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Charles Gunn
J. August Richards as Charles Gunn
First appearance "War Zone"
Created by Joss Whedon, Gary Campbell
Full name Charles Gunn
Affiliation Angel's crew, formerly Wolfram & Hart Legal Department, Angel Investigations, and his own vampire-hunting crew, "Team Gunn"
Notable powers
  • Legal upgrade grants him absolute knowledge of both human and demon laws, demon languages, golf training, and Gilbert & Sullivan compositions
  • In Angel: After the Fall, he possessed the common powers and vulnerabilities of a vampire, as well as precognitive visions. He became human again when Wolfram & Hart took back the fall.
Portrayed by  J. August Richards

Charles Gunn is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the cult television series, Angel. The character is portrayed by J. August Richards, and was named by Whedon after filmmaker James Gunn and actor Sean Gunn, both of whom had worked with Whedon. Gunn is introduced as the leader of a street gang whose members protect their neighborhood from vampires.




Character History

Gunn was born in the Badlands, a section of inner-city Los Angeles where the police would not go, and looked after his sister, Alonna, from a very young age. Although he had a few brushes with the law, he acted as a kind of urban Robin Hood to keep the streets in his neighborhood safe. In his teens, Gunn rose through the ranks to become the leader of a gang of street-fighters who protect their turf from vampires using guerrilla tactics. Possessing the mind of a military strategist and the strength of a back-alley brawler, life in the ghetto hardened Gunn to the extent that his life became less important than the cause, resulting in him trading his soul for a truck in a deal with a demon named Jenoff when he was only seventeen, because he believed he had no future (cf. "Double or Nothing").

Angel Investigations

Gunn is introduced in the Season One episode "War Zone", when he observes the vampire Angel roughing up a blackmailer and tries unsuccessfully to dust him. Later on, a gang of vampires, who are at war with Gunn's gang attack their hideout, kidnapping several gang members in the process, including Gunn's sister Alonna. Eventually, Angel wins Gunn's trust, but unfortunately not in time to save Alonna from being turned into a vampire. Gunn has no choice but to stake his own sister, a decision which continues to haunt him through the series. It is this loss that forces Gunn to question his own motives and become more receptive to Angel's help, realizing he cannot do everything alone. Angel recognizes Gunn's strength and often calls on him if he needs back up in battle or if he needs protection for the people he cares about when he cannot protect them himself. Although he initially regards his time with Angel Investigations as a "paying side-gig," Gunn eventually becomes a full-time member of the gang, gaining mutual respect for those he fights side-by-side with while finding his place in the world. However, his work with his new 'family' often leads to conflicted loyalties; in the episode "Belonging", Cordelia is accidentally sucked into a portal to Pylea while a member of Gunn's old street crew, George, succumbs to the bite of a vampire. Gunn feels responsible for his friend's death, believing that it would not have happened if he had still been around to help in the fight. Yet even in his grief, he realizes that he could not commit the same crime twice and allow Cordelia to suffer the same fate, so he joins Angel, Wesley, and Lorne to rescue her.

A short time after their return from Pylea, demons across the city are being massacred - regardless of whether or not they actually did anything to deserve being killed in the first place - and Gunn comes to the conclusion that his old gang is responsible for the deaths, currently being led by a man named Gio who has a serious grudge against supernatural entities due to an unrevealed event in his past (cf. "That Old Gang of Mine"). He realizes that his ties with his old life are gone and that his loyalty now lies with the vampire with a soul. In a showdown with one of his lifelong friends, Gunn finally chooses the mission of the Angel Investigations team. Without realizing it, Gunn finds the future he thought he would never have. He has friends, loyalty, respect, and a mission to pursue. He even finds love in the arms of the new girl Fred Burkle, but his past still comes back to haunt him in the episode "Double or Nothing," when the demon Jenoff decides it is time to cash in on the deal Gunn had made years earlier by claiming Gunn's soul. Luckily, Angel and the others at Angel Investigations are able to aid Gunn and defeat Jenoff, allowing Gunn the luxury of living his life to the fullest.

