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Faith
Btvs-faith3.jpg
Eliza Dushku as Faith.
First appearance "Faith, Hope & Trick"
Created by Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt
Statistics
Full name Faith Lehane
Affiliation Scooby Gang
Watchers' Council
Wolfram & Hart
Richard Wilkins
Notable powers

Supernatural strength, stamina, agility, and reflexes
Rapid healing
Prophetic dreams

Portrayed by  Eliza Dushku

Faith is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Played by actress Eliza Dushku, Faith was introduced in the third season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and was a focus of that season's overarching plot. She returned for shorter story arcs on Buffy and its spin-off, Angel. The character's story is continued in the comic book series Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, and she also appears in apocryphal material such as other comic books and novels. Faith was set to receive her own spin-off television series after the final season of Buffy, but Eliza Dushku declined the offer, and the series was never made. Seven years after the character's creation, Whedon granted her the surname Lehane for a role-playing game and subsequent material.

Faith is a Slayer: a girl endowed with supernatural abilities and destined to battle evil creatures such as vampires and demons. Created as a foil to the protagonist, Buffy Summers, she is a Slayer who comes from a damaged background and often makes the wrong decision. Initially an ally to the main characters, events take a toll on Faith's sanity and she slips into a villainous role. Later storylines show her feeling remorse for her past crimes, and with Angel's help she eventually rejoins the side of good in the hopes of achieving redemption.

Contents

Appearances

Television

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer season three, Faith arrives in Sunnydale,[1] having been activated as the Slayer by Kendra's (Bianca Lawson) death in the episode "Becoming, Part One".[2] Coming from a traumatic and abusive background, Faith tries to fit in with Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and her friends, but becomes increasingly isolated and bitter as the season progresses.[3] A major turning point for the character occurs in the mid-season episode "Bad Girls"; while trying to show Buffy the fun side of slaying, Faith accidentally kills Deputy Mayor Allan Finch (Jack Plotnick), a human being whom she mistakes for a vampire.[4] Feeling more alienated than ever, she betrays the Scooby Gang and allies herself with the villainous Mayor of Sunnydale (Harry Groener),[5] eventually forming a sincere father-daughter relationship with him. After Faith tries to murder Buffy's vampire lover Angel (David Boreanaz) under the Mayor's orders, the two Slayers finally battle it out in the season finale, a confrontation which leaves Faith alive but comatose.[6]

Faith returns to Buffy for two episodes in the fourth season. Waking up from her coma, she seeks revenge on Buffy by switching their bodies using a mystical device left to her by the now-deceased Mayor.[7] As Buffy is taken into custody by the Watchers' Council for crimes she did not commit, Faith discovers for the first time what is like to be surrounded by loving friends and family. After feeling obligated to rescue a church full of people from vampires, Faith battles Buffy once again, expressing extreme self-hatred before being returned to her own body.[8] The storyline is continued in the first season of spin-off series Angel, as Faith escapes to Los Angeles and is hired by Wolfram & Hart to assassinate Angel.[9] Instead, she plots an intricate plan to have Angel kill her, but Angel convinces her to face the consequences of her actions, and helps her on the path to redemption. Faith hands herself into the police and she is sentenced to a women's prison, where Angel later visits her.[10]

In Angel season four, Angel is reverted to the evil Angelus after having his soul removed.[11] Faith is approached by her former Watcher, Wesley Wyndam-Pryce (Alexis Denisof), who convinces her to break out of prison and help them.[12] Wanting to help Angel the way he helped her, Faith injects herself with a mystical drug and feeds herself to Angelus in order to incapacitate him.[13] She nearly dies from the drug, but during a psychic mind walk, Angel persuades her subconscious not to give up and that life is worth living.[14]

The character of Faith is expanded upon in media outside of the television series, such as the Buffy Season Eight comic book.

