Firefly Reunion @ Comic-Con: Shiny-Happy Memories, Much Serenity and So Many Tears

The tears were flowing at Firefly‘s 10th anniversary panel at Comic-Con, and they weren’t just coming from devoted fans. The cast and producers of the cult classic got quite emotional on stage while discussing their time on the series and what it meant to them. Read on for highlights from the event.

WHERE IT ALL BEGAN | Although Avengers director Joss Whedon is now a movie superstar, he still recalled his time on the late series as one of the best times in his career. “We always knew from the very beginning that we were making something for the right reasons, in the right way,” he said, adding that his stars were “the best cast I’ll ever work with.” Leading man Nathan Fillion (now TV’s Castle), meanwhile, gave credit to the show for giving him a chance. “Firefly was a lot of firsts for me,” he shared. “’He’s good, but we don’t know if he can carry a show’ — that’s what I got a lot. Joss Whedon gave me the best character I’ve ever played.”

SPACE FAMILY | What was the key to the great chemistry between the cast, who clearly still enjoy each other’s company? “Right at the beginning, when we first started shooting the series, Nathan came up to all the actors and said, ‘We’re learning all the names [of the cast and crew],’” described Alan Tudyk. “It became a game [that] brought everybody together as a family.” Fillion also got props from Whedon. “There was never a moment from the time we met where I did not think he was the Captain,” said the creator. “He is there to make sure everybody is there having the best time, doing their best work.” One unnamed guest star who wasn’t very nice to the female stars on the show even “got a taste of what Nathan’s like when somebody threatens his loved ones. … He gets very Canadian.”

RELATED | Firefly 10th Anniversary Special to Air on Science Channel

TEARS FOREVER | When asked to talk about what the fans have meant to him, Whedon was clearly verklempt and took in a deep breath. After the crowd started cheering, “We love you,” the geek hero, Fillion and Summer Glau also started dabbing at their eyes. “When you’re telling a story, you’re trying to connect to people in a particular way,” Whedon finally spoke. “The way in which you guys have inhabited this world, this universe, have made you part of it. You’re part of the story. You’re living in Firefly. When I see you guys, I don’t think there’s a show. I think that’s what the world is like. There’s spaceships. The story is alive.”

MORE SPACE SAGAS | When an audience member asked if they’d ever consider doing an animated continuation, Whedon joked, “I get it, but for some reason, I would be more interested in doing it as a a radio show.” However, more comics from Dark Horse, which counts the Firefly titles as its best sellers ever, are on the way. “Zack [Whedon] and I just spent some time [talking about] how to do some comics [telling stories] in the future and not just in the past,” revealed Whedon.

RELATED | Alphas Welcomes Back Summer Glau

SERENITY NOW | Whedon described Firefly‘s big-screen foray as “one of the finest nervous breakdowns a man can have. I was inconsolable. It changed me. It changed the way I work and the way I operate.”

WHAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN… | What would Whedon have changed about the Firefly finale if he knew it was going to be the only season? “I don’t think I would have killed anybody,” he replied. “[It would have been] a different animal and it has different needs. We would have delved into the Blue Sun conspiracy… And we would have learned about Book and Inara.”

HAT TRICK | Jayne’s famous hat came from “one of the women who worked in the office,” shared Adam Baldwin, who asked executive producer Tim Minear if he could wear it through the whole episode. The EP wasn’t too keen on the idea, but Baldwin said, “I’m doing it. Joss isn’t here.’ … This is a goldmine. This is like a birthday cake in a wasteland.”

KEEPSAKE TO REMEMBER | Whedon has a painting in his house that Alan Tudyk (now on Suburgatory) commissioned from his artist sister. It depicts the creator protecting a firefly in a glass jar.

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  1. murley says:

    i am thrilled that adam baldwin recognized the comedic potential of that hat. i am also so excited to hear news of more serenity comics. i was hoping that between a short serentity story for free comic book day and the reunion panel this news was coming but i didn’t want to get my hopes up. i know joss has a lot on his plate but a monthly series, as opposed to more limited series and one-shots, would be a dream come true!!

  2. nickp91 says:

    Good day for joss whedon

  3. Mikaylah says:

    Joss Whedon is one of those people that no matter what he does, he’ll always have a fan in me. I’m so glad they were able to do a panel together, even though everyone couldn’t be there.

  4. diana says:

    I wanna know who the the jerk guest star was.

