It usually takes several seasons for a television show to develop a devout fanbase. Sometimes, even if a program is on for many years, you’d be hard pressed to find people who talk about it with a relentless passion. A one season show? Practically impossible. Yet here we are in 2015, and the fans of Firefly and its film successor Serenity have come out in droves to attend a reunion panel. Bear in mind that it’s now 10 years since Serenity concluded, and the huge Main Stage area was still packed to the brim.
On the docket to attend were Nathan Fillion (Malcolm Reynolds), Gina Torres (Zoe Washburne), Jewel Staite (Kaywinnet Lee Frye). Fans were already pumped for those three. Then Alan Tudyk (Hoban Washburne) dropped by and people lost their minds. Clearly, despite this show being gone for so many years, it has only grown in the hearts of many. This truly is the definition of a cult program.
With no new material to promote, the cast was asked to tell their favorite stories from their time on set. Unfortunately for Fillion, time has not worked in his favor.
“I actually think I’ve covered it all. I have to tell the old stuff now,” Fillion told the crowd. “It’s been such a long time since Firefly, my memory is fading.
Another fan quickly came up to save the day. Since Firefly takes place in the future and most of the language spoken was Chinese and English, one attendee had to ask what it was like learning a new language. As it turns out, it wasn’t easy.
“We got a translation on cassette tape, that’s how long ago it was,” said Fillon. “We had to listen to this really soft voice and memorize our lines. I don’t remember it.”
To his credit, Fillion told a brief story of how he had to use Chinese on his current show Castle, and was complimented on his skill. He thanked Firefly for teaching him.
Staite then decided to drop a bombshell on everyone.
“I have a confession to make,” Staite said to a hushed public. “I never listened to the tapes. All of my Chinese was ADRed in later.”
Most of the cast has gone on to much bigger things. Just like you can find Fillion leading Castle, you can also see Torres on the hit USA drama Suits. Her character is the powerful co-founder and managing partner of Pearson Specter Litt, Jessica Pearson. A fan of both Firefly and Suits asked how Pearson connects with Washburne.
“I think Jessica Pearson is just Zoe in high heels,” said Torres. “She’s powerful, has to keep the stupid boys in line. I think they have very similar traits.”
Speaking of similar traits, another fan couldn’t help but bring up the comparison between Han Solo and Fillion’s Mal. Both are roguish scoundrels after all. Fillion has definitely heard this before, so the question was simply, “Malcolm and Han walk into a bar. Who walks out?” Fillion’s response?
The crowd lost their minds.
Despite its short lifespan, Firefly has resonated significantly with fans across the world. For many people, this is one of the best shows to ever exist. When asked if they too received benefits, the whole cast was complimentary, but Torres was especially honest.
“Because it had such a quick end, I cannot say it propelled me forward,” said Torres. “But it’s very dear to me and it definitely helped me grow as a actor.”
Firefly, as it turned out, had a much bigger impact on Staite.
“I actually got a lot of cool jobs thanks to Firefly, like Stargate Atlantis,” Staite told a cheering audience. “I’ve gotten to see the world and that’s an amazing thing.”
Talk eventually came to the comics, which had done an excellent job keeping the world alive in print with Serenity. Fans really enjoyed the new stories, as did the stars, but Staite made on thing very clear.
“I always feel bittersweet about the comics. I feel like it’s reading a script I will never perform.”
In response, Fillion had an idea that went over very well with the crowd.
Outside of getting even more physical roles, the cast has also done plenty of voice acting. One game in particular came up: Destiny. Torres plays Ikora Rey and Fillion is Cayde-6. Both Torres and Fillion enjoyed the experience, but sometimes the material got a bit confusing.
“It’s a really cool experience, but half the time I don’t know what I’m talking about,” said Torres.
Fillion was quick to declare that he will defeat the Taken King.
Continuing on the topic of voice acting, Torres and Fillion detailed the difference between that and physical roles.
“The voice over work is so specific. It has to be. You don’t have your eyes or anything, only your voice,” said Torres.
“I like it because I don’t need to look nice or wear pants,” said Fillion.
Lastly, as expected, talk came to a second season. People have wanted more Firefly on television for years but it currently has yet to happen. Staite herself acknowledged that sometimes, if a network says no one is watching, “they’re wrong.” One fan was eager to ask them if they would return for a second season or would they have cameo roles. The entire panel was quick to laugh off anything less than being the stars.
“Full-time please!” declared Fillion.
“Otherwise they’d have to cast new people,” continued Staite.
Torres finished with, “And nobody wants that.”
The crowd, of course, couldn’t agree more.
Luke Kalamar is Pop-Break.com’s television editor. Every Saturday afternoon you can read his video game column, Remembering the Classics. He covers Game of Thrones, Saturday Night Live and The Walking Dead (amongst others) every week. As for as his career and literary standing goes — take the best parts of Spider-man, Captain America and Luke Skywalker and you will fully understand his origin story.