Its hard to believe that 10 years ago at this time, Fox was misusing and abusing a little series called Firefly, Joss Whedon’s now seminal series which combined space opera with the Old West to create one of the most unique and fascinating science fiction shows since the originalStar Trek. Naturally, it was cancelled after 13 episodes.
Well, on this occasion of its tenth anniversary, and as they’re airing the run of Firefly in intended order, the Science Channel hosted a special tenth anniversary panel for Firefly at New York Comic Con today. Although it was unlikely to be the barn-burner the one in San Diego was earlier this year, there was still enough for Browncoats to get excited about: a first look at the Browncoats Unite special (which airs on November 11 at 10 pm), some insights from the people that made the special, and even some surprise guests (each more surprising than the last).
So let’s end the teasing there and segue into a recap of the panel, as interpreted by our fine Bastard crew.
Kyle Anderson from Entertainment Weekly introduces himself. Presents a NYCC exclusive video (not viewable on live-stream).
Anderson introduces cast of FIREFLY: Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, and Natha Fillion (via phone conference)
Maher: “Its been 10 years.”
Staite: “Happy anniversary.”
Anderson: The show is such a smart balance of science and characters… and it’s a kick-ass western
Anderson rolls another exclusive clip.
Staite: “I have goosebumps.”
Anderson: What was it like getting into ass-kicking scenarios?
Staite: They made us do gun training. I can totally murder people now.
Maher: Guns are weird.
Fillion: I like when I get to shoot em’. Not fun when you have to get shot. I hate squibs.
Anderson: Favorite action shot?
Fillion interrupts and says “Jewel you sure look nice in your little dark outfit”…
EDITORS NOTE: I had an issue with my live-stream and missed about 30 seconds of audio.
Fillion surprises everyone by coming on stage!!!
Fillion: “Did I fool you?”
Anderson: What is it like for you guys to coming back 10 years later?
Fillion: It’s one thing when it’s just us sitting in a living room saying, “It was cool, it was kind of kick-ass sometimes… People liked it, right?” It’s another thing, 10 years later to come to New York and see all you guys around. It’s very very validating.
Anderson. Did you know you were making something special?
Staite: I think, we all knew right away it was a special experience, a special group. We were the underdog from day 1. I’ve never laughed that hard on a job. I have nothing but crazy fun memories.
Filion: It was so tangible and real.
Sean: I loved it. So much!
Staite asked: “Did you love wearing your vest.” Maher said “That was my favorite part.”
Anderson: What was your reaction to the cancellation?
Fillion: It’s like having the most beautiful girlfriend you’ve ever had. She’s super hot, wonderful and amazing. And then, someone says, “Its over, you don’t get to see her anymore.” You don’t have time to get mad at something like that and say “You suck!”
Staite: I was mad that we didn’t get to make out yet. (Directing comment to Maher)
Staite: Whedon was pissed. He was shaken. He’s a very confident person, but this shook him.
Anderson: Was he good to work for?
“YES!” they all said in unison
Fillion: I’m a better me because of it.
Staite: He makes you feel confident. Lets you trust your instincts. Oh, and he laughs at my jokes
Maher: Excellent at guiding you, but letting you do your own thing.
Fillion. He lets you know you’re wrong without making you feel stupid.
Anderson: How did you come to show? What jumped out at you?
Maher: I didn’t have the script when I met Joss. I got to hear about the world from his mouth. I left my meeting with him, called my agent and said “I want to work with this man, he’s a genius.”
Staite: I had wanted to read for River cause it was meatier but my agent was amendment I do Kaylee. Joss was smiling and nodding when I did test. I got call next day “Welcome to the family.. oh and you have to gain 20 pounds in 3 weeks.
Fillion: Fox was farming me for other shows. They forced me on Joss. I met him in a room alone and saw this wreck of a guy and I said “Who’s is this guy? When is Joss Whedon gonna get here?” Then… we chatted for 45 minutes. He had every detail worked out. He knew everything, lighting music, everything. I knew then, I had to work with him. […] I had never done a drama in which I was the lead. Joss let me do that. I was nervous, but it was easy because of the people around me.
Maher: I want to credit Nathan here. Every show there’s the #1 on call on sheet. Nathan showed up, and set the tone every single day. He knew everyone’s name. Came to work, never complained. Never was tired of overwhelmed.
Fillion: “I love you guys too.”
Anderson: At what point did you guys realize, before social networking, that the show would take on a life of its own?
Staite: Black Pool, England. We got invited to a convention. I had no idea what to expect. It was crazy, overwhelming.
Fillion: I had went on message board to say if you see me on the street “don’t talk about cancellation, just nod and say captain.” People still, to this day, say “captain.”
First fan question: In a perfect world, what episodes would you write for yourselves?
Fillion: I write one where my character slips in coma and lessens the work load.
Staite: I want one where I get to kick-ass. I wanna beat someone up! Simon is nude in this episode as well… and oily.
Maher: I’d have lots of children running around.
Next question: If FOX apologized. How would you want them to do it?
Staite: I want Fox to know I am a size 9 in Jimmy Choos.
Maher: That they’ve rebuilt the ship and signed us for another season.
Fillion: I need a tropical island to which a cruise ship would arrive with Firefly fans. It would have replica of the ship, to which we could reenact scenes from show.
Next question: Firefly the musical???
Fillion: What would be Kaylee’s first song be? “Cant fix nothing if you don’t fix it first?”
Staite: That would be interesting. I just want to hear Adam [Baldwin] sing.
Question: How does it make you feel to make a grown woman like me, cry?
*Cast gets up and gives fan a hug
Next Question: How often do you guys see each other?
Staite: We saw each other at Dragon Con. Oh, every couple of months.
Fillion: We have dinners occasionally. I recently had dinner with Alan Tudyk.
*Fillion stops to take a picture for a fan’s son who has cancer* (birthday)
Question: Fillion… Are you surprised to keep working with Whedon (referencing Whedon’s Shakespeare movie Much Ado About Nothing)?
Fillion I have a rule: Whenever Joss wants me for a project, I just say “yes.”
Question: What about of Firefly was most challenging?
Fillion: long hours, work load. Be challenged though, is a wonderful. Its amazing.
Staite: I find guest stars most challenging. It’s hard walking onto set where cast knows each other.
Question: Is there a chance of new material Firefly material?
Fillion: The dream is amazing. Logistics are tough. If we’re dreaming, though? Firefly, the animated series! What do you think about that? *audience roars*
Question to Fillion: Did you ever imagine you’d ever become of family?
Fillion: I don’t think you can imagine something like that. It’s a good feeling though, it’s really neat.
Maher, Staite and Fillion cry over this thought. Then each of the cast hug a little girl who, so badly, wanted Staite to see her dressed as Kaylee.
Anderson wraps the panel.