  5. Lilu says:

    I need to watch this panel !!!! now i will be searching the web the whole night for a video !!!! this was truly a great present for fans and cast !!!!

    • murley says:

      i am pretty they are airing the panel on the science channel as part of the 10th anniversary marathon. the only downside is you have to wait until november 11th!

  6. Symce says:

    I love joss whedon, the man’s a really storyteller and host as a whole. He stays pretty down to earth too, it’s great. Ofc how can anyone not love any of the firefly cast either, especially Summer and Nathan, great stuff all around.

  7. Mena says:

    Oh, my goodness, I started crying just reading this article! I adore Joss Whedon and the whole cast of this amazing show!

  8. Lisa says:

    I was just looking at the compilation comic at Barnes and Noble today. I have Better Days and it is so true to the characters voices.

    I also love how protective NF was then, and really still is, of the cast and the characters. Can’t wait to see the special in the Science channel as well as clips from the panel.

  9. aim says:

    Love Joss & Firefly. Cant wait till Novemer to c ” browncoats unite” on the science channel!

  10. ANNIE says:

    Wish I was there

  11. CMG says:

    I know it’s not likely, what with the cast all doing their own things, but I’d give anything for Netflix or Hulu or even DirecTV to commission another season of the show. Heck, even a mini-series or a made for TV movie. Anything… there just wasn’t enough time with these guys.

  12. Alex Agostini says:

    Sure hope there’s a follow up film. A direct-to-video would be great. ANYTHING!!!!!!!

  13. jengod says:

    Awwww. Thanks for the writeup. Don’t work too hard!

  14. Drew says:

    This show was truly a shining moment of television. It was the perfect storm of writing, acting and production and it’s just a joy to go back to every so often.

    That said, I have to admit that some part of me is relieved that it ended when it did. It was the last good thing that Joss ever produced because his massive ego has since gotten in the way of his work. Dollhouse was a concept, not a story. The Avengers was a shallow popcorn flick which completely falls apart if you put the least bit of thought into it. Even Buffy’s final season was a total mess.

    Joss was a great talent, with the ability to make great characters come to life… until he stopped doing that. Because I have no doubt that he would have messed up Firefly if given the chance, there is that part of me that is happy to see that perfect storm never lose its shine.

    Yet, the glutton for punishment in me still wishes for more. The cast is just so amazing together.

    • Drew says:

      And yes, I am currently ducking and covering.

    • CMG says:

      Buffy’s 7th season failed because his attention was diverted by both Angel and Firefly, and he left Buffy primarily in the hands of Marti Noxon. Frankly, it is my opinion, no matter how much Joss may come to her defense, Marti is a bit of a hack, and I think if you look at everything she’s been involved with since, you would agree. The few bits of the season where Joss came back, like “Conversations with Dead People,” were so, SO much better than the rest.

      As for Dollhouse, as I understand, Eliza Dushku came to Joss with the very rough idea; she envisioned it as an acting showcase. Joss may have fleshed it out a bit, but it was never really a Joss Whedon series IMO and it showed. Even still, once push came to shove, he made it work, and came up with a really good story once you got to “Epitaph One” and “Epitaph Two.” But yeah, the fact that it was a weak concept hurt the show. (It was made much worse by casting Dushku, an actress with a *very* narrow acting range, in an acting showcase, but what can you do when it was originally her idea?)

      • Drew says:

        I’m not Noxon’s biggest fan in the world, but I am not going to put the blame for Buffy’s final season on her. Largely because the first half of the season wasn’t nearly as bad as the second half, which was written after Firefly was canceled and which Joss was more involved with. The final episode, written and directed by Joss, was nonsensical. The Buffy season 8 comics, overseen by Joss are garbage.

        From what I understand, Dushku had a development deal with Fox, but it was actually Joss who came up with the idea for Dollhouse, and he then had a bunch of time to develop the series before it was put into production. The thing is, he missed the most crucial, basic elements of storytelling and he didn’t even seem to care that he had no characters on his show until the second season.
        “Epitaph One” and “Epitaph Two” are bad… really bad. The show never should have gone toward this whole apocalyptic nonsense. He was making an apocalypse out of nothing, rather than simply writing a really compelling story about the world of the dollhouse. The only worthwhile episode of the entire series was, I think, the 4th episode of the second season. It was the episode about Sierra’s past and how she ended up in the dollhouse… it was a personal, tragic, compelling story which showed us the tone that the entire series should have taken, but didn’t.

