Buffy Would Be Very Different if This Marvel Star Hadn't Refused a Role

Buffy Would Be Very Different if This Marvel Star Hadn't Refused a Role
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Over the past two decades, Ryan Reynolds has transitioned from shining on small-budget comedies to one of the biggest action/comedy stars of his generation.

His stardom might have come sooner if he didn't turn down an early role because of some high school trauma.

Reynolds began his career with Canadian television, starting with the teen drama Hillside in the early '90s. He appeared in the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV movie – a precursor to the later sitcom. It was this experience that led the creators of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to offer Reynolds the role of Xander Harris before the premiere in the spring of 1997.

Reynolds said in a 2008 interview that he loved the show's concept and its creator – Joss Whedon – but he nevertheless turned it down. According to Reynolds, his biggest concern was playing a high schooler.

Reynolds recently graduated from high school in Vancouver, and he apparently didn't miss it.

"I had just come out of high school and it was f***ing awful."

The role would have been the biggest of his career to that point. Buffy lasted seven seasons with an 85% score on Rotten Tomatoes, earning two Primetime Emmys in the process. It had "cult classic" vibes while still managing to appeal to wide audiences and critics alike, allowing it to become one of the most popular shows of the late '90s/early 2000s. It also paved the way for shows like Supernatural and the Vampire Diaries, merging the supernatural with other genres. Shows like that – especially with a female lead – were few and far between.

The role of Xander eventually went to Nicholas Brendon. It was Brendon's breakout role, and arguably his career peak.

The show would have benefited from Reynold's comedic timing, dramatic chops, and ability to perform action sequences. Reynolds himself would have been an instant A-list celebrity, a level he didn't really reach for another ten years.

Nevertheless, Reynolds has no regrets turning the role down.

He said the roles he took and the roles he rejected "led me to where I am," and that it helped build his character. He added that he doesn't even regret the trauma he faced in his youth, saying it helped motivate him to reach the success he has.

His success in almost every genre has led him behind the screen, where he's taken an interest in producing films. He works as a producer for the Deadpool franchise in which he also stars as the titular anti-hero.