Many fans of Joss Whedon’s Firefly were left irreparably burned by the show’s cancellation in 2003 during its very first season.
The series – set in a post-civil war partial dystopia that starred Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres and others (including the recently departed Ron Glass) as members of a renegade spaceship crew – meshed science-fiction and western tropes with Whedon’s signature quick wit and deftness for handling charismatic ensemble casts.
Alas, it failed to attract mainstream audiences, although the 2005 film Serenity allowed Whedon and loyal fans – who have come to call themselves “Browncoats” – the chance for some closure.
Despite the show’s unlikely jump to the big screen, its release hasn’t stopped some from holding out hope for more Firefly. At a recent Television Critics Association session (via Rotten Tomatoes), Fox Broadcasting president of entertainment David Madden even revealed the network itself is open to bringing the show back, as it has with The X-Files, 24 and (soon) Prison Break. However, the network would only do so if Whedon himself would return as well.
Certainly, Fox’s willingness to correct one of its most egregious misjudgments makes perfect sense, especially in the current nostalgia-driven landscape. In the 12 years since Serenity, many of its stars have seen their careers and reputations within the geek community skyrocket.
Despite its short life, Firefly remains one of the most beloved television series of the 21st century in the eyes of many, and there’s definitely much narrative promise within the world it creates. Nevertheless, the absolute worst thing Fox could do for many fans would be to move forward on a revival without Whedon, even if the entire cast returns.
But Whedon at this point may not even be up for it. While some elements of the show’s creative team – like producer Tim Minear – might be enthusiastic about a new Firefly series, Whedon has spoken at length about how hard the show’s initial cancellation hit him. After facing such a struggle behind the scenes on Avengers: Age of Ultron, Whedon expressed interest instead in creating a new universe of his own.
As much as he loves Firefly, its potential failure and the possibility of network meddling may not be worth the headache. Then again, perhaps enough time has passed for Whedon to cautiously leap at the chance to soar into the black once more.
Robert Yaniz Jr.
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