Firefly 15th anniversary

It’s easy to forget that when Joss Whedon was hired to direct The Avengers, the decision raised some eyebrows from Hollywood’s elite. Whedon only had one movie to his name at that point, and was far better known for his work in television. But those of us who had seen Firefly, Whedon’s pulpy, ensemble-driven sci-fi western, and Serenity, the film continuation of the story, knew he had the chops to bring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes together.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the early cancellation of Firefly, and Zoic Studios, the Emmy-winning company that created the show’s visual effects, has created a video tribute to some of the best moments in the franchise. Take a quick flight back to the early 2000s and see the Serenity take flight once more in a brand new shot created specifically for this video.

Firefly 15th Anniversary

That opening shot of the ship flying over a desert landscape is brand new, created by the same team at Zoic who worked on the original series.

Zoic Studios won an Emmy for Outstanding Visual Effects for a Series with Firefly, a show with effects that were ahead of its time for television. The series pioneered the use of the snap zoom for shots of the Serenity ship as it sailed through space, providing a quick burst of cinematic energy to a scrappy-looking, hand-held, documentary-style shot. The show wasn’t successful in its early run on Fox – only eleven episodes aired on American TV before the show was cancelled, and many of its episodes were broadcast out of their intended order. But while the majority of America may not have tuned in, Hollywood was watching. That snap zoom technique was quickly adopted by everyone tons of TV shows and movies, appearing in shows like Battlestar Galactica and films like Star Trek and Man of Steel.

“If you strike a chord with fans of science-fiction adventure, they’re never going away,” Whedon once said. Fifteen years later, his words have proven truer than ever: while Whedon himself has dropped from the spotlight a little since burning out making Marvel movies, legions of loyal fans still obsess over this show. And that obsession is justified: Firefly and Serenity are full of memorable dialogue, solid VFX, and rip-roaring adventure. It’s Whedon’s riff on Star Wars, and like George Lucas before him, he took familiar elements and mixed them together to form something fresh and new.

I’m not sure if we’ll ever see a revival series of Firefly, but personally, I’m hoping it never happens. That one season of television and wonderful follow-up movie provided a perfect conclusion to that story, and I’d much rather fondly look back on them instead of having them tainted with a new attempt that fails to recapture the magic.

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