Firefly has enriched the lives of its fans, who love the 2003 show and 2005 movie Serenity so much that they wear their hearts on their brown-coated sleeves. But even though the show was canceled after only 11 episodes aired, it’s also made a difference to the lives of the stars. And they are up for returning to the universe with new episodes.
That's what we learned when Firefly cast members Gina Torres (Zoe), Jewel Staite (Kaylee) and Nathan Fillion (Mal) spoke to the eager audience at New York Comic Con -- as did Alan Tudyk (Wash), who was a surprise inclusion. The actors from the canceled-too-soon show said they currently enjoy what Firefly has done for their lives and careers.
Although Tudyk had left by the time his web series, Con Man, came up in conversation, the impact fans have had on this project was noted by Torres. Con Man is a crowdfunded project, about an actor who had starred in a short-lived TV series and now attended conventions. Fans threw $3.1 million at the project, which is now airing. And Fillion -- who is also a creator of Con Man -- told the moderator (who happened to be Blastr's own Aaron Sagers) that he felt especially vindicated by the fundraising effort, which is a tangible way to show Hollywood that Firefly was, and remains, a powerful show.
Torres, who appears in a future episode of Con Man, said, “You came and answered the call and made it possible. We have something we want to do … we know you’re going to be there to support it and support us. And that’s incredible.”
On a lighter note, Tudyk said his time on Firefly has exposed him to a part of the world he would never have seen otherwise: “We’ve all been going to conventions since 2003. I’ve been all over the world. I’ve been to Dubai.” (Staite said, “Someone send me and Gina to Dubai!”)
And in an episode of Fillion’s TV show Castle, he once had to speak Chinese. He related that a Chinese woman told him, “Your accent is very Mandarin.” He smiled. “Thanks, Firefly.” Staite then revealed she never listened to the cassette tapes of Chinese the cast were provided.
As for the future of Firefly, there is none -- on screen, anyway. However, the universe continues in a comic-book series. Fillion suggested, “Let’s go to my house ... and act out the comics.” But Fillion, Staite and Torres did all say they'd return for a second season of the show.
"Full time, please," said Fillion.
"Otherwise they would cast new people,” Staite added, to which Torres said, “And nobody wants that.”
While Staite said she'd gotten "cool jobs" like Stargate: Atlantis because of Firefly, Torres and Fillion said the show hadn't especially propelled their career forward, though it's close to their hearts.
“I don’t think people look at your resume and say, ‘Look! He was on a failed television show, but it's cultish,'" said Fillion.
Regarding lessons they carried forward from the show, Fillion said he'd learned to rely on the rest of the cast and how to be a show's captain. Torres quipped she learned "a sawed-off shotgun is really heavy, and two layers of leather clothing in the desert is really hot."
And Staite's lesson: "If the network tells you that no one is watching the show, sometimes they’re wrong."
The cast agreed that the show should be watched in order, but Staite and Torres said "Out of Gas" is a good episode to introduce someone to Firefly. Fillion added that "Jaynestown" was an episode to teach a person about character flaws, and about those who are more than meet the eye.
A lot of humor was spent on Staite's advanced pregnancy. A man in the audience wished her "good luck," to which she asked why people always say that. Then Torres revealed she was in labor for a shocking 50 hours. But Staite did ask how old a child should be before watching Firefly. When a 12-year-old in the audience said he began watching at 10, Staite brought him to the stage and presented him with a T-shirt that had her face on it, and had Fillion and Torres sign it.
One of the best moments of the panel had to be when a fan asked Fillion if Han Solo and Captain Mal walk into a bar, who walks out. He said, without missing a beat, "Everyone else." That got the approval of Torres, Staite and Sagers, and drew riotous applause from the crowd.
If you couldn't make it to NYCC, you can check out this great video of the entire Firefly reunion panel.