Joss Whedon is known for killing off major characters (besides villains), often unexpectedly. The final installment of his series always kills two main/major characters, the second of which is a fan-favorite character. Interestingly enough he has a tendency to spare the single ultimate/final antagonist of a series (except in Dollhouse), though other villains, including Big Bads of a season (such as The Master in Buffy the Vampire Slayer), can be killed off as well. There is a meme that goes "Guns don't kill people - Joss Whedon kills people."
His four main TV series are Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel (which is set in the Buffyverse), Firefly, and Dollhouse. He also directs the Avengers titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, except for Infinity War Parts I and II.
This list will mostly exclude villains, with a few notable exceptions.
Buffy the Vampire SlayerEdit
- Principal Flutie - Eaten by Kyle, Tor, Rhonda, and Heidi, possessed by spriits of hyenas
- Buffy Summers - Bitten and drowned by The Master. Revived.
- Jenny Calendar - Neck snapped by Angelus
- Larry - Killed by Mayor Wilkins with a tail whip
- Principal Snyder - Eaten by Mayor Wilkins (though he is something of a villain)
- Harmony Kendall - Bitten and sired by a vampire. (her vampire self lives on)
- Forrest - Impaled by Adam with a spike on his arm
- Buffy Summers - Sacrificed herself to keep the world from being sucked into hell. Revived.
- Joyce Summers - Died of a brain aneurysm
- Tara - Shot by Warren
- Halfrek - Incinerated by D'Hoffryn (though she could be considered a villain)
- Jonathan Levinson - Stabbed by Andrew, who was manipulated by The First (though he was a villain in Season 6)
- Doyle - Sacrificed himself to save the Lister demons, and was destroyed by the Beacon
- Darla - Bitten and sired by Drusilla (her second vampire self later stakes herself)
- Merl - Violently killed by Gio's crew
- Cordelia Chase - Put in a mystical coma by Jasmine possessing her and giving birth to herself, died without waking up from it
- Winifred Burkle - Possessed by Illyria
- Charles Gunn - Mortally wounded by one of Brucker's vampires. (note: This is in the final episode but his death is after since he still lives by the episode's end)
- November - Shot herself in the head
- Boyd Langton - Blew himself up with a set of explosives to destroy Rossum (though shortly before he is revealed to be the main villain)
- Laurence Dominic - Presumed killed by butchers
- Ivy - Presumed killed by butchers
- Phil Coulson - Stabbed by Loki. Revived
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - ChosenEdit
- Anya Jenkins - Slashed by a Bringer, nearly cutting her in two
- Spike - Incinerated when he used a mystical amulet in a ray of sunlight to destroy The First's army. (though he returns as a sort of ghost and is later revived/recorporealized by Lindsey McDonald)
Angel - Not Fade AwayEdit
- Lindsey McDonald - Shot by Lorne
- Wesley Wyndam-Pryce - Stabbed by Cyvus Vail
Firefly - SerenityEdit
- Shepherd Book - Shot by an Alliance gunship
- Wash - Killed by a tree trunk launched by a Reaver ship
Dollhouse - Epitaph Two: ReturnEdit
- Paul Ballard - Shot in the head by a Butcher
- Topher Brink - Blew himself up to turn the Butchers back into regular people