Fans of Buffy the Vampire Slayer celebrated the show’s 25th anniversary on Thursday with mixed feelings. Following director Joss Whedon‘s fall from grace and alarming allegations of misconduct made by former cast members and those who worked with him on other projects, it leaves fans worried that has permanently tainted the show’s legacy.

Star Sarah Michelle Gellar looked past the controversy to celebrate those who helped turned Buffy into a cult classic — the fans. 

“25 years ago today I had the honor to introduce the world to my version of Buffy Anne Summers. It was an uphill battle,” she wrote Thursday on Instagram. “A mid season replacement, on a new network based on a movie, that was by no means a giant success. But then there was you. The fans. You believed in us. You made this happen.” 

She continued, “You are the reason 25 years later we are still celebrating. So today we celebrate you as well,” and closed with the hashtag “#wwbd,” which means “What Would Buffy Do?”

ABC Audio caught up with Gellar ahead of the show’s silver anniversary, and the actress spoke about why a series about vampires and mad gods resonated so fiercely with fans.

“I think what makes any great entertainment is when a story transcends time and place, when everybody finds a little bit of themselves in the character. You know, whether you’re a guy, a girl, age, whatever, everyone understood that we used the demons as the manifestation of the horrors of adolescence,” said Gellar about why the show has survived the test of time. “No matter who you are, we all experience the horrors of adolescence. That is one of the commonalities among us.” 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer premiered March 10, 1997, and ran for seven seasons, airing its final episode in 2003.

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