Buffy the Vampire Slayer Tara Amber Benson Photos

Buffy at 20: Amber Benson Talks Tara's Tragic Fate (and a Nixed Return!)

To mark the 20th anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s series premiere, TVLine spoke to a few of its key players. Up next: star Amber Benson.

When Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon originally conceived the character of Tara Maclay, a witch he added in the supernatural drama’s fourth season, she didn’t look a lot like Amber Benson.

At least, that’s how Benson recalls it.

“I think that Joss was seeing sort of somebody a little more fairy-like,” the actress tells TVLine. “He was looking for someone who was fairy-looking, and I am not. I am curvy, and I’ve got boobs and hips, and that isn’t going to work.”

Luckily for Benson, then-Buffy supervising producer Marti Noxon voiced her support, and the Tara we know was born.

“I was just supposed to do two episodes,” Benson says, laughing. “And then I just stayed after that and sort of spun out from there.”

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Whedon’s iconic series, we asked Benson to look back on her time in Sunnydale. Click through the gallery above — or go here for direct access — to hear what the actress has to say about getting up early with co-star Alyson Hannigan, marveling at Emma Caulfield and realizing that a Season 7 return probably wasn’t meant to be.

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11 Comments
  1. Dominique says:

    it was difficult for me to accept atar at first because i loved oz, and willow with oz, so much. but god tara was such a wonderful character who added some much needed heart to the show.

  2. Joey says:

    I shouldn’t have looked at this at work. I was okay going through it, then you had to have the screenshot of Anya from “The Body”. Even just thinking about it typing this comment is getting me teary-eyed.

  3. Erik says:

    Willows whole coming out arc happened when I was dealing with my sexuality. It’s part of the reason she’s my favorite tv character. And amber bensons work as Tara was one of the reasons it worked for me.

    • Kate says:

      This whole series was a wonderful opening for me to have the discussion with my boys at the time, about Willow’s relationship with Tara. At the time they were seven and 10 years old and they were “put off” that Willow would choose Tara, a woman, over Oz Who although was a boy, was also a werewolf. It was a great dialogue about choice, who we love, why we love, and what difference does it really make who that person is as long as there is love.

  4. Mackenzie says:

    Starting to tear up a little bit just thinking about Tara, absolutely one of the best characters, she meant so much to so many (and still does!). Amber should be proud.

  5. Jason says:

    I’ve never, before or since, been as emotionally affected by a tv death. I was she’ll shocked for the better part of a week after that. I would just break into tears at the drop of a hat. Even after all these years, I still well up when I start thinking about it. Of course, I would say that my top five, most emotionally devastating tv moments, might all belong to Buffy.

  6. J.B. says:

    After all these years I’m still a little bitter that she decided not to return. I know she had her reason but I would have loved to have seen Joss’ plans for Tara unfold onscreen. He said that he cried when talking about what he had planned for her return because he thought it was that good. Tara was one of my favorite characters. I seriously considered not watching the show after she was killed off and I am a huge, HUGE fan of the show. Her death is one of the few fictional character deaths that still affects me. Really wish Amber and Joss could have worked out their differences.

  7. Geo says:

    I was glad that we didn’t see The First take on Tara’s appearance in season seven. I always liked to think that maybe there was some cosmic loophole where Tara’s soul was so strong The First couldn’t copy her.

  8. Jerr says:

    And not a single word about Alyson Hannigan and the way she poorly treated her on set. Amber Bendon us a class act!!!