Nathan Fillion has been working with Joss Whedon for the better part of a decade, and that closeness has never been more evident than right here.
Before he was Marvel’s geek auteur in charge of the billion-dollar Avengers machine, Whedon was a cult icon best known for modest hits like Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One actor who played a role on both series? Nathan Fillion, aka Captain Tightpants himself.
With Amy Pascale’s Joss Whedon: The Biography officially on bookshelves this week, Fillion's foreword for the book has been revealed — and it's as great as you expect it to be. Fillion taps into what makes Whedon such a great film and TV producer, and also has us amped up for a Firefly rewatch:
My generation, we were kind of raised on the super-cool, "I can handle anything" with a gun in his hand hero. Any situation you throw at him, he can handle it -- with catchphrases. It was very cool.
But Joss Whedon's version of a hero doesn't always win. He loses more than he wins, and when he wins, the victories are tiny, but he takes 'em. "That's a victory! I call that a victory!" It's a tiny victory -- he takes it, and that's what he walks away with. And that's something I can actually relate to.
That's something that people can relate to -- because that's actually life. I don't know a lot of people who win more than they lose. Life is kind of a losing proposition as you go. It's not all winning lotteries every day. It's a lot of "What do I do with this problem? Now how do I handle this?" I think people can relate easier to someone who isn't prepared to handle every single situation, and everything comes out roses and their way, and all they've got to do is be cool. We don't have that in real life.
A friend of mine once told me that what he finds so satisfying about Joss Whedon is his way of telling stories. As a society, we are incredibly story literate: We know story. This is the hero; this is the villain. This is the denouement; this is where the twist comes; this is where the learning experience is; this is where the turn is. We know story.
He said, "Joss Whedon will give you a story twist. But instead of twisting it to the story tradition that we know, he twists it and says, 'That's what happens in stories. This is what happens in real life. This is how real life went.'"
I described Joss to a friend as we were on our way over to his house for a party. And she's heard me tell stories over the years about this fellow. We went to his house, we had a great time, and on the way home, she said, "You know, I got to say, from your description of the kind of guy this guy is, and from all the stories you've told me -- I expected him to be six two, chiseled jaw, long, wavy golden hair and bright blue eyes and gleaming teeth, and just chesty and ..." The guy, she said, "when you describe him, he's so heroic."
And yeah, he is. He's heroic like that.
Well said, Capt. Mal. Well said. Here’s hoping Whedon has a whole lot more projects ahead of him. We’d bet he does, because he’s a hero like that.