Afterwards, a recovered Faith travels back to Sunnydale, where she plays a significant role in the battle against the First Evil in the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In these episodes, she reconciles with her fellow Slayer,[15] although their relationship is tested when the Potential Slayers appoint Faith as their leader over Buffy.[16] This decision later proves disastrous when Faith's plan leads them into a trap, leaving several girls dead.[17][18] After a one-night-stand together,[17] Faith begins a romantic relationship with school principal Robin Wood (D.B. Woodside) when they both survive the battle in the series finale.[19] Faith was set to receive her own spin-off following the end of Buffy, which, according to Tim Minear, would have featured Faith "probably on a motorcycle, crossing the Earth, trying to find her place in the world." However, Eliza Dushku had other commitments so the series never materialized.[20]

Literature

Faith makes appearances in various Buffy and Angel comic books and novels. In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book story "Haunted", an imprisoned Faith reveals to Angel her memories of being in a coma between Buffy seasons three and four; she shared a psychic link with the Mayor's spirit and could see him attacking people through his eyes.[21] "Note from the Underground" sees Faith being temporarily released from jail into Angel's custody, in order to help Buffy defeat the demonic fascists, the Scourge.[22] Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Faith Trials, Vol. 1 is a novelization of Buffy season three episodes which center around Faith, including "Faith, Hope & Trick", "Bad Girls", and "Consequences". These episodes focus specifically on Faith's arrival in Sunnydale, and her subsequent turn to the dark side following the death of the Deputy Mayor.[23] Faith appeared prominently in her own 2006 novel Go Ask Malice: A Slayer's Diary by Robert Joseph Levy, which elaborates on Faith's back-story in South Boston and how she came to be the Slayer. Written in diary format, it fleshes out many areas of Faith's past which were only alluded to in the show, such as her alcoholic mother's abuse, her previous relationships, and her first Watcher's gruesome death at the hands of the vampire Kakistos.[24] Author Robert Joseph Levy describes writing the book, "I wanted to explore the choices she made and the choices that were taken away from her, and how they affected her mental state and her development from Potential to Chosen before she arrived."[25] Expanded Universe material such as this is not usually considered canonical unless otherwise stated.[26][27]

Faith is featured in the ongoing comic book, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight, which serves as a canonical continuation of the television series. In the storyline "No Future For You", Faith goes undercover on a mission from Giles to assassinate rogue Slayer Genevieve "Gigi" Savidge,[28] who plans to usurp Buffy's position as leader to the Slayers.[29] Instead, Faith forms an unexpected connection with Gigi and finds herself torn between her new friend and her old enemy.[30] When Gigi discovers her true identity, Faith unintentionally kills her in battle, and the arc ends with Faith finding a new purpose alongside Giles, helping slayers so they won't go down the path she and Gigi did.[31] Faith and Giles later reappear over a year later in "Safe", which recounts one of their missions in Germany.[32]

Concept and creation

"I know Faith isn't exactly on the cover of Sanity Fair but she's had it rough. Different circumstances, that could be me."

—Buffy empathizes with Faith in "Doppelgangland", echoing the intended parallels between the two Slayers.

The initial concept for Faith's character was "the road not taken", a Slayer who makes the wrong choices in life.[33] She is intended to be a reflection of Buffy, and what Buffy could have become were it not for her support system of friends and family.[33] The question the writers wanted to answer was, despite being made from the same "raw materials," how would upbringing and environment affect the type of people they would become later in life?[33] Joss Whedon describes her as everything Buffy would never let herself become; although Buffy is tempted by Faith's approach to slaying, she ultimately decides not to make the same choices herself.[33] Some fans argued that the show developed a lesbian subtext between Faith and Buffy; Jane Espenson states that Joss says he didn't intend this, but admitted it was there after he had it pointed out to him, jokingly attributing this to his subconscious.[34]

With Faith, the writers explored the nature of power, and the boundaries and consequences of its use. They wanted to address the issue that, whether the creatures a Slayer kills are good or evil, she is still a professional killer.[33] Co-executive producer Doug Petrie, and writer of Faith-centric episodes such as "Revelations" and "Bad Girls", says one of the things he loves about the character is that Faith is not wrong in describing herself and Buffy as killers. He goes on to discuss a Slayer's rights and responsibilities, and how Faith believes her contributions to society relieve her of any legal or moral responsibilities, a view which Buffy does not share.[33] When writing Faith, Petrie looked to Frank Miller's violent Marvel Comics character Elektra for inspiration, claiming, "In a different, teen, punkier context, Faith is so much like Elektra."[35]

