsfolk of Los Angeles
People who do not appear in this story at all:
"BUFFY – THE ORIGIN"
Written by: Joss Whedon, Dan Brereton, Christopher Golden
EXT: DARK ALLEY, MEDIAEVAL EUROPE – NIGHT
TITLE CARD: Europe – The Dark Ages
>> This is an introduction to the Slayer mythos, but I think we're also meant to assume it's one of Buffy's dreams of past Slayers.
A VAMPIRE runs down the street, a hooded cloak half-hiding his inhuman features.
Ye'll not have me, wench!
>> They have an awful lot of plate glass for a mediaeval village.
Ye know not to come round here. What sort of fool must ye be, to walk right into the Slayer's grasp!
>> Lothos is never ever mentioned on the TV show, but if we accept 'The Origin' as canon, then he's a significant figure. He's killed over ten times as many Slayers as Spike, and he's older and more powerful than The Master.
Actually, that sort of fool is usually called "bait".
Ashes, ashes, all fall down.
Oh, and do forgive Amilyn. He tends to drool before supper.
Your time is ended, vampire!
You people will simply never learn.
>> Another Slayer to add to his score.
We can't be stopped.
This is our world now.
EXT: CASTLE, MEDIAEVAL EUROPE – NIGHT
PRE-LAP a conversation between a MAN and a GIRL. She sounds hesitant, he is determined.
You know you must. She died, and you are the next to be called. Why do you think you were sent?
CUT TO:INT: CASTLE CHAMBER, MEDIAEVAL EUROPE – CONTINUOUS - NIGHT
We see the speakers. The GIRL is elaborately dressed, and about 14 or 15 years old. The MAN is elderly and dressed in robes with a cross on the front. He holds a STAKE.
>> Her age is an assumption based on the fact that she's just been Called as a Slayer.
As long as there have been vampires, there has been the Slayer, a Chosen One. One born to hunt the darkness, to stop the spread of evil.
But I'm just a girl.
You are much more. One dies, the next is called. The next...
CUT TO:INT: MOVIE THEATRE IN LOS ANGELES, PRESENT DAY
TITLE CARD: California – The Lite Ages
>> In the movie, the same title card appeared, but we saw Buffy cheerleading as her opening scene. This scene, in the cinema, actually came a little way further into the film.
Three TEENAGE GIRLS are sitting in seats, ignoring the movie as they chat. In the centre is BUFFY: 15, petite, blonde, pretty and bubble-headed. She's nibbling a FRENCH FRY. Her companions are KIMBERLY, a redhead, and JENNIFER, a brunette. All three girls are trendy and expensively dressed.
Mr Howard is so heinous. I got a C-plus on the test and he tells me..."You have no sense of history."
You got a C-plus? I can't believe I cheated off you.
Excuse me for not knowing about El Salvador. Like I'm ever going to Spain anyway!
Suddenly, all three girls are hit on the back of their heads by THROWN POPCORN.
>> We later see that Pike has a surfboard in his room, hence my 'surfer-punk' description here.
Back off, freaks! Isn't there a hygiene rule in here?
Would you guys just shut up, please?
I can't believe them. We paid money to see this.
No, we didn't.
I still want to know what happens.
(rolling her eyes)
Everyone gets horribly killed except the blonde in the nightie... who finally kills the monster with a machete, but it's not really dead.
Is that true?
Possibly. What movie is this?
CUT TO:EXT: OUTSIDE THE MOVIE THEATRE - NIGHT
PIKE and BENNY walk out of the theatre.
Pike, I can't believe that chick gave away the ending like that.
Benny, dude, you gotta get out more.
Meanwhile, three GUYS are leaning against a van. These are JEFFREY – clean-cut, blond and preppy, and Buffy's boyfriend – and his friends ANDY and GRUELLER.
What are we waiting for, Jeffrey? The night is young, man.
Here's what we're waiting for… there's my girl!
Oh, man, Jeffrey… I don't mean to sound sexist or anything, but could I just borrow her for a while?
No way, Andy. You'd just get her dirty.
(a little pissed off)
Excuse me. What was that?