Fred becomes the most important person in Gunn's world, but Gunn's devotion suffers the ultimate test in the episode "Supersymmetry" when he kills Professor Seidel, the person responsible for deliberately sending Fred to Pylea, in order to save Fred from having to carry the burden of doing it herself. The guilt of what he had done for her plagues Fred and instead of bringing them closer together, it begins the rut that leads to the end of their relationship. Although no longer romantically linked, Gunn and Fred continue to fight side-by-side, and Gunn has a fling with the electric Gwen Raiden in the episode "Players." When Wolfram & Hart want to cut a deal to have Angel take over the L.A. branch, Gunn is led into the mysterious White Room where he is exposed to the mysterious conduit to the Senior Partners, who impresses Gunn with his immense power. Soon, he undergoes a remarkable transformation at Wolfram & Hart.

Wolfram & Hart

Feeling undervalued by his friends, Gunn submits to a procedure at the hands of Wolfram & Hart's Medical Department that enhances his mind with a comprehensive understanding of the law (and Gilbert & Sullivan, to help improve his voice and diction), making him the only member of Angel's team who can work inside the system seamlessly (cf. "Conviction"). When his mental abilities begin to diminish, Gunn, fearful of losing his new talents and respect, makes a pact with Dr. Sparrow and gets a permanent upgrade in exchange for signing to release an ancient curio stuck in customs. When this curio results in the death of Fred and the resurrection of Illyria (cf. "A Hole in the World"), a guilt-ridden Gunn willingly offers himself to take Lindsey McDonald's place in a hell dimension in order to get information on how to stop the Senior Partners (cf. "Underneath"). While the team have no clue how to free him, Illyria saves Gunn with ease. He then returns to the fold, changed and seeking redemption for his sins. In the show's finale "Not Fade Away", he spends his potential-last day alive helping Anne Steele out at her youth help center, and then slays Senator Helen Brucker, one of the members of the Circle of the Black Thorn, but is seriously injured in the process. While preparing for one last fight against the army of the Senior Partners, Illyria states that he has only minutes to live with Gunn quoting, "Then let's make them memorable." Joss Whedon later discussed the final battle in SFX Magazine: "Gunn is dead. Illyria keeps fighting. Angel loses an arm. Spike gets Shanshu. And Xander loses another eye, which is funny, because he isn't even there."

After the Fall

In issue one of the Angel: After the Fall comic series (which is the canonical continuation of the Angel series), Gunn and a group he has assumed leadership of storm a stadium and kill Kr'ph, one of the demon lords of L.A., who has taken up residence there. The group frees humans, who were forced to fight each other by the demon. Gunn then makes a suggestive comment to the demon's female captives. At the end of the issue, Gunn is revealed to be a vampire, having been turned either during or after Team Angel's battle with the Senior Partners' army at the end of "Not Fade Away", who feeds on the women and turns the "rescued" men into vampires as part of "Team Gunn".

However, in the second issue, Gunn insists that he is still a good guy. He resents being a vampire, though he is prone to murderous impulses due to his lack of a soul. He reveals that he blames Angel for his condition, believing he had allowed him to be turned, and that he intends to save L.A. to prove that one doesn't need a soul to be a champion. As part of his plans, he kidnaps the psychic fish Betta George and imprisons him, forcing George to tap into his psychic ability to freeze Slayers in their tracks and contact people outside of Hell/Los Angeles.

In a later issue, he is seen making mystical plans; the intent is to have Angel come to the conclusion he sent Gunn to die, then Angel himself will die moments later. As part of his revenge against Angel, Gunn destroys the Wolfram & Hart building, Angel's headquarters in the war with the Demon Lords, which also forces Wesley back to the Senior Partners for a short time. Gunn later bears witness to Angel's defeat of the Lords, hanging back to ensure that not all of the people are slaughtered should Angel fail. Shortly after the team moves back into the Hyperion Hotel, Gunn confronts them and reveals his vampire nature.