Known only as "Faith" during the television series; she was not given a surname until 2005, seven years after her first appearance. Joss Whedon was approached by Eden Studios to create surnames for Faith and Kendra to use in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer role-playing game, and chose "Lehane" for Faith, because he wanted something "southie".[36]

Characterization

Actress Eliza Dushku describes Faith as the "working class" Slayer, a reason she feels so many people identify with her.[33] She was written as a sympathetic character; with Doug Petrie claiming "I connected with Faith early on. I love that character. She's totally tragic." According to Petrie, "The whole key to Faith is that she's in pain. If you took that away, she would be a monster. But she's so lonely and so desperate, and all of her toughness comes out of trying to cover that. That's what real monsters are made of. No one thinks they're really a monster."[37] Petrie claims Faith's main motivation is to find a family and friends; she sees treacherous Watcher Gwendolyn Post as the mother she never had, the Scooby Gang as the friends she never had, and the Mayor as the father she never had. "So she's always looking for a family and always coming up short and making these horrible choices, and it drove her insane" says Petrie. "Plus I think she was missing a couple of screws to begin with. 'If you don't love me, you will fear me,' is kind of her m.o. She's not a stable girl, but a fun one."[37] Petrie describes the character's name as "wildly ironic", due to her cynical nature. According to Petrie, "She's the most faithless character we've got. She doesn't trust herself or anyone around her. We try to do that a lot with our monsters. It's much more fun if you look at it from their point of view."[37]

Writer Jane Espenson believes one of the reasons why Faith elicits sympathy from the audience is the touching father/daughter relationship between her and the Mayor, comparing their affection for one another to that between vampires Spike and Drusilla in the earlier season. The writers wanted to make both Faith and the Mayor as human as possible by showing they need connection and love as much as the heroic characters. Eliza Dushku claims Faith's bond with the Mayor stems from his being one of the few people in her life who does not put her down, which is something she has battled with her whole life; Dushku goes on to say Faith's misplaced trust in the Mayor "leads her into being more crazy".[33]

In the Angel season one episode "Sanctuary", Faith forms a bond with the vampire-with-a-soul Angel; executive producer David Greenwalt explains Angel can help her because he alone is able to understand the suffering she has been through and how to help her atone for her sins.[38] Faith is then able to return the favor in Angel's fourth season, when she is the only one determined to defeat Angel's soulless alter ego Angelus without killing him in the process. Actor David Boreanaz explains, "I think having a character like Faith come back at a pivotal point when she finds out Angelus is loose is really, for her character, a way of saying: 'I'm paying you back, Angel, for saving me, therefore, I'm gonna save you.'" The writers believed it would be an interesting dynamic to have former "bad girl" Faith play a heroic role against the show's now villainous protagonist, Angel.[39]

"Much as I love Buffy, I'm way happier writing flawed, damaged people who don't always make the right decisions. Faith is such a complex, beautiful character."

Brian K. Vaughan explains what attracted him to the character.[40]

Faith was brought back for the final season of Buffy, because, according to David Solomon, "she had been such a crucial character at a very specific junction in the series that there would be no way to tie it up without her." However, in season seven the dynamic between the two Slayers has changed. As Rebecca Rand Kirshner explains, "[Faith] is no longer such a complete opposite of Buffy. And there's sort of a subtler and more complicated dynamic between them". As Buffy struggles with her unwanted position of mentor to the Potential Slayers, the writers used Faith to create an outside conflict about Buffy's leadership abilities. Although Faith is questioning Buffy and her choices she is making, she is no longer an enemy to her either. In the episode "Empty Places", the Potentials lose trust in Buffy and appoint Faith as their leader instead, a decision that literally blows up in their faces. As Drew Goddard explains, "Faith is like the cool aunt that everyone loves, because the cool aunt doesn't have the responsibility of raising the children. She just gets to show up and have fun. The problem is, Faith is not ready to lead. She's damaged in her own way. She's just beginning to pull herself together. As much as she wants to be Buffy, she has to learn how to become Faith."[41]

