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Principal Snyder
Principal Snyder.jpg
Armin Shimerman as Principal Snyder
First appearance "The Puppet Show"
Created by Joss Whedon, Rob Des Hotel, Dean Batali
Full name R. Snyder (first name unknown)
Affiliation Pawn of Mayor Wilkins, Sunnydale High Administration
Notable powers


Portrayed by  Armin Shimerman

Principal Snyder is a fictional character in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, played by Armin Shimerman.



After Robert Flutie is eaten alive by "the Pack" (with the exception of Xander), Snyder replaces him as the principal of Sunnydale High. A strict disciplinarian with a dictator-like personality, he has no friends among the Scooby Gang or any other student for that matter, except the swim team. Snyder takes an immediate and profound dislike to Buffy, and seeks out any excuse to expel her. He coerces students into serving as chaperones for young children on Halloween, bullies Willow into tutoring Percy, gives a passing grade to a swim team member who is failing computer class, and forces everyone to sell candy for the marching band.

Snyder, along with Police Chief Bob Munroe, turns out to be one of the many people Mayor Richard Wilkins had put in place to cover up supernatural activities in Sunnydale ("School Hard", "I Only Have Eyes For You"), and he was hostile towards Buffy because Wilkins had ordered him to do so – a troubling sign for the Californian town. According to the latter episode, Snyder was specifically chosen as principal because the authorities believed he was uniquely suited for the job's equally unique pressures, but precisely what in Snyder's past might have so qualified him was never discussed. In fact, the only insight into Snyder's past was his Band Candy-induced regression to adolescence, where he is a socially inept geek with delusions that others can tolerate his presence, and has no obvious understanding of the supernatural.

Snyder finally expels Buffy when she is found beside Kendra's body in the season two finale. He refuses to allow her to return even after Buffy is cleared of all charges, because of Buffy's poor grades, spotty attendance record, and "tingling pleasure" that he is finally rid of her. However, the school board, and some physical and professional threats from Giles, force him to change his mind.

Since the school board later involves Snyder in Mayor Wilkins' sacrifice to the demon Lurconis, its members are also clearly aware of at least some of the goings-on in Sunnydale.

His stern belief in imposing order and discipline proves to be his undoing, as Snyder is swallowed whole in the season three finale, "Graduation Day". Before being eaten, he had loudly scolded Mayor Wilkins for turning into the gigantic, snakelike demon Olvikan following his keynote speech at the 1999 high school graduation.

Snyder makes one more appearance in the role of Colonel Kurtz in Xander's Apocalypse Now-themed dream in the season four finale "Restless".

Writing and acting

  • Principal Snyder is named in honor of George Snyder, Joss Whedon's personal assistant at the time.
  • Shimerman originally auditioned for the role of Flutie, but lost that role to Ken Lerner.[1]
  • On several occasions in the series, you can clearly see on the name-tag on his desk that the first letter of his first name is 'R', although his full name is never revealed in the series.
  • Snyder is the longest running Principal of the School on the show.



Canonical appearances

Principal Snyder has appeared in 19 canonical Buffyverse episodes:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer 
Snyder has appeared in 19 Buffy episodes as a guest

Notes and references

  1. ^ Sprinder, Matt & Stokes, Mike, "Head of the Class", from Buffy the Vampire Slayer magazine #12 (UK, September 2000), page 18.


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