What seems to be an important distinction here is that Billy is a slayer, not a Slayer (note capitalization). He’s just a guy who kills vampires, no special Slayer-enhancements needed. In this way, then, his character stays within established Buffyverse canon (Slayers are always female, but even Xander can off a vampire) while also playing within established Buffyverse conceits. Espenson wanted the character to extend the idea of strength beyond just Buffy’s obvious commitment to female empowerment, going on to state that:
“[I]f being feminine doesn’t mean that you’re lesser, then liking guys also doesn’t mean you’re lesser.”
Greenberg adds to this idea, blending it in nicely with the Buffyverse trend of:
“Monsters as (very obvious) metaphors for maturation.” For him, “Billy is is about a young man who finds strength by standing up to vampires (a metaphor for bullies?) and defining who he is going to be rather than letting others tell him who he should be.”
In many ways, then, a character like Billy could fit into the Buffyverse naturally, adding yet another layer of metaphor and another role model to identify with. This is the appeal for Greenberg, who said that he and Espenson:
“[C]ertainly talked a lot about the metaphor of feeling powerless in a place overrun with people who, if you let them, could end up sucking the life out of you, and what it means to be someone who stands up and says, ‘I want to make a difference in my life. And if I can make a difference in my life, maybe I’ll be making a difference in others’ lives, too.’”
In theory, it sounds great – a Buffy-style role model for a slightly different audience. There are issues, sure: How is this going to fit into the already-rolling universe of Season 9? How will a non-enhanced slayer will fare up against Zompires rather than the vampires that the Scoobies have tackled on their own before? How will this actually play out against canon, in particular Slayer-lore? But, if anyone can make this storyline not just work but thrive in the face of these questions, it’s Jane Espenson, so…. Hooray for Billy?
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