When writing Go Ask Malice, author Robert Joseph Levy encountered a number of issues to negotiate in writing a back-story for Faith. One of these was retaining the mystery of the character; Levy explains many aspects of Faith's background, such as her delinquency and promiscuity, are supposed to be assumed by the viewers of the show, and he didn't want to spell everything out by writing a "case study" of her. In order to do something non-traditional, Levy chose to tell the story in a diary format, watching many episodes of the television series to get a hold on the natural cadence of her voice. He reveals he looked to Faith herself in order to overcome his fear of writing such a popular character, "She's not hesitant and in a lot of ways, I took a lot of inspiration from the character itself in terms of creative process — to really go for it and be strong in my choices".[25]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Faith, Hope & Trick". Joss Whedon, David Greenwalt, James A. Contner. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WB. 1998-10-13. No. 3, season 3.
  2. ^ "Becoming, Part One". Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WB. 1998-05-12. No. 21, season 2.
  3. ^ "Revelations". Joss Whedon, Douglas Petrie, James A. Contner. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WB. 1998-11-17. No. 7, season 3.
  4. ^ "Bad Girls". Joss Whedon, Douglas Petrie, Michael Lange. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WB. 1999-02-09. No. 14, season 3.
  5. ^ "Consequences". Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, Michael Gershman (director). Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WB. 1999-02-16. No. 15, season 3.
  6. ^ "Graduation Day, Part One". Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WB. 1999-05-18. No. 21, season 3.
  7. ^ "This Year's Girl". Joss Whedon, Doug Petrie, Michael Gershman (director). Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WB. 2000-02-22. No. 15, season 4.
  8. ^ "Who Are You". Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. WB. 2000-02-29. No. 16, season 4.
  9. ^ "Five by Five". Joss Whedon, Jim Kouf, James A. Contner. Angel. WB. 2000-04-25. No. 18, season 1.
  10. ^ "Sanctuary". Joss Whedon, Tim Minear, Michael Lange. Angel. WB. 2000-05-02. No. 19, season 1.
  11. ^ "Awakening". Joss Whedon, David Fury, Steven S. DeKnight, James A. Contner. Angel. WB. 2003-01-29. No. 10, season 4.
  12. ^ "Salvage". Joss Whedon, David Fury, Jefferson Kibbee. Angel. WB. 2003-03-05. No. 13, season 4.
  13. ^ "Release". Joss Whedon, Sarah Fain, Elizabeth Craft, Steven S. De Knight. Angel. WB. 2003-03-12. No. 14, season 4.
  14. ^ "Orpheus". Joss Whedon, Mere Smith, Terrence O'Hara. Angel. WB. 2003-03-19. No. 15, season 4.
  15. ^ "Dirty Girls". Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, [[Michael Gershman (director)|]]. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. UPN. 2003-04-15. No. 18, season 7.
  16. ^ "Empty Places". Joss Whedon, Drew Z. Greenberg, James A. Contner. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. UPN. 2003-04-29. No. 19, season 7.
  17. ^ a b "Touched". Joss Whedon, Rebecca Rand Kirshner, David Solomon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. UPN. 2003-05-06. No. 20, season 7.
  18. ^ "End of Days". Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Doug Petrie, Marita Grabiak. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. UPN. 2003-05-13. No. 19, season 21.
  19. ^ "Chosen". Joss Whedon. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. UPN. 2003-05-20. No. 22, season 7.
  20. ^ Femme Fatales, May/June 2003. (details archived online here. The information from this interview is also reviewed by the BBC, and by Whedonesquers)
  21. ^ Espenson, Jane; Julio Ferreira and Jeromy Cox (2002). Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Haunted. London: Titan Books Ltd. ISBN 1840235152. 
  22. ^ Lobdell, Scott (2003). Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Note from the Underground. Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Comics. ISBN 1569718881. 
