Sarah Michelle Gellar: Allstar/Globe Photos
EW Staff
February 26, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

It’s official: The end is near for UPN’s cult hit ”Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” After seven years, Sarah Michelle Gellar is leaving the series, which will conclude this season with a five-part story featuring the return of Faith, some surprise deaths, and an appearance by a certain Angel. ”We’re gearing up to tell a fabulous, huge, great arc,” Gellar tells EW. ”It’s going to be pretty spectacular.”

But why leave now? ”You always worry about being the show that’s been on too long — especially when you’re a cult hit,” explains Gellar. ”Last year, a lot of people were ready to tear us down. [So when] we started to have such a strong year this year, I thought: ‘This is how I want to go out — on top, at our best.”’

To read Gellar’s complete interview — and get the latest news about a possible ”Buffy” spin-off — pick up the upcoming issue of Entertainment Weekly, available on newsstands Friday, Feb. 28.

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