Upon seeing what has become of Gunn, Angel tells him he is sorry. Gunn says he figured he would say that, and tells him to table that for now. Gunn takes Angel around his base of operations, explains what happened to him. When Angel sees that Gunn thinks he is doing the right thing, Angel cautions him that the beast is the one in control, not him. Gunn attacks him, angered that Angel thinks that Gunn isn't himself. Gunn proceeds to remove all of the magic that had kept Angel alive, and realizes that Angel was actually now a human. Gunn decides to let Angel lie there and die slowly, only to be confronted by Wesley's "ghost", who reveals to him that the visions he has been receiving are from the Senior Partners rather than the Powers That Be. Ignoring this revelation, Gunn continues to attack his former friends, his team of Slayers apparently staking Spike- although Spike is later seen alive thanks to Illyria's timeslips- before he is kicked out of a window by Connor while trying to kill Angel again. Confronting Illyria, he tricks her into transforming into Fred so that he can shoot her, reverting her to her true form in the hope that he can convince her to use her powers to rewind time so that the Fall never occurs, only for Illyria to vow to unmake time itself. Realizing that the Senior Partners cannot allow him to die, Angel provokes Gunn into killing him, thus forcing the Senior Partners to reverse time to the original battle in the alleyway, giving Angel the opportunity to save Gunn before he is sired, the group subsequently taking Gunn to the hospital, where (as revealed in the next issue) he falls into a coma. In *Aftermath #18 Gunn is shown driving a sports car. Gunn seems to be recovering from his wound well, but was stated not to be ready to rejoin the team yet. In *Angel: After the Fall #23 Gunn is spotlighted. It is explained how he was cured so quicly from the attacks at the end of the series and he and Illyria come to a mutual agreement and strike a friendship of sorts. In the end Illyria and Gunn take off to find adventure, slay demons, and find a new direction in their lives.

Powers and abilities

In the television series, Gunn is a normal human with no supernatural abilities, but he has strength and martial arts expertise due to his years as a vampire hunter, often being described as "the muscle" of Angel Investigations. However, episodes like "Darla" and "Reunion" have proven that Gunn is also a talented and intelligent investigator. Due to Wolfram & Hart's legal upgrade in Season Five, Gunn also has knowledge of all legal codes, both human and demon, as well as fluency in some demonic languages, knowledge of golf techniques and knows all Gilbert & Sullivan light operas.

Gunn is a fan of pop culture and often displays a detailed knowledge regarding comic books:

  • In the episode "Supersymmetry", Gunn threatens a college student in a school book store by referencing the specific issue of Daredevil (#181) in which Bullseye kills Elektra, even quoting from the cover blurb which reads "...One wins, one dies."
  • When commenting on how fast Illyria appears to move when using her time-warping abilities, Gunn compares her to three different incarnations of the Flash: Jay Garrick, Wally West, and Barry Allen. The reference elicits little response from his confused friends, so he merely says that it was "like she was movin' really fast".

In the canonical Angel: After the Fall comic series, set after Angel's fifth season, Gunn is revealed to have become a vampire. As such he has the standard powers and vulnerabilities of a vampire: superhuman strength, speed, reflexes, and durability, along with virtual immortality and accelerated healing. He is vulnerable to holy items and sunlight, and must regularly feed on mammal blood to maintain his vitality. Gunn cannot enter the home of a living human without being invited by someone who lives there first. However, since in Angel: After the Fall L.A. is currently located in Hell, it is unknown what effect is had on Vampire abilities or vulnerabilities. In a conversation with his sire, it is suggested that his W&H upgrade partially affects the control the inner demon has over Gunn's actions; he considers himself "good". He also tells Angel that he has added to his powers by devouring a prophetic demon and since acquiring its power to receive visions, which he believes come from the Powers but in fact come from the Senior Partners. With time having been reversed so that Gunn was never turned into a vampire, it remains to be seen whether he retains the visions.