Enough of that lovey-dovey crap. Let's party!
Grueller, if you spent more time at home, sleeping, maybe you'd spend less time on the basketball court, sucking.
'shyeah. I'm outta here.
You guys don't know what you're missing! But I do…
…Another long and boring night of not studying.
A HAND reaches out of the darkness to grab his shoulder.
Yah! Don't mess with me…
Bessel? What are you doing here, punk?
What are you grinning at? You think I was scared?
Listen, worm. I could beat your head to a pulp. You got that?
CUT TO:EXT: BUFFY'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Buffy's parents, HANK and JOYCE SUMMERS, are about to go out, and are giving their daughter last-minute instructions.
>> Actually, the script never mentions Hank by name. That's my own extrapolation. In the movie Joyce wasn't named either (just credited as 'Buffy's Mom'), but the comic adaptation does use the name given to her by the TV show.
Joyce, we're gonna be late. I know it's a benefit, but there's still a protocol to these things.
We'll be back on Sunday, Buffy. Number's on the fridge don't drive the Jaguar no boys and tell Consuela my underwear does not go in the dishwasher.
Bye, dear! Kiss noise!
Have fun, kiddo. Stay away
from the Jag.
CUT TO:INT: BUFFY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Buffy sits by herself in front of the TV, watching a vampire movie and eating popcorn. She's lonely and fed up.
>> This was written before the invention of Dawn, so she has no little sister to annoy her and keep her company.
The Jag. I know. That's the Summers family for you.
Real "quality timers".
…The Sheriff was not available for comment, but police have issued a statement saying the situation is not out of hand. Tonight marks the fourth such disappearance in less than two weeks—
TV PRESENTER (CONT'D)
…Keep you informed as information comes in—
What a perfect weekend to leave the kids alone in the house.
CUT TO:EXT: HONG KONG HARBOUR – ESTABLISHING - NIGHT
TITLE CARD: Somewhere in Hong Kong: Somewhere in the 18th Century
CUT TO:INT: HONG KONG BROTHEL - NIGHT
A young CHINESE PROSTITUTE kneels on the bed and starts to remove her clothes as a EUROPEAN SAILOR tosses a couple of gold coins onto the sheet.
New at this, are ye, girly?
What in blazes! We ain't even started yet, ye strumpet!
CUT TO:EXT: HONG KONG ALLEY - CONTINUOUS - NIGHT
As she runs through the dark streets, we hear a distorted VOICE that we may recognise as belonging to LOTHOS.
PRELAP:INT: BUFFY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT
Buffy starts awake from a nightmare, the same voice echoing in her head.
Oh wow oh wow oh wow!
CUT TO:INT: LOTHOS'S LAIR BENEATH LOS ANGELES
A vast, dark cavern. In the centre is a huge rock-rimmed POOL full of BLOOD. Amilyn, Lothos's jester, leans over it – he is now dressed in more modern clothes.
>> The powerful vampire sleeping in a pool of blood not only appeared in the movie, but was recycled on the TV show for the first appearance of The Master.
Sleep, my master, my own... sleep... and feed.
I have already begun building you a new family. Soon we will be legion. This place is everything you promised.
And when you rise, we'll claim it as our own.
Rubies will drip from your lips.
CUT TO:EXT: DINER – ESTABLISHING - NIGHT
A traditional railway-carriage style diner, its windows lit up and a few people hanging around outside.
"The environment". That's good, Buffy. So, what are the most immediate threats to the world environment right now.
CUT TO:INT: DINER – CONTINUOUS - NIGHT
Four girls are sat around a table picking at salads. We recognise Buffy, Kimberly and Jennifer from before. Their companion CASSANDRA wears glasses and has a notepad and pen in front of her.
I know, guys. What about the ozone layer?
Right! We gotta get rid of that!
Guys, I don't see why we have to invite everyone to this thing.
Kimberly, it's a school dance.
Can't we make exceptions? Maryanne Heinel? She's such a scud. Can't we have a Maryanne clause?
As she speaks Buffy notices Pike and Benny are sitting in another booth, watching them.
