When has a casual comment set off a firestorm of chatter and activity across the Internet? Well, now would be one! A recent EW article made the announcement that the Science Channel had acquired the rights to Joss Whedon’s Firefly and would be airing the series in its entirety with the special treat of physicist Dr. Michio Kaku wrapping up each episode by discussing the “theoretical science behind the shows sci-fi concepts.” James Hibberd interviewed series star Nathan Fillion about the development then asked a fateful question that would set off an Internet bonfire: if Castle were canceled AND FOX admitted they screwed up by canceling Firefly, would he do Firefly again?
Fillion replied, “Yes. Yes. I would examine very closely Fox’s reasoning — I’m a little gun-shy. If I got $300 million from the California Lottery, the first thing I would do is buy the rights to Firefly, make it on my own, and distribute it on the Internet.”
Watch what you say, Mr. Fillion. While Fillion was being sincere as well as casual in his reply, within hours of the article’s posting , fans rallied across the Internet with the intention of raising money for Fillion to buy the rights to Firefly.
While I love fandom and have happily been a part of a couple enthusiastic and energetic fandoms in my time, I also recognize the blinders we quite willingly wear when talking about our favorite series. When The WB canceled Angel— after coming off a creatively superior season, one that had shown an increase in ratings even after five years— I fought long and hard to bring that show back to the small screen in some capacity, or to the big screen in a movie— before I realized this was never going to happen. That ship had sailed. David Boreanaz was now starring in a successful series for FOX (Bones), and the other members of the ensemble had moved on to other projects.
FOX showed extreme short-sightedness in canceling Firefly, but that ship too has sailed. The last episode aired nearly ten years ago on December 20, 2002 (with three episodes getting a July 2003 burn off). Joss was devoted enough to the franchise to get a movie deal, which resulted in Serenity in 2005; a movie that made only an adequate showing at the box office. Members of the cast are involved in other projects, with Fillion starring in the successful ABC series, Castle, Morena Baccarin in ABC’s V, Alan Tudyk is busy on television and in movies, Adam Baldwin currently starring in NBC’s Chuck, and Summer Glau in The Cape, also for NBC. Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Gina Torres and Ron Glass have also been in other series and shows. Firefly 2.0 wasn’t ever in the cards.
Adding more fuel to the fire were Jose Molina, who wrote two episodes of Firefly and was a former Castle producer, who tweeted Friday, “For what it’s worth, I’ve told him (Fillion) I’d drop what I was doing and follow.” Jane Espenson, Firefly writer and currently working on the fourth season of Torchwood, also threw in her two cents: “I’m there, if needed.” With the bonfire rapidly taking over the US, fans quickly launched Help Nathan Fillion Buy Firefly and a Facebook page asking for donations to buy the rights to Firefly.
Early on Friday, Fillion tried to quiet the firestorm that seemed to be raging out of control by tweeting, “It’s beautiful to dream of more Firefly, but PLEASE DON’T SEND ANY MONEY. Just keep being great Browncoats, which you are!”
Firefly was a genre-bending series too far ahead of its time, which aired on a network that didn’t have the vision to promote and market it correctly. As fans of Joss Whedon, we would love to revisit Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, or Dollhouse, to have more exciting tales of adventure and heartache. But what we have now are the friends we made in these fandoms, the dreams of a television world where these shows could thrive and live on forever, and the hope that Whedon will again grace our small screens with another series as witty, creative and dynamic as the ones we’ve come to love.