Joss Whedon Considers The X-Men's Kitty Pryde The 'Mother' Of Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Even after all the years since "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" premiered in 1997 — even with the recent controversy surrounding creator Joss Whedon — even as dated as some of the content and jokes are, the show endures as the forebearer to so many TV and film heroines. Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell), Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano), and Bo (Anna Silk) from "Lost Girl" all owe quite a bit to Buffy Summers. 

Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) herself was influenced by a comic book character — Kitty Pryde of X-Men fame. Whedon called her "a huge proto-Buffy" in a 2005 interview with Time and "the mother of Buffy" in a Wired article from 2012. If any other Buffy fans want to take a moment to pour one out for Joyce Summers (Kristine Sutherland) — Buffy's actual mother — who died unceremoniously in the powerful episode "The Body," please do. I still have to skip that one during my rewatches of the series. 

Now that we've gotten our collective mourning out of the way, let's take a dive into who Kitty Pryde is and some of the things Whedon has said about her influence on Buffy. 

Young women with supernatural powers

If you clicked on this story, you probably already know who Buffy the Vampire Slayer is. Just in case, though, Buffy first appeared in the Whedon-penned 1992 film "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (played by Kristy Swanson) and later in seven seasons of the 1997 TV show of the same name, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar.

As for who Buffy is, once (usually) in every generation, a young woman is born with supernatural strength, speed, and talents that will help them fight the supernatural evils of the world, especially vampires. Their purpose is clear, and their focus must be fighting. That is until Buffy Summers comes along. She's got other priorities in her life, like friends, trying to make the cheerleading squad, romance (sometimes with vampires), and normal things that any teenager deals with. Despite all of that, no one is more committed to fighting to save the world than Buffy. 

Kitty Pryde, who first appeared in comics in 1980, is a mutant and the youngest one to join the superhero team, the X-Men. She has the ability to phase, which makes her intangible, allows her to pass through objects like walls, disrupts electrical fields, and can (sort of) levitate. While taking her fight against evil seriously, she's also still a young woman, handling all the things that go along with that, just like Buffy is. She's been played by several actors, including Sumela Kay in "X-Men," Katie Stuart in "X2," and Elliot Page in "X-Men: The Last Stand" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Normal is overrated

As Joss Whedon told Wired in the aforementioned article, "Kitty was the mother of Buffy, as much as anybody. If there's a bigger influence on Buffy than Kitty, I don't know what it was." Whedon is pretty familiar with Kitty Pryde, as a writer of comics in which she appears, including "Astonishing X-Men." What is the connection in Whedon's mind? In a 2004 NY Magazine story about his comic run, he said, "She was an adolescent girl finding out she has great power and dealing with it." 

Like Buffy, whose powers manifested when she became a teen, Kitty's power appeared at 13 years old with headaches. Kitty had a mentor in Ororo Munroe, aka Storm, whereas Buffy had Giles (Anthony Head), her watcher, an older figure who guided her training. The two of them practice continual self-examination, trying to keep their powers and their personal life straight and healthy. Both of them have tried to leave the fight for regular lives, both going to college and attempting normal relationships that usually don't work out. 

There isn't a one-to-one comparison here, but you can see that they share writerly DNA. They're both young women trying to figure out who they are in terms of their powers and who they'd be without them. They're trying to navigate being different than their peers, having secret identities, and fitting in as the supernatural world becomes more and more of their lives.