by Chris Tobias
If you spend any time at all online, you’ve probably seen speculation every so often about a possible return of Joss Whedon’s space western Firefly, the Fox series that was cancelled in 2002 after only 11 of its 14 episodes had aired– mostly out of order and with gaps in its weekly broadcasts due to Major League Baseball playoffs and holiday programming.
And why not? The series only grew in popularity after its cancellation. Its devoted fan base, who came to be known as “Browncoats” (taking their name from the Independent forces in the series who fought for their freedom against the corporate super-government known as the Alliance), spurred brisk sales of the series’ DVD box set, and Universal Studios greenlit a major motion picture, Serenity, that was helmed by Whedon himself and reunited the series’ original cast to tie up most of the show’s loose ends.
Serenity debuted in theaters in August of 2005, and although there was never a sequel, both the movie and the TV series that inspired it have spawned a number of additional stories set in the Firefly ‘verse. There have been several comics series published by Dark Horse Comics and Boom! Studios that follow the exploits of the crew of Serenity, and publishers like Insight Editions and Titan Books have published numerous volumes covering every detail of the Firefly ‘verse, from handbooks and episode companions to prose novels and cookbooks. It also seems as though Firefly- and Serenity-licensed merchandise is at an all-time high. A quick online search will reveal clothing, board games, prop replicas, action figures and much more.
It’s obvious that the love of Browncoats the world over has kept Serenity relevant for nearly twenty years, so with reboots and revivals being all the rage in Hollywood these days, you’d think it would only be a matter of time until the executives at 21st Century Fox (now owned by the Walt Disney Company) decide to send Malcolm Reynolds and his crew back to the black. I’m sure if that happened, there’d be more than a few Browncoats that would be all manner of glad to see it.
I just wouldn’t be one of them.
I know what you’re thinking: “How could you say that, Chris? You’re a hardcore fan. There aren’t many folk out there whose coats have a more brownish color than yours. You’ve even spent the past seven years spearheading a movement to convince Elon Musk’s company SpaceX to name its first Crew Dragon after Serenity. Why wouldn’t you want to see Firefly on the screen again?”
Well, read on and I’ll explain.