I was late to the Firefly party. It wasn’t hard to be. In actual party terms, Firefly was over before the pizza guy got there, with only 14 total episodes gracing the FOX airways back in 2003. I came across it in like, 2014. The fat lady had sung. With the regularity of the Patriots’ Super Bowl appearances (and equally as unenjoyable), rumors continually resurface about a return of the crew of the Serenity.
This week, those rumors were given new life with a statement at TCA2017 by FOX’s President of Entertainment David Madden, who said he would consider revisiting Firefly, but only if….and here’s the kicker…. Joss Whedon would revisit the show. In keeping with the nauseating New England Patriots analogies, this is like Junipero Sierra High School announcing that they would be willing to play for a state championship, but only if Tom Brady is willing to go under center again. Come on. Whedon has become a Thanos sized player in the movie industry. Why would he step backwards, particularly when FOX was difficult to deal with last time around?
There’s tons of other things to consider too, like the characters and the stars. There is no doubt that the cast of Firefly, and it’s companion film, Serenity, was as good a cast as ever to hit the screen. Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin, Adam Baldwin, Summer Glau, and Ron Glass were an allstar team. Great talent, great chemistry.
At the end of Serenity, we had both Alan Tudyk’s character, Wash, and Ron Glass’s Shepherd Book being killed off. Now, Whedon is no stranger to bringing characters back from the dead (See also: Phil Coulson) but this isn’t really that kind of story. Actor Ron Glass was also part of the great celebrity die-off of 2016, so he won’t be reprising any role soon.
The rest of the actors have all moved on to other things, although Fillion finds himself suddenly unattached with last year’s abrupt cancellation of his hit show Castle. Gina Torres is engaged with her hit USA show Suits, Alan Tudyk is playing Bruce Wayne’s cousin Van in NBC’s Powerless, and Morena Baccarin is currently playing Leslie Thompkins in Gotham. As for Adam Baldwin, he is sailing on the Last Ship, as well as being a professional Twitter curmudgeon (He blocked me years ago. Used to call me “Perfessor”. True story. I was blocked by a star. That’s worth something, right? He has ridden that persona to a quarter million followers though, so he wins that game. Dude makes theGrumpy Geek seem downright cheerful. I checked…still blocked) Then there’s Summer Glau, who, according to her IMDB page, has nothing regular going on, but she has no shortage of work.
Success is situational. Just because it worked in 2003 doesn’t mean it will be successful in 2017 or beyond. I have to admit, it wasn’t my favorite show ever. I liked it a lot, but it was so long ago, who knows if it would be as good now? I have a theory, as a guy who grew up in the golden ages of both MTV and Saturday Night Live. I think we romanticize those types of things. I totally believe that I remember them being better than they actually were. Can the same be true for Firefly?
So that brings us to the biggest question. Do you hard reboot it with the same characters portrayed by different younger actors? Or do you continue from the end of Serenity…or from 15 years after the end of Serenity, using the same actors playing the same characters. I’m a continuity guy over a reboot guy. There are very few hard reboots I have liked. I have even railed against a bunch of them. Come to think of it, of all the reboots out there, the only one I can think of that I have enjoyed as much or more than the original is the new JJ Abrams Star Trek films. Whereas, I can name a bunch o’ failures – MacGyver, Minority Report, Limitless, Lethal Weapon…. patooey. I think MacGyver would have been better if instead of BEING the same character Richard Dean Anderson played, he [or she] was a relative, and RDA showed up from time to time for a Mac team up.
So, there you have it. I’m a continuity guy. Either bring it back as the original cast, or have them show up and pass the torch. Because Mal and the crew of Serenity made a living smuggling things, a pretty good story could be made around a new crew “buying” or winning the ship in a poker game and having to run for their lives from week to week. Certainly, an origin story with younger actors could be a possibility, albiet not my preferred route.
This wouldn’t be FOX’s first attempt at a reboot. The recent original cast reboot of X-Files wasn’t as good as the original, but I enjoyed it. The new cast reboot of 24 is still new to see, and I am not watching it. I only watched a season of Jack Bauer. NBC blew up any legacy Heroes may have had with their Heroes: Reborn continuation.
Do I think it’s going to happen? Nope. Do I want it to happen? Jury’s still out, but I am leaning towards nope. It was great while it lasted, like that one girlfriend in high school. But what do I know? People tell me I’m grumpy.
As for Joss Whedon’s involvement…I personally don’t want him to do ONE MORE THING until he delivers on his idea of bringing us a female, Victorian Batman character on Dark Horse Comics. Then we can talk again about a Firefly revival that probably just won’t happen.
What do you think? Want to see Firefly again? Reboot or continue on? Leave a comment below.
Pete Herr is the author of “10 Things We Should Teach You In High School and Usually Don’t”. He is the oldest geek in the Geekiverse by a factor of two. Follow Pete Herr on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram . If you don’t he gets Grumpy. You don’t want to see him Grumpy.
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