Joss’s Jesus: Christ-figures in the Whedonverses


  • Melody Cook


In the fifth season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2001), Buffy sacrifices herself to save her sister (and the world) by leaping into a portal with her arms outstretched. In the final scenes of The Cabin in the Woods (2012), Marty refuses to die in order to save the world, instead watching as it crumbles around him. In the former, Buffy is an obvious Christ-figure, while in the latter Marty subverts the trope in his refusal to be a sacrifice. This paper explores the prevalence, meaning, and evolution of the Christ-figure trope in the works of Joss Whedon. Drawing from research in the fields of both Whedon studies and religion and popular culture, I define and set parameters for identifying Christ-figures before exploring the use of the Christ-figure in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Finally, I briefly reflect on the question, what can we learn from the conflicted religiosity of the Whedonverses?