  23. ^ Laurence, James (2001). Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Faith Trials, Vol. 1. New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0743400445. 
  24. ^ Levy, Robert Jospeph (2006). Go Ask Malice: A Slayer's Diary. London: Pocket Books. ISBN 1416526358. 
  25. ^ a b DiLullo, Tara (August 2006). "A Town Called Malice". Buffy the Vampire Slayer Magazine incorporating Angel Magazine (87): 12–13. 
  26. ^ Devin Faraci (2005-09-22). "EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: JOSS WHEDON - PART 2". Chud. http://www.chud.com/index.php?type=interviews&id=4434. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  27. ^ Ileane Rudolph (2001-12-07). "Buffy the Vampire Slayer Is Back: The Complete Joss Whedon Q&A". TV Guide. http://www.tvguide.com/News-Views/Interviews-Features/Article/default.aspx?posting={0C084F89-5673-43B9-9FFC-022578DAA927}. Retrieved 2007-11-28. 
  28. ^ Brian K. Vaughan (w), Georges Jeanty (p), Andy Owen (i). "No Future For You" Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (6) (September, 2007), Dark Horse Comics
  29. ^ Brian K. Vaughan (w), Georges Jeanty (p), Andy Owen (i). "No Future For You" Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (7) (October, 2007), Dark Horse Comics
  30. ^ Brian K. Vaughan (w), Georges Jeanty (p), Andy Owen (i). "No Future For You" Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (8) (November, 2007), Dark Horse Comics
  31. ^ Brian K. Vaughan (w), Georges Jeanty (p), Andy Owen (i). "No Future For You" Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (9) (December, 2007), Dark Horse Comics
  32. ^ Jim Krueger (w), Cliff Richards (p), Andy Owen (i). "Predators and Prey, Part IV (Safe)" Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight (24) (April, 2009), Dark Horse Comics
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h Joss Whedon, Jane Espenson, Marti Noxon, Eliza Dushku. (2001). "Season 3 Overview" (Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Complete Third Season DVD Special Features). [DVD (Region 2)]. United States: 20th Century Fox. 
  34. ^ Jensen, Michael (2009-03-19). "Live Chat with Jane Espenson". AfterElton.com. http://www.afterelton.com/blog/michaeljensen/live-chat-with-jane-espenson. Retrieved 2009-08-15. 
  35. ^ Golden, Christopher; Stephen R. Bissette and Thomas E. Sniegoski (2000). Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Monster Book. New York: Pocket Books. pp. VI. ISBN 0671042599. 
  36. ^ Joss Whedon announced in January 2005 that Faith's surname was "Lehane," and this would be used in all future products, starting with Eden Studios' Buffy the Vampire Slayer role-playing game . The name appears in Eden's books and is considered to be canonical. Whedon explained at the time:
    There was this role playing game or something. They said she hadda have a last name for her so I chose Lehane 'cause I wanted something Southie, just as you thought.Joss Whedon at whedonesque.com
  37. ^ a b c Golden, Christopher; Stephen R. Bissette and Thomas E. Sniegoski (2000). Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Monster Book. New York: Pocket Books. pp. 368–369. ISBN 0671042599. 
  38. ^ David Greenwalt. (2001). "Featurette: Season 1" (Angel The Complete First Season DVD Special Features). [DVD (Region 2)]. United States: 20th Century Fox. 
  39. ^ David Boreanaz, David Fury. (2004). "Prophecies: Season 4 Overview" (Angel The Complete Fourth Season DVD Special Features). [DVD (Region 2)]. United States: 20th Century Fox. 
  40. ^ Matt Brady (2007-08-23). "TALKING FAITH & BUFFY WITH BRIAN K VAUGHAN". Newsarama. http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=126514. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  41. ^ Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard, David Solomon, Rebecca Rand Kirshner. (2004). "Season 7 Overview - Buffy: Full Circle" (Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Complete Seventh Season DVD Special Features). [DVD (Region 2)]. United States: 20th Century Fox. 

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