Well, look who's here. What are you looking at, loser?
(to the waitress)
We're looking at a dog, possible coffee...
You guys are thrashed.
What are you talking to them for?
What did you say?
We're the drunks. What's your name?
I'm sorry. This is Benny, my newly thawed out caveman buddy. I'm Pike.
Pike isn't a name. It's a fish.
Let's go, Pike. Your dog's here anyway.
Hey! You're the guys from the movie!
(stands and points)
We hate you guys!
Hey Buffy, you hungry? I got something for you…
Hee hee, Pike, lookit these girls. You'd think they'd never seen—
Uh, Benny, man…
(When we say 'wiener' we're talking about his hot dog; you got that, right?)
Hey! She wasted my dog!
Buffy, how's you do that?
What'cha guys doing?
We were talking about the dance. We need to come up with a theme.
How about, "Our friend, the beer"?
DISSOLVE TO:EXT: ALLEY OUTSIDE THE DINER - NIGHT
Pike and Benny are walking back home through the dark streets. They're each holding a BOTTLE of BOOZE.
>> Illegal underage drinking! Don't do this yourselves, kids!
When you get that car running, man, let's Audi. Get away from this town, those rich bitches, they're a plague, man.
You didn't like them?
They're so stuck up, they're not even human. I hate them.
But would you sleep with them?
Yes. Definitely. Please God, yes.
As they speak they climb up a hillside into a small wooded area overlooking the city. There's a full moon overhead... and they're BEING FOLLOWED by a MAN IN A TRENCHCOAT.
Well, there it is. You don’t even like them, and you'd sleep with them. What's up with that?
News flash, Pike. Another shot of this and I'd sleep with YOU.
Yeah, and then you'd never call me.
I think I'm gonna ralf.
Don't worry, Benny, I'm here for…here for ya…
I'm here for ya, Ralf.
MAN IN TRENCHCOAT
Ralf, is it? Let's have some fun, Ralf.
You're gonna looove this.
>> In the film, Amilyn could fly. The comic sticks with TV Buffyverse canon, and he just jumps a long distance.
CUT TO:EXT: OUTSIDE HEMERY HIGH SCHOOL - DAY
It's the end of another school day, and Buffy, Jennifer, Kimberly and Cassandra are walking out the door. Buffy is sucking a lollipop. Merrick stands in the background watching them.
>> And this was the scene that appeared in 'Becoming Part 1', with some changes to the dialogue. Note that in the comic, there's no Angel lurking in a creepy stalker-like fashion in a car across the street.
>> As far as I can work out, the writing of 'The Origin' was started during the broadcast of Season 2 – so before 'Becoming' was aired – but not finished until Season 3 had started. That means I'm unsure if the comic was later altered to match the broadcast scene. The dialogue doesn't exactly match, and Merrick looks a bit different, so I'm guessing this scene was already being written when 'Becoming' was shown, and it's based on the original script. In the movie Merrick first approaches Buffy during cheerleading practice inside the gym, so it's a very different scene.
So, I'm like, "Dad, you want me to go to the dance in an outfit I've already worn? Why do you hate me?"
Is Tyler taking you?
Oh my God, where were you when I got over Tyler? He's of the past. Tyler would have to crawl on his hands and knees to get me to go to the dance with him.
Plus, y'know… Jeffrey.
Please. Who'd pick Tyler over Jeffrey? Not this without-a-date-for-the-dance girl.
Actually, I told Jeffrey I'd wait for practice to end, so I'm gonna wait.
Buffy sits down on the steps as the others walk off.
See you. Don't forget our study date tonight.
Buffy Summers. I need to speak to you.
Hi, what? You're not from Macy's, are you? 'Cause I meant to pay for that lipstick.
There isn't much time. You must come with me. Your destiny awaits.
I don't have a destiny. I'm destiny-free, really.
Yes, you have. You are the Chosen One. You alone can stop them.
My name is Merrick. I was sent to find you some time ago, but there were… complications. You should have been taught, prepared. Now you must come with me to the cemetery while there's still time.
