How Netflix's First Kill Creator Used Her Love Of Buffy And Supernatural To Improve LGBTQ+ Romance In Genre Shows

Imani Lewis and Sarah Catherine Hook in First Kill
(Image credit: Netflix)

The new vampire series First Kill has bitten Netflix audiences smitten all the way to the top of the streaming service’s trending TV. As we continue to binge the teen vampire show, many have probably stopped to think how rare it is to see a lesbian romance at the center of such a popular genre series. And as it turns out, that is the very reason First Kill’s creator wanted to craft Juliette and Calliope’s storyline. 

V.E. Schwab, who is a novelist also known for bestselling books like The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, the Shades of Magic, and Villains book series, published the short story First Kill ahead of Netflix picking up the Emma Roberts-produced series a month later. Schwab said this of her inspiration to write the vampire story: 

I grew up with my two pillars: Buffy and Supernatural. Those are my families; those are my loves. But the fact is I didn’t see myself in them. I often joke—it’s not really a joke though—that if I had a show like First Kill when I was 16, it probably wouldn’t have taken me till 27 to realize I was gay. I think that’s the beauty of mirrors. As a novelist, I am very aware how often we see queer narratives but [they’re] about queerness. You can have a queer love story, but it better be about coming out. Straight characters don’t get reduced to their identity in a narrative, and it seems like the only time certain people get to take up space is [with] their identity. So it was both the love of these things I grew up with, like Buffy and Supernatural, and also the absences I saw in them that I wanted to write to.

While speaking to the A.V. Club, the fantasy writer shared her influences as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which aired from 1997 and 2003) and Supernatural (2005 to 2020), both of which have massive LGBTQ+ followings. Buffy in particular had a memorable romance with Alyson Hannigan’s Willow having a rare bisexual storyline, though it unfortunately ended in heartbreak for many fans. 

As Schwab shared, queer storylines have often been about coming out stories or attach their sexuality as their only identity in the storyline. For First Kill, she wanted to write a story that she wishes she could have seen as a teen and would have perhaps allowed her to accept her own identity earlier in her life. 

Along with Buffy becoming iconic to LGBTQ+ audiences, Twilight is another vampire property with a massive queer following but never included an actual romance for the community. Many viewers could only imagine a world where Ashley Greene’s Alice Cullen was gay and swept Kristen Stewart’s Bella away from the toxicity of Team Edward and Team Jacob. 

First Kill follows teen vampire Juliette (Sarah Catherine Hook), who must make her first kill to take her place amongst her family of legacy vampires. She starts crushing on a new girl in school named Calliope (Imani Lewis), who is secretly a vampire hunter, though they cannot deny their romantic connection. You can learn about where you’ve seen First Kill’s cast here on CinemaBlend and binge the new series with a Netflix subscription

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.