The Chosen One has finally made her decision: Sarah Michelle Gellar will exit Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the end of the season, TV Guide Online has learned. Although UPN and 20th Century Fox declined to comment, sources confirm that the 25-year-old actress whose Buffy contract expires in May is leaving the cult-classic series to pursue her film career full time.
Talk of Gellar's probable Buffy departure has been gathering steam for months. Adding fuel to the fire: the recent announcement that the Scooby-Doo star will begin shooting the feature Romantic Comedy in August, around the time she would have been returning to work on a new season of Buffy. As one Gellar confidante puts it, "You do the math."
And if Buffy fans think that bites, there's more bad news. That rumored spinoff starring Eliza Dushku, who plays Buffy's rival slayer Faith, is now occupying a plot at the Sunnydale Cemetery. Dushku, who had apparently been knee-deep in discussions to succeed Gellar in a Buffy offshoot, has instead signed on to headline the Fox pilot Heroine.
Still, not all hope is lost. As Buffy creator Joss Whedon told TV Guide Online in October, a Dushku-led series is "one of many" possibilities he's considering. Among the others: a show revolving around Buffy's kid sister Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) or sidekick Willow (Alyson Hannigan).
Incidentally, during an interview with TV Guide Online last year, Gellar said she believes Buffy could and should forge ahead, even if that means anointing a new Slayer. "Absolutely," she offered. "I don't know if it would be Buffy the Vampire Slayer per se, because you kind of need Buffy for that. But it doesn't mean that there's not Dawn and [reformed vengeance demon] Anya. There are a lot of characters that could easily go on, and I'd hope that they would."
The silver lining in the clouds for Buffy fans? Gellar's swan song will reunite her with TV soulmate David Boreanaz. As TV Guide Online reported earlier this month, the Angel leading man has agreed to cross over to his old haunt in May, so that the do-gooder vamp can bid farewell to his Chosen One at the same time as we do ours.