More than 13 years since its short-lived run on Fox, and a decade after its follow-up film, Serenity, the sci-fi space western Firefly continues to have a devoted following. Fans turn up at conventions around the world to see the stars of the show, and the same was true today at New York Comic Con 2015.
The Firefly reunion was scheduled to feature three actors: Nathan Fillion (Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity's captain), Gina Torres (Zoe Washburne, Reynolds' second-in-command) and Jewel Staite (Kaylee Frye, Serenity's mechanic). In a special surprise, Alan Tudyk (Hoban "Wash" Washburne, Serenity's pilot) turned up for the first third of the panel or so. The cast spent almost the entire hourlong session answering questions from the audience, and we've collected the best moments for you below.
Mal and Han
If Mal Reynolds and Han Solo walked into a bar, who would walk out?
"Everyone else," Fillion quipped, drawing the biggest laugh of the day.
Snuggles on set
The actors were understandably hard-pressed to come up with favorite stories from the production of Firefly that they hadn't already told a million times before. But Torres and Tudyk delighted the crowd by recounting the filming of a love scene — or rather, what happened before the cameras began rolling.
As Torres told it, she and Tudyk got into their bed together while the crew was filming another scene elsewhere on the lot. "It was cold, so we were all snuggled," she noted, saying that the two began spooning and talking about their day.
"I'm glad you told that story," said Tudyk afterward.
Staite added that she and co-star Sean Maher, who played Dr. Simon Tam, also got into bed, although "ours was a little different." Instead of snuggling, the two would sing Whitney Houston songs.
Asked about how the cult success of Firefly affected the trajectories of their respective careers, the actors pointed out that a failed TV series doesn't do much to bolster one's resume. It did help some of them get gigs in science-fiction or fantasy productions — for example, Staite was offered a multi-year role on Stargate Atlantis because the producers and writers were huge Firefly fans — but not so much elsewhere.
Still, Staite noted that the ongoing popularity of the show has afforded the actors the opportunity to travel the world, which they're all thankful for. And Fillion noted that the cast is popular on social media largely because of Firefly, a side benefit that Hollywood now takes note of.
One fan came up with a slightly outside-the-box question: What's your favorite dessert?
Staite turned her answer into a bit of a running gag, starting off with pumpkin pie and tiramisu and later interrupting her fellow panelists to mention that she also loves doughnuts. Torres listed a few apple-related treats, such as apple crumble and warm apple pie. Tudyk went with just one, bread pudding, which he said caused him to gain 15 pounds during the New Orleans-based filming of the upcoming movie Trumbo. Fillion, too, is man of simple tastes.
"I'll eat a cat turd if you dip it in chocolate," he said.
Both Fillion and Torres voice characters in the video game Destiny, and two members of the audience asked questions about it.
Fillion agreed with one fan who pointed out similarities between Mal Reynolds and Destiny's Cayde-6, saying that Cayde is "like Malcolm Reynolds, but in a good mood [...] less haunted." He and Torres added that doing voice-over work is difficult because you have to get everything across using only your voice, and because Destiny is such a lore-heavy game.
"Half the time, I have no idea what I'm talking about," said Torres. Fillion echoed those sentiments, saying, "It was very hard the first time around." He expected it to be easier when he went back in to record new material for the game's most recent expansion, The Taken King, but the developers "invented all this new stuff," he said with mock exasperation.
Asked to name favorite moments from Firefly and Serenity, the actors thought for a while before Staite said that "it changes all the time." All three of them eventually went with scenes from the movie.
Staite singled out the scene in Serenity in which Mal explains that love is what keeps a ship in the air. Torres mentioned the film's ending: the scene she has with her captain, where she says the ship is "tore up plenty, but she'll fly true." Fillion said he loves the fact that Simon tells River he's "sorry" when it looks like all hope is lost, since Simon had taken it upon himself to keep River safe.
Mementos and memories
Many of the actors wanted to take pieces of the set home with them, although some of the people were more worried about doing so than others.
Fillion lamented that the set was "destroyed"; in fact, he said he dropped by the old studio on the Fox lot after a meeting to check out what became of it, and walked in on "a forklift driving through [Serenity's] med bay." Staite, however, took issue with what Fillion left out in his story.
"It was not destroyed; it was dismantled," she exclaimed, pointing out that Fillion showed up with a box and literally began ripping items off the walls. Having begun her career as an actor at the age of 5, Staite said she learned very early on that you're not supposed to take anything home with you from the set. But she wishes she had, "because really, what were they going to do — fire me?"
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