The moderator called him “Canada’s favorite son,” but really Nathan Fillion was treated more unto a god at the National Fan Expo in Toronto Saturday. The people offered him tributes, words of praise and thanks, and in return he awarded the lucky few (hundreds) who were able to attend his early morning Q&A with more than several very funny anecdotes about the enduring appeal of Firefly, his veteran hit detective series Castle, and his admiration for one Benedict Cumberbatch.
Fillion is known for rarely being too far away from his Twitter app so he began with a few questions from his followers on the social media site including the all important: “Do you think you have what it takes to be a Canadian, or American, ninja warrior?” No, Fillion said, and then pointed to a black band around his right arm that is treating his tendonitis. “I can’t do anything with my right hand,” he joked, “you know what I mean… Writing letters.”
The line-up for in-hall questions formed quickly, and many of the people were there to not only ask Fillion a question, but to give the actor some gifts. One woman brought his some treats from New Zealand, someone else offered a gift of trinkets from Asia. One fan, who owns a company that makes clothing based on costumes from Firefly gifted Fillion with a brown coat.
Fillion, in return, offered some generosity of his own. Every fan who asked a question got an autograph from the actor, either on one his own “This is to certify that you just met Nathan Fillion,” business cards, or on sides from a recently wrapped day of shooting on Castle. Fillion pleaded with fans to not publicly release the highly spoiler-filled pages until after the episode airs adding, “hashtag: I shouldn’t be doing this.”
Altruism was another theme of the Q&A. One fan with ALS thanked Fillion for taking up the ice bucket challenge, and helping to raise over $50 million dollars of ALS research. Fillion noted that he was pleased that Cumberbatch, one of the three people we challenged, took up the cause calling the Sherlock star’s video “the most elegant, excellent, well-produced ice bucket challenge.”
Later, Fillion accepted a wedding invitation from another fan in the Q&A’s most emotional moment. When Fillion last met the fan she was convulsing in a wheel chair following a serious health issue, but in the year since she’s fully-recovered and is ready to move on with her life, including getting married to the man she bonded with over their shared love of Firefly. Fillion gladly accepted the invite, gave the fan a big hug and said, “this is one of those cases where I really don’t deserve the credit, but I’ll take it.”
Most the rest of the Q&A was really light-hearted though. A fan asked what franchise Fillion would most like to resurrect and appear, and he said The Greatest American Hero. Of course, there was news yesterday that LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were taking up a new version of the 70s show at Twentieth Century Fox, but Fillion is unphased. “Don’t worry, it’s Fox, it won’t last,” he joked.
Only three questions in and someone already riffed on “Captain Tightpants” asking if those Malcolm Reynolds trousers were “tight” or “very tight.”
“That’s an excellent question,” Fillion said deadpan. “They were snug, but it’s not like they were tightly squeezing me. They were made of canvas, but there was no give. They made you stiff. I should have been called ‘Captain Stiff Pants.’”
Later, he was asked what villain from another science fiction franchise he would have like to have seen the crew of Serenity come up against in a fight, and once again Fillion cited his love for Cumberbatch by choosing his version of Khan from Star Trek into Darkness. “I really enjoy that guy’s choices and his acting,” he said.
Other Fillion roles were touched upon too. A school teacher asked Fillion if he wouldn’t mind filming a video message for her class as Hermes, the character he played in one of the Percy Jackson movies. He was also asked about that other collaboration between himself and filmmaker Joss Whedon, and whether or not we’ll get a follow-up to Doctor Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
“Right know Joss is a little busy. I’m trying to remember what he’s doing, but it slipped my mind,” he joked. “I know all of us would live to come back and do another, and it was so well-recommended. We’re all in already! When we’re sitting around talking about it, we’re like ‘let’s do it!’”
There was also some serious, philosophical discussion about Firefly and Fillion’s character Malcolm Reynolds. “Mal’s crew are facets of himself that he thought he’d lost,” Fillion said. “They’re aspects of himself he thought were gone because he was so beaten down.”
Even though Firefly came and went from our TVs nearly 11 years ago, there’s still clearly a lot of love for the series. And as proof, when Fillion was asked how to convince someone who’s never seen the show to give it a try, he said, “I would take a person who was already a fan of the show, and ask them, ‘how upset are you that Firefly got cancelled?’”
True. There’s actually still a lot of hurt feelings about that.