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C2E2: Gina Torres and Alan Tudyk look back on Firefly

Contributed by
Apr 6, 2018

Since their appeal to geeks arguably peaked with Joss Whedon’s seminal sci-fi Western Firefly, actors Gina Torres and Alan Tudyk haven’t slowed down. Both have found success on TV, with the latter becoming Disney’s new go-to source of eccentric weirdo voice acting. But, 15 years later, they’ve never forgotten their most intense fans.

The pair, who played the best damn couple in the 'verse Zoe and Hoban “Wash” Washburne in Firefly and Serenity, spoke on a panel titled “Leaves on the Wind” (an homage to Wash’s final words) at Chicago’s C2E2 about their time on the show and reflecting on their experience.

The actors noted that they jumped on board initially without a script and didn't get one until after they got the job. Torres described receiving a two-to-three-page outline with a description of the characters and some scene sketches that ended with the reminders that in Firefly, there's no sound in space and there are no aliens. Tudyk never got the outline, but was told the final two facts. What they agreed on, however, is needing to find out who exactly Whedon was.

That's because Whedon had a surprising amount of control from the beginning. During the casting process, the two remembered that up until the final audition, it was simply Joss and the casting director watching, though typically, as actors get closer to landing the role, the room typically fills up with network heads.

While Whedon was assumed to be the curator of relationships amongst the cast, it turns out Nathan Fillion (who played Captain Mal) was the one that brought everyone together. "He captained out of work. He'll tell you what to do," Tudyk said. "He would throw parties. Eight people and no snacks." In fonder memories,Tudyk, when remembering the late Ron Glass, said, "He was a Buddhist who devoted his life to helping others. Who does that? Especially as an actor?"

The sardonic actor played off the seriousness in the room while still maintaining enough earnestness that Torres was able to critique some of the wardrobe choices foisted upon her characters. Admonishing stilettos and the costumes that she had to be "sewn into and cut out of at the end of the day," the actress listed her appearance in Alias, dressed as a waiter, as one of the only comfortable costumes she's worn over the years.

After moving on past Firefly, the pair discussed life after the show. Both described being typecast against romantic roles, with Torres specifically saying she's become "the scary chick" whom people should watch out for, before getting with, and Tudyk admitting that he's only been allowed these roles on stage. Tudyk followed up with an anecdote about Evil Dead actor Bruce Campbell loving it when people get tattoos of his signature because, hey, why not?

However, that permanency is joined only by the show's utter cancellation. Tudyk noted that Fox had recently said that if Whedon was on board, they'd make more Firefly, but shook his head. He said that on the 10th anniversary of the show, Joss said that he didn't want to do more because he "didn't want to screw it up." And so far, nothing has changed.

That said, the actor likened any possible Firefly redo to Star Wars' recent revival, in which — similar to Luke Skywalker — Mal might be a retired hermit dragged back into the fray. If the show is to return, that sounds like the way to go.

Watch the video of the full panel below:

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