        Even when it comes to “Serenity”, it seemed like Joss missed some of the elements that made the TV series so compelling. The feel of the movie didn’t capture the soul of the series… It was a good movie, but Firefly was a great TV series.

        • CMG says:

          The story I heard about Dollhouse: Eliza Dushku had the development deal, and came up with the rough idea for Dollhouse. Eliza scheduled a meeting with Joss Whedon to try and bring him on board. Joss, having recently been burned by FOX with Firefly, came into the meeting with very little interest in returning to TV and FOX so soon. Eliza was convincing enough that by the end of the meeting, not only was Joss on board, he was so excited about the project that the two of them were tossing story ideas back and forth. Still, it was primarily her show, hence one reason her Boston Diva Productions receives partial credit for the show.

          I’ll agree with you, however, on Buffy Season 8. That was a trainwreck. I honestly don’t know what happened there, but it took all that was bad about Season 7 and just made it infinitely worse. Nothing worked right there. I guess I always figured that it was a combination of issues there. One was, how do you continue after you’ve supposedly defeated “evil itself” during season 7 (a bad idea to begin with) — where do you go from there? The second issue was that they tried to bring a bunch of fantasy and comic book elements into the Buffy-verse, and they didn’t feel like they belonged. And the third thing was that there seemed to be a total lack of any coherent, structured plan – they never had an idea that the series was going to go from point A to B in X issues. They just sort of improvised both the story arc, and even how many issues they would have.

          • Drew says:

            I just did a quick search and came up with the early reports about Dollhouse. In the early articles, Eliza talks about how she just signed a development deal with Fox and called Joss to discuss that deal. During their lunch, Joss came up with the idea (according to Joss: “I came up with [the concept] at lunch completely spontaneously, based on my conversation with Eliza,”) and it went from there. Since Eliza was responsible for bringing it all together and developing the series, her company would get partial credit.
            Regardless of who did what, Joss should have known better than to have a series without any characters or any purpose. There’s just no excuse in not having any personality on the show until well into season 2, and there’s no excuse for him falling back to old habits with the whole apocalypse thing, which the story didn’t warrant. I think it was the second episode of the series (Echo is chased through the woods) was a ripoff of an old Buffy episode (Homecoming) which aired almost exactly ten years earlier. There was no part of that series that wasn’t a mess.

            There is a better Buffy season 8 out there. It’s a fanfic season, written in script form, way back when the show first ended and released weekly the next season. It’s at
            It pretty much takes all the badness of season 7 and turns it into something that makes sense. Check it out.

          • Mikael says:

            I actually liked Dollhouse, but I can admit it does have its issues. It’s a great concept, but erasing the main characters’ personalities every episode really creates a problem with the audience because there’s no one to really identify with and root for. They fixed that in the 2nd season, but you can tell they had to cram in like 3 seasons worth into half a season. Echo became her own character that was likeable, and you can tell they did that to fix the show’s problems, because all of a sudden, Echo’s original personality, Caroline, was villified and made out to be not the innocent they were trying to get back into her own body, but the identity that Echo had to battle with. The future apocalypse would have been an ok story, but it was crammed in very quickly and the final episodes get very depressing. I think if Joss had had time to flesh it out, even in a 3rd season, the show would have worked better. But we were lucky to get a 2nd and it actually got to wrap up.

  15. Ali says:

    I wish I could have been there to see it all come down. So good to see most of the cast together again and happy etc. Was really, really hoping that now that Joss has a bazillion dollars, he was going to thrill everyone and surprise them with news of a restart on the show like Arrested Development. One can hope.

  16. DAV says:

    My friends and I discuss television a lot and often lament over all the good shows that have ended or were canceled too soon. Periodicly the question would come up…If you could bring back any show that was ever made for one more season what would it be? My answer, always and forever, is Firefly.

  17. Everytime I read something about Firefly I can’t help but hope that the guy at fox who decided one day “hey lets cancel this show” loses sleep over it. I mean this would have been a huge hit if given time.

  18. E says:

    Just watched it on YT, tears in my eyes. This is something else.

  19. Kelly says:

    Thanks for sharing for those that can not be there. Firefly remains one of my favorite shows and serenity one of my favorite movies. Love River Tam and Mal so much.

  20. Bob Marks says:

    I wish JW would commission someone to continue the Firefly adventure in a novelized format. They’ve done it with Star Wars. I’d certainly buy anything that came out.