Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Willow Rosenberg

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Willow Rosenberg
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Actor Alyson Hannigan
First Appearance 1x01 - Welcome to the Hellmouth
Last Appearance 7x22 - Chosen
Series Billing 1x01 to 5x22: Billed
6x01 to 7x22: Last Billing
Episode Count 144
Notable Episodes 3x16 - Doppelgangland
4x06 - Wild at Heart
4x19 - New Moon Rising
6x10 - Wrecked
6x20 - Villains
7x03 - Same Time, Same Place
Also Appears On Angel

Willow Rosenberg, a powerful witch and smart intellectual, is played by Alyson Hannigan, and appears in all 144 episodes of the show, achieving Last Billing in 44 of them. Willow also appears in three episodes of Angel, where she is a Special Guest Star. Over the course of the series, Willow transforms drastically, seeing changes in her self-confidence, friendships, and sexuality. In the season seven episode, The Killer in Me, Willow was portrayed by Adam Busch.



Willow Rosenberg is Buffy's best friend, and is one of the core members of the self-named Scooby Gang. Although extremely intelligent, she was a relative outcast in high school and was shunned by many of her peers. Her best friend for most of her life has been Xander, and the two of them, along with Jesse usually spent most of their time together. When Buffy moved to Sunnydale, the four of them quickly bonded before Jesse got bit by a vampire, forcing Xander to dust him before he could hurt any more people.

In Willow's junior year of high school, she met Oz, a rock singer for the band Dingoes Ate My Baby who also happens to be a werewolf, and the two of them began dating. The Scooby Gang started to interact with more people, and Willow began to become more popular. It was also at this point that she started developing an interest in magic. When Angel reverted to his demonic form of Angelus, Willow performed a mystical incantation that would bring Angel's soul back.

In Willow's senior year of high school, she was forced to tutor Percy, one of Sunnydale High's most popular students. Although they both hated each other at first, Willow and Percy soon bonded, which brought Willow into favorable opinion with much of the school. She helped orchestrate the events that helped foil the Mayor's ascension.

Although Willow received offers from Stanford and Harvard, Willow chose to stay in Sunnydale with Buffy and Xander, opting to go to college at UC Sunnydale. After Buffy has a bad experience with her demonic roommate, Willow and Buffy dorm together as roommates. Early on in her college experience, she catches Oz flirting with another werewolf, Veruca. Oz leaves shortly after. However, when the Gentlemen arrive into Sunnydale, Willow is locked in the campus hall's laundry room with a girl named Tara, who she later develops strong feelings for.

When Oz returns to Sunnydale looking to apologize to Willow, Willow reveals to both Oz that she's in love with Tara. She also gradually reveals her admission to be a lesbian to the rest of the Scooby Gang shortly thereafter. Tara, being a practicing witch herself, helps Willow gain more confidence in magic. However, when Willow decides to revive a deceased Buffy, Tara tells her to stop using magic for fear that it might cause drastic imbalances. Willow, in retaliation, casts a forgetfulness spell on Tara. When Tara finds out about this, she decides to leave Willow.

Willow makes an attempt to stop using magic as an act of contrition to Tara, but when they finally reunite and proclaim their love for each other, Warren, a part of the Trio, firing wildly in an attempt to kill Buffy, shoots Tara in the back, killing her instantly. Willow pleads to the god Osiris to revive Tara, but Osiris refuses, and Willow decides to hunt down Warren in order to avenge her girlfriend's death. Willow finds Warren and flays him, then moves on to hunt down the remaining two members of the Trio, Jonathan and Andrew. The rest of the Scooby Gang tries to stop her from erecting a demonic statue that would signal the end of the world, but in the end, it's Xander that forces her back to reality.

After a long recovery treatment with Giles in England, Willow returns to Sunnydale magic-free and willing to return to college. However, this is at odds against the world-ending threat that is looming. Before she can operate as normal, Willow is forced to face her guilt and move past it—a feat she accomplishes with potential slayer and new girlfriend Kennedy. In an apocalyptic battle with The First, Willow performs a spell that helps save the world by activating all the Potentials that are helping fight The First and his minions. Willow survives the final apocalyptic battle unharmed.

Following the climactic battle, slayer headquarters moved to Scotland where Buffy and Xander train the newly activated slayers for the battles ahead of them as well as clear out demon menaces wherever possible. She and Kennedy were assigned to South America, but she routinely returns to Scotland to check in and attempt to solve the issue of Dawn growing into a literal giant. The reappearance of Amy Madison caused her to settle down at headquarters for the time being as defense against Twilight.

Character History

  • 1x01 - Welcome to the Hellmouth: Willow meets Buffy for the first time shortly after she moves to Sunnydale, although at first Willow seems threatened and intimidated by her.
  • 7x22 - Chosen: Willow finally learns how to control her power and helps Buffy and the others save the world by activating all the Potentials.

Memorable Moments

  • 3x16 - Doppelgangland: The alternate reality Willow is transported to the show's reality and Willow has to pretend to be the alternate reality vampiric Willow in order to save her friends.
  • 6x22 - Grave (2): Willow almost destroys the world with all the magical power she accumulated.


  • In the unaired pilot for Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Willow was played by Riff Regan.
  • Willow and Tara's relationship was meant to end in the season five finale, The Gift, but Joss Whedon and the other crew members loved their dynamic so much that their relationship continued for another season.
  • Willow appears in all 144 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Only Buffy herself is in all the episodes. However, Sarah Michelle Gellar is technically in more episodes than Alyson Hannigan, as Hannigan did not play the part of Willow in the unaired pilot (although the pilot is not considered canon).