Following his mental upgrade, Gunn sheds his street look for the sleek, professional suits of a legal powerhouse. He also lets his hair grow slightly, having had it shaved in all previous seasons, which comes as a surprise to Cordelia in the episode "You're Welcome". In the final episodes, Gunn comes full circle, returning to his roots, taking back his street clothes, and reawakening his purpose as a soldier in the fight against evil.


Romantic interests and sexual liaisons

  • Veronica — Gunn had a romance with this girl prior to becoming a full-time member of Angel Investigations. She appears briefly in the Season Two episode "First Impressions", in which her non-fatal injury at the hands of a vampire brings back painful memories and feeling of guilt about Alonna.
  • Winifred "Fred" Burkle — Gunn and Fred fall in love and continued a strong relationship throughout much of Seasons Three and Four. However, an incident in which he murdered a human being in order to protect Fred's innocence led to the end of their close relationship. Nevertheless, he retains strong feelings of friendship for her and is devastated by her death, for which he is partially responsible. Unlike the other characters, who usually referred to Gunn by his surname, Fred always called him Charles and continued to do so following their break-up.
  • Gwen Raiden — After flirting with Gunn in her first 2 episode appearances. Gunn and Gwen have sex in the episode "Players" in which Gwen gains the ability to touch people without harming them with the assistance of Gunn.


  • Wesley Wyndam-Pryce — During Angel's temporary absence from the group in Season Two, Gunn and Wesley develop a brothers-in-arms bond. This friendship continues to develop, but it is severely affected by Gunn and Fred entering into a relationship (cf. " Waiting in the Wings"). Wesley is hurt because he too is in love with Fred and is jealous of their relationship. The friendship between Gunn and Wesley deteriorates further after Wesley is fired from the agency after a misguided attempt to kidnap Angel's son Connor. However, in Season Four, Wesley is gradually reintroduced to the AI team and the pair are friends again by Season Five. The Beast's attack on Los Angeles requires Wes and AI to join forces, and in their first confrontation with the creature, Wes saves Gunn's life. Unfortunately, this friendship is again put under stress when the creation of Illyria (which Gunn is indirectly responsible for) causes Fred's death. This results in Wesley stabbing Gunn with a scalpel. The pair eventually do reconcile.
  • Cordelia Chase - During Season 2 When Gunn first joins Cordelia Chase becomes Gunn's supporter as he as being accepted by "Team Angel". Cordelia pushes for Gunn to start getting paid as well as making sure the team begins to see him as an equal. Gunn began quicky to respect her and not just think of her as a "Barbie doll" as he did in the beginning. Over the years a solid friendship was formed.
  • Rondell - Rondell was Gunn's second in command from "his old crew". Rondell helped form the old crew with Gunn. He was more like a brother to Gunn and took command once Gunn left.
  • Alonna-Alonna was Gunn's younger sister who was kidnapped by vampires and ultimately turned. Gunn was forced to stake her when she tried to turn him. It is shown later, in the episode "That Old Gang of Mine" that Gunn continued to have nightmares about losing her for some time.


Canonical appearances

Gunn has appeared in 95 canonical Buffyverse appearances.

Gunn was a series regular from seasons 2 - 5. He appeared in 91 episodes in total, including guest appearances in the episodes:
Angel: After the Fall
Gunn has appeared in all but one of the issues thus far:
  • After the Fall #1
  • After the Fall #2
  • After the Fall #4
  • After the Fall #5
  • After the Fall #8
  • After the Fall #9
  • After the Fall #10
  • After the Fall #11
  • After the Fall #12
  • After the Fall #13
  • After the Fall #14
  • After the Fall #15
  • After the Fall #16
  • After the Fall #17
  • Aftermath #18
  • After the Fall #23-Epilogue

Non-canonical appearances

Gunn has also appeared in Angel expanded universe material such as comics and novels, most notable his own one-shot comic Gunn: Spotlight in 2006.



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