Joss Whedon has said that the idea for Buffy came from all the horror movies he had seen featuring a helpless young blonde who would almost always be the first to die. He felt she needed a better image.
The scene where Buffy confronts Giles about her fate was shot twice because the first one was rejected by Joss Whedon, arguing Buffy was too emotional. Whedon wasn't on set the day director Charles Martin Smith shoot the moment, although Sarah Michelle Gellar told Smith she thought Whedon would prefer less emotion. When Whedon saw the scene, didn't like it and waited until he directed the series finale to re-shoot it.
Joss Whedon had originally planned for viewers to never see Buffy's parents. However, he realized this could get complicated and therefore wrote in Buffy's mother Joyce, who would become an important character for the rest of the series.
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy) originally auditioned for the part of Cordelia Chase and Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia), auditioned for the part of Buffy. Julie Benz also tried for the part of Buffy but eventually landed the role of Darla. Mercedes McNab (Harmony, one of Cordelia's group), auditioned for the part of Buffy as well.
On the original airing of this episode, the WB provided a teaser briefing the history of past Slayers. It revealed horrific events in towns that were halted when a particular woman arrived. This teaser, however, does not appear in syndication or on DVD.
The following exchange was cut for time: Mr. Flutie: - "Oh! Buffy! Uh, what do you want?" Buffy: - "Um, is there a guy in there that's dead?" Mr. Flutie: - "Where did you hear that? Okay. Yes. But he's not a student! Not currently." Buffy: - "Do you know how he died?" Mr. Flutie: - "What?" Buffy: - "I mean - how could this have happened?" Mr. Flutie: - "Well, that's for the police to determine when they get here. But this structure is safe, we have inspectors, and I think there's no grounds for a lawsuit." Buffy: - "Was there a lot of blood? Was there any blood?" Mr. Flutie: - "I would think you wouldn't want to involve yourself in this kind of thing." Buffy: - "I don't. Could I just take a peek?" Mr. Flutie: - "Unless you already are involved..." Buffy: - "Never mind." Mr. Flutie: - "Buffy, I understand this is confusing. You're probably feeling a lot right now. You should share those feelings. With someone else.
When Buffy is in her room deciding what to wear to the Bronze, the Sprung Monkey's "Saturated" is played in the background. Incidentally, Sprung Monkey appears on stage at the Bronze. They first perform "Believe," followed by "Swirl" and "Things Are Changing." The original score is written by Walter Murphy.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Joss Whedon has said that originally he wanted to include Eric Balfour (Jesse) in the opening credits for this episode, to trick viewers into thinking that he is a regular character, only to shock them by having him killed. This idea was eventually deemed too time-consuming (having to develop alternative opening credits for use with just this one episode) and was dropped.
Angel speaks to Buffy as though he had never met her, but in the two-part episode, "Becoming" reveals that he has fallen in love with Buffy from afar when her first Watcher reveals her destiny as a vampire slayer. Later, in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Helpless (1999), Angel confessed that he has been in love with her before they are acquainted in this episode and followed her from Los Angeles since.