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Looking back at the tragic deaths of 5 beloved Whedon characters

"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."
"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar."
Universal Pictures

It’s no secret that Joss Whedon has a knack for killing off many of his well-loved characters. While Whedonites may continuously curse his sudden but inevitable betrayal, there is also respect for the realism Whedon creates. In a universe that requires a plural for “apocalypse,” it just wouldn’t make sense for everyone to survive.

Here are just a few Whedonverse favorites whose lives were cut short:

5. Anya – The former vengeance demon turned Scooby member (twice) is most loved for her brutal honesty, literal interpretations, and overwhelming fear of bunnies. While her time with the Scooby gang was anything but consistent, she met her end fighting by their sides, and stupidly, protecting Andrew.

4. Cordelia – Cordelia progressed from a character fans loved to hate to one they adored to one they feared. After falling into a coma from giving birth to the demon-goddess Jasmine, Cordelia slipped into a coma. In season five’s “Your Welcome,” Cordelia returns help Angel get back on mission. Only viewers (and Angel) discover at the end of the episode that she never woke up. She was simply taking advantage of a favor owed to her by the Powers That Be.

3. Tara – Socially awkward and reserved, Tara wasn’t sure of her of place with the Scooby Gang, but she soon became a part of their family and fans’ hearts. While her relationship with Willow had its rough patches, they were clearly made for each other. When Warren’s attempt to kill Buffy ended Tara’s life instead, Willow spun into a magical and murderous rage.

2. Fred – Quirky, crazy, and brilliant, Fred quickly earned her place with Angel and gang after her rescue from Pylea. Her strength and independence grew throughout the show until she became so much more than that damsel in distress. Unfortunately, Fred became the sudden and unintended victim when she opened a mysterious coffin, was killed by a deadly infection, and had her body overtaken by the primordial demon Illyria.

1. Wash – This “leaf on the wind” and stellar pilot stole the hearts of Browncoats everywhere. Fans adored his lovable humor, and his relationship with Zoë should be admired. Just after saving the Serenity crew and landing safely, Wash was unexpectedly impaled, leaving Zoë, Captain Mal, and fans shocked and heartbroken.