Let me get this straight. You're, like, some kind of maniac, and I have to go to the cemetery with you 'cause I'm chosen and there are vampires?
Does Elvis talk to you? Tell you to do things? Do you see spots?
Just stay away from me, okay?
Did you ever dream that you were someone else?
In the past. A girl. Maybe… a Magyar peasant. An Indian princess, a prostitute in China.
That gets through to her.
God, I never told anyone about that. What is this, like, channelling or something?
It's you, Buffy. Your dreams are merely your own self trying to remind you who you are. And to warn you, perhaps, of the great evil rising there. Is there a common thread in these dreams? Something that occurs in all of them?
I'm always fighting… killing these monsters… and… okay, this is weird, in all the dreams I'm a different person, but the monsters, the vampires, all call me the same thing.
God, it's all true, isn't it? This is not my day.
CUT TO:INT: LOTHOS'S LAIR BENEATH LOS ANGELES - LATER
It may not be Buffy's day, but it's definitely not this GIRL'S night. She's lying on the floor of the cavern, and looming over her are Lothos and Amilyn.
>> At first I assumed this was Cassandra, the girl whom Buffy was meant to have a study date with. It is Cassandra in the movie. Also, she never appears again, and we learn later that she was killed by vampires, so it would be logical that it's her now. But this girl is drawn differently – so it's either someone else, or it was meant to be Cassandra and the artist made a mistake.
GIRL (WHO IS POSSIBLY CASSANDRA)
What do you want? What are you?
Are we so strange? So alien to you? I've seen this culture, the greed, the waste… It's heartwarming. The perfect place to spread my empire.
What are we? We are man, perfected. We exist to consume.
Listen, you don't want me. You want bodies, I'll help you. I swear to God.
I do wish you wouldn't mention HIM.
CUT TO:EXT: GRAVEYARD - NIGHT
Buffy and Merrick walk through the dark, spooky graveyard. The moon is starting to rise, and the sky is still red-tinged from sunset.
Why didn't you tell anyone about your dreams?
Yeah, GREAT idea, tell everyone I'm crazy. Why not tell them I'm addicted to crack while I'm at it?
They arrive at a freshly-filled grave.
I can't believe I flaked on Cassandra like that, to follow you to a graveyard to hunt vampires. This is so mental.
It's right around here.
On the GRAVESTONE. It reads "Robert Berman 1972-1990 God is at his heels"
Robert Berman was killed three days ago. His body was found out by the canal. There was extensive tissue damage, tearing at his neck and shoulders. The coroner's chalked it off to a dog attack.
That's pleasant. Now what do we do?
Well, JUST a minute.
Just for protection. You won't have to do anything. I just need you to watch.
Now we just wait.
For Robert to wake up.
Whatever. You got any gum?
It's much later: the sky is fully dark and the moon is up.
You know, before the sun went completely down, I didn't realise this could get any lamer than it already is…
Please. I'm just as bored as you are…
Buffy! Look alive!
Oh, wow! What was that?
Witness, Buffy… the dead, now UNDEAD!
And a clawed HAND emerges from the earth of the GRAVE.
Buffy grabs her stake and staggers back as ROBERT, now a vampire, lunges for her. Behind him, Merrick rushes in, raising his own stake to strike. But then ANOTHER VAMPIRE - a female one – emerges from the earth and grabs Buffy's ankle.
Aaaah! Oh my God! Get it off me!
You're invading my personal bubble!
>> Slayer instincts take over in an emergency. In 'Lessons' Buffy told Dawn she "missed the heart first time", but that's not shown here. In the flashback in 'Becoming' she does, though – although there's only one vampire there.
Where's the other one?
>> Go Buffy!
CUT TO:EXT: BUFFY'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Buffy and Merrick stand outside the house, talking.
Go to school tomorrow. Try to act normal. Don't talk about any of this, to anyone.
This is important. When the vampires find out who you are, you won't be hunting THEM anymore.
I get it.
Meet me at this address after school.
I have cheerleading practice.
Merrick. They can't come in, right? Unless you invite them. Is that true?
It's true. Now get some sleep, Slayer.
END OF ACT ONE
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