It was 14 years ago that Firefly premiered on Fox, and almost 14 years go that it was cancelled. You would never guess that if you looked around the room for the Alan Tudyk Q&A at Fan Expo Canada. Thousands of fans crammed themselves into Room 102, many of them in Kaylee coveralls or Jayne hats, all eager to hear from the man that piloted the starship Serenity for 14 episodes and one movie. Even though Tudyk has a big role in the upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it was predominately Firefly memories that the crowd wanted to talk about.
In tribute to Tudyk, the man has a hell of a work ethic. He started his Q&A at 5:30 after a full day of signing autographs, and after leaving Atlanta and DragonCon at 4 am that day. Despite that though, Tudyk was energetic and engaged as he answered questions, even offering fans that got to ask their questions a special souvenir of what seemed like random items in his book bag, like his Friday pass to DragonCon, a brochure for zip lining in Hawaii, and a room key room for #4501 at the Marriot in Atlanta.
Tudyk was asked early on about his role as K-2SO, the droid character he portrays in motion capture performance in Rogue One. “I had done Sonny in I, Robot, but I don’t even know if that’s why they thought of me, ‘Get that robot actor!'” Tudyk joked. “What’s great about Star Wars is that droids have such an amazing history. They’re such chracters, not that Sonny wasn’t a character, but it was a Will Smith movie, and K-2SO is another in a line of great, great driods and I was very excited to play him.”
For Tudyk, playing K-2SO involved getting used to the usual motion capture uniform of the unitard and the helmet, but there was also an additional challenge. “I was on stilts, and I got really used to being super tall,” Tudyk said, but there were times it was too dangerous to be on stilts and that’s when they got out the “backpack of shame.”
“I was by a cliff once and you can’t where your stilts there because you will die,” he added. “Diego Luna would say, ‘Alan, it is terrible what has happened, just a minute ago everyone was respecting you.'”
Tudyk was also asked about his experience making Con Man, the web series about a sci-fi star and his con experiences that he wrote, directed, produced and starred in. “It’s challenging because you have your mind on many things at once, you know what you have to get in a day, you know how much money you have because you’re the producer, things come up that you can’t control, and you have to know how to control yourself at those times and still keep things fun,” he explained. The second season of Con Man premieres in November.
As for Firefly memories, Tudyk remembered getting the script for the big screen Serenity, where his character Wash met a grisly fate. “I was called by Joss [Whedon] who said, ‘Once you read the script give me a call,’ and I said, ‘This can’t be good,'” Tudyk recalled. “It was shocking and well-written, which is sad and great. It raised the stakes for everyone when they fought the Reavers, because for people watching, it feels like he’s going to kill everybody. That’s it, he’ll do it! When the Captain tells you everybody’s life is on the line, and no one dies, it’s a cheat.”
In a bit of graciousness, a fan who was cosplaying as Jesus gave up the last question to a girl that was behind him in line. She had been at a previous Fan Expo with a Nathan Fillion Q&A, and she came just short of being to ask her question. “I don’t think my question can live up to what Jesus has done,” the girl said, but she asked it anyway, did the cast know what they were saying when they swore in Chinese.
“I think I remember one Chinese line,” Tudyk said before trying to spout it off. “It has something to do with the explosive farts of elephants,” he said. “I was the one cast member that was vocally annoyed by my Chinese, but I wanted a whole episode in Chinese where we would go to a planet where all they spoke was Chinese.” But like so many Firefly memories, it was never meant to be…