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There’s a glimmer of hope in the future of Firefly

Take my love, take my land, cancel a show too early again...

Image: Fox
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

The original cast of Firefly, the 2002 spacefaring drama that was canceled midway through its first season on Fox, misses that show just as much as you do. Meanwhile, a Fox executive won’t rule out rebooting the franchise in one form or another. That means they could still kill a great show too early again.

Created by Joss Whedon just before Buffy and Angel ended their runs, Firefly starred Nathan Fillion, Summer Glau, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, Alan Tudyk, Gina Torres, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, and Ron Glass. Only 11 of the 14 completed episodes even aired before the television network canceled the show. The passion of the fans, who called themselves Browncoats, eventually convinced the network to go forward with a major motion picture at Universal Pictures. Serenity (no, not that one) came out in 2005, reuniting the original cast and giving fans some semblance of closure.

Or, at least, that’s what we keep telling ourselves.

One week ago, Firefly executive producer Tim Minear posted a picture taken on the last day shooting the ill-fated series. It shows a vignette that fans who pored through the collector’s edition DVDs will know quite well — the cast gathered in a circle, going over their lines before the cameras roll just one last time.

Then Alan Tudyk made a goof, and creator Joss Whedon retweeted it, and ... yeah. We Browncoats all just sorta got sad again and shuffled off.

But not the folks at The Wrap, who took their sadness and their regret and their access to Fox president of entertainment Michael Thorn at the 2020 TCAs and asked if we could all have our show back, please. Thank you.

And he said yes. Sort of.

“The macro answer is, any time we look at one of our classic titles, if there’s a way to reinvent it for today so it’s as resonant now as the original was, and is, to the fans, we’re wide open,” Thorn said. “In this crowded marketplace, if you can start with some kind of brand awareness and IP that has a vocal support and, in this case, a crazy, passionate love for it, you’re ahead of the game.”

The Wrap also bumped into Minear himself, who was a little more pragmatic. There’s no way to get everyone back, of course. Ron Glass, who played Shepherd Book, passed away in 2015. Many of the other actors are plenty busy with other projects. But Minear says there’s still hope.

“I would love to see, like, an eight- or 10-episode adventure in that universe,” he said.

In fact, he said Fillion himself — who played Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class ship Serenity — texted him not long after he put out his original tweet.

“I just texted a little bit with Nathan over the weekend,” Minear said, “when I posted those pictures from Firefly and he got very sentimental. Everyone who worked on that show dearly loves it and they all still talk to each other.”

I guess the signal might still be alive after all.

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