Sarah Michelle Gellar, David Boreanaz Pay Tribute to ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ on 20th Anniversary

Buffy and Angel forever. Sarah Michelle Gellar and David Boreanaz paid tribute to Buffy the Vampire Slayer in honor of the show’s 20th anniversary on Friday, March 10.

Gellar, 39, who played Sunnydale resident Buffy Anne Summers, penned a sweet message to the cast and their fans in an Instagram post.

“20 years ago today, I had the greatest privilege to bring Buffy to your tv screens for the first time. It was a long and challenging road to get there,” she wrote. “That first season, we liked to think of ourselves as the little show that could. While we knew the potential, I don’t think any of us saw the lasting impact our show would have. As an actor, you wish for that one role where you can leave your mark and forever be remembered, with Buffy I got so much more. She’s a feminist challenge to gender hierarchy. Buffy may have been the Chosen One, but I was the lucky one.”

20 years ago today, I had the greatest privilege to bring Buffy to your tv screens for the first time. It was a long and challenging road to get there. First the movie, then a passed over pilot presentation, and eventually a mid season time slot on a little known network. That first season, we liked to think of ourselves as the little show that could. While we knew the potential, I don’t think any of us saw the lasting impact our show would have. As an actor, you wish for that one role where you can leave your mark and forever be remembered, with Buffy I got so much more. She’s a feminist challenge to gender hierarchy. Buffy may have been the Chosen One, but I was the lucky one. Thank you to Gail Berman for always believing there was a show in that movie. Thank you to Joss Whedon, for trusting me to give life to one of the greatest female characters ever created. Thank you to David, for always being my Angel. Thank you to James for understanding that while Buffy and Spike may have been love/hate, I have nothing but love for you. Alyson, as any woman knows, you are nothing without the love and support of great female friends, so thank you for being that. Michelle, you will always hold a key to my heart. Thank you to all the incredible actors for seven seasons of amazing performances. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the incredible crew that worked tirelessly (and also really tired) to bring this show to life. And lastly, but most importantly thank you to all of you, the fans. We made this show for you, and your unwavering support has kept this show going long past our seven years. You are everything. And always remember…"if the apocalypse comes, beep me" #buffyslays20

A post shared by Sarah Michelle (@sarahmgellar) on

Buffy the Vampire Slayer debuted in 1997, five years after the movie version, which starred Kristy Swanson, Luke Perry and Donald Sutherland, premiered. The show was created by Joss Whedon, produced by Gail Berman and starred then-unknowns such as Boreanaz, 47 (Angel), James Marsters (Spike), Alyson Hannigan (Willow), Nicholas Brendon (Xander) and Michelle Trachtenberg (Dawn).

“Thank you to Gail Berman for always believing there was a show in that movie. Thank you to Joss Whedon, for trusting me to give life to one of the greatest female characters ever created,” Gellar continued on Friday. “Thank you to David, for always being my Angel. Thank you to James for understanding that while Buffy and Spike may have been love/hate, I have nothing but love for you. Alyson, as any woman knows, you are nothing without the love and support of great female friends, so thank you for being that. Michelle, you will always hold a key to my heart.”

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar
David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar star in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.' Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The beloved series ran for seven seasons (the first five airing on The WB before its move to UPN) and the characters said their final goodbye in the episode “Chosen” on May 20, 2003. “Thank you to all the incredible actors for seven seasons of amazing performances. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible crew that worked tirelessly (and also really tired) to bring this show to life,” Gellar wrote on Instagram. “And lastly, but most importantly thank you to all of you, the fans. We made this show for you, and your unwavering support has kept this show going long past our seven years. You are everything. And always remember…’if the apocalypse comes, beep me’ #buffyslays20.”

Boreanaz, meanwhile, reflected about his experience in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, which published on Friday. “It was all timing, really. [Angel] initially had an arc of 6 out of the 12 episodes. He was somebody who could be recurring and a love interest to Buffy,” he said. “When Buffy hit, I was in the right spot at the right time, but I had been struggling for years just to get in the door.”

Luckily, viewers fell hard for Boreanaz’s smoldering character, and he went on to reprise the role in the spinoff Angel, which ran from 1999 to 2004. “It was extremely transitionally interesting for me. It was an opportunity to take this character into an adult-oriented show, which was unlike the Buffy-verse, and more or less toward the lost souls in the city. I never really think about the challenges. I know I respond better when there’s more on my plate and the pressure’s high, so I instinctively take that on,” the Bones actor told EW.

The first time the star ever directed was actually for an Angel episode. “It was a phenomenal experience,” he recalled. “To have the ability to direct and act at the same time was so much fun. I was able to compartmentalize and bring it to a whole different level and it was relatable to me because of the acting, being able to talk to the actors and know where they’re coming from and to grow that aspect, to bring those experiences to life. From that standpoint alone, it was really big with me.”

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!