Buffy the Vampire Slayer is acclaimed for its character development across the board, but one of its best arcs was Willow’s coming out. In season 4, Alyson Hannigan’s wannabe witch started a relationship with Tara (Amber Benson) at college, realizing her sexuality in the process. Willow and Tara became a fan favorite couple, and Tara’s tragic death in season 6 is one of the show’s most infamous moments.
That said, in recent years particularly, there’s been some criticism from fans over how Willow is portrayed as gay from season 4 onward, when she’s attracted to men in previous seasons – having a long-term relationship with Oz (Seth Green), for example. Many feel that it would’ve been more accurate to have Willow identify as bisexual and in a new interview, creator Joss Whedon agreed with this view. However, he admits that he couldn’t make it happen at the time.
“There are you things you can’t do, thanks to [the society at the time]. OK, you can’t make Willow bi, you can’t say this is a phase, because that’s what people do to deny their existence,” Whedon says. “So, if I did it now, I’d be like yes she can be bi. Because some people are! But back then it was like, no…we’re not ready for that.”
Whedon’s argument is a sound one. He’s previously spoken a lot about how he was passionate about portraying an openly gay character/relationship in the series, so in his enthusiasm to push the boundaries he had to make sure people accepted that Willow was gay. Which meant depicting her as a lesbian rather than bi, due to the perception of the LGBT community at the time, which we’re thankfully moving past now.
Whedon hypothetically mentions making it now, which is interesting, as he’s actually working on a reboot. Back in 2018, it was announced that he was producing a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, with Monica Owusu-Breen serving as showrunner. It’s believed that this would be some kind of legacy/continuation show, though we don’t know if any old faces will be back. The project seems to have gone quiet of late, too, though it’s still in development, as far as we know.