Not since Sue dug her fangs into Kelly in the middle of the South China Sea have audiences been so excited about a small-screen showdown. On tonight's fifth season premiere of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
(8 pm/ET), The Chosen One (Sarah Michelle Gellar
) comes face-to-face with the granddaddy of all vamps: Dracula. But don't expect the Transylvanian count played by Gellar's onetime All My Children
leading man, Rudolf Martin
to go coffin-hunting in Sunnydale anytime soon; Buffy's ultimate foe will fly away after the first episode.
"He's just a guest star, and as of now, he is not coming back," co-executive producer Marti Noxon tells TV Guide Online. "But you never know. [Rudolf] is a wonderful presence." Noxon adds that Dracula's exit will pave the way for the arrival of two new villains in coming weeks. "They will be in the vein of "The Mayor" and "The Master" and different than any other foe Buffy's encountered so far. It's a woman and a man and they're going to be part of the story through to the season finale."
That's not to say that Buffy won't already have her hands full. In addition to the arrival of her little sis, Dawn (played by Michelle Trachtenberg, another AMC alum), the Slayer will continue to spar with lovable menace Spike (James Marsters), who faces a major crisis of his own early on. As first hinted by TV Guide Online back in July, Juliet Landau will reprise her wildly popular role as Spike's estranged flame, Drusilla, on Buffy and Angel next month. "It remains to be seen how much she's going to be involved this season," Noxon points out. "But she is definitely making her return."
And speaking of casting coups, Noxon says that talks to bring on Britney Spears as a guest star (she and Gellar are real-life buds) continue. "It wouldn't be until after the first of the year," she says. Who will the princess of bubblegum pop be playing? "That's a closely-guarded secret," adds Noxon. "But she won't be playing Britney Spears."