A Crashing Crane Caused Some Chaos On The Set Of Serenity

Like most people who have seen "Firefly," I was made aware of the space Western's existence long after its cancellation, which is a whole story in and of itself. Between a terrible marketing campaign and episodes airing out of chronological order, Fox never gave the series room to breathe before canceling it. It didn't even get to finish a full season before it got the axe.

As with any show that ended before its time, however, "Firefly" would become one of the largest cult sensations of the 2000s. Fans of the series lobbied long and hard for a continuation in whatever form possible. "Firefly" never got a second season, however, and it likely never will. But through a matter of transferring rights, Universal greenlit a feature film to wrap things up as best they could — "Serenity."

A lot has changed since the start of "Firefly," with series creator Joss Whedon, once the name behind some of the industry's biggest sci-fi projects, facing multiple allegations of abuse, and star Adam Baldwin going down the far right rabbit hole. Nevertheless, the legacy of "Firefly" is a complicated but fascinating slice of science fiction history. While shooting "Serenity," one of the film's action sequences led to an accident that nearly resulted in the loss of their footage.

The Reaver chase nearly cost them everything

In one of the film's most exciting action sequences, the crew of Serenity is chased by a Reaver ship after one of their heists is interrupted by the intergalactic monsters. When Baldwin was asked in an online virtual panel what his craziest memory was from his "Firefly