Buffy the Vampire Slayer star explains real reason she refused to return after ‘short-sighted’ exit

Buffy the Vampire Slayer character Willow holds Tara from behind

Buffy the Vampire Slayer star Amber Benson has opened up about the real reason why she didn’t want Tara to be resurrected. 

Benson played witch Tara Maclay, who eventually became a member of the Scooby gang and girlfriend of Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan). The couple broke ground for LGBT+ representation on TV in the early-2000s and their relationship was carefully developed throughout the series.

Tara’s time on the supernatural teen drama came to an abrupt end in the sixth season after she was shot in the heart by a stray bullet fired by Warren Mears (Adam Busch). Buffy showrunners and creator Joss Whedon tried more than once to bring Tara back from the dead, including a proposed resurrection in the final season.

Benson revealed for the “first time” the real reason why she adamantly refused to return to the show in Evan Ross Katz’s new book Into Every Generation a Slayer Is Born: How Buffy Staked Our HeartsComicbook.com reported. 

The actor explained she had “some issues” with an unnamed person on the show, which “kind of came to a head” as she was ready to exit the show.

“Leaving the show was sad because there are some of the crew and the writers and some of the cast that I just adore, but I had made my peace with that person and the show and I was done: ‘I’m leaving everything in a good place. I don’t need to come back,’” Benson said. 

She continued: “And then all the s**t hit the fan, and Joss realised he had messed up. 

“I mean, this is a time when people are, like, sending faxes to that production office, like this was a big, horrible thing, and it was devastating to a lot of people.”

Benson said Joss found out he “made a mistake” and had been “short-sighted”, but she believed Whedon never meant to “hurt the LGBTQ+ community”. 

“He just wasn’t thinking,” Benson said. “I can truly, from the bottom of my heart, say [that] this was nothing intentional. This was a thoughtless error.”

Benson admitted she didn’t “want to come back” despite Whedon’s attempts to have her back on Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The actor added she was having schedule conflicts while working on another project, but she said she ultimately “didn’t really trust what was going to happen” to Tara. 

Benson said: “I think that’s something if you’ve talked to some other cast, people are like, ‘Yeah, I came back… and then he just did what he wanted. Even though he told me that he wasn’t going to kill me in this way, he killed me in that way.’ 

“I just didn’t feel super trusting of the situation. And I felt like people had already been really hurt by this.”

Benson backed Charisma Carpenter, who played Cordelia Chase on the beloved show after she accused Whedon of “repeated” abuse against her in an explosive set of allegations last year. 

Carpenter accused the Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator of “abusing his power” across her time on both the original show and its spin-off Angel. She claimed Whedon “found his misconduct amusing” which worsened her “performance anxiety”, and she eventually became ‘alienated’ “from my peers”. 

Benson threw her support behind Carpenter on Twitter, saying that Buffy was a “toxic environment” which started from “the top”. 

“[Carpenter] is speaking truth and I support her 100 per cent,” Benson wrote. “There was a lot of damage done during that time and many of us are still processing it 20-plus years later.”

Whedon has denied the accusations against him despite several Buffy the Vampire Slayer actors and stars from other films coming forward with their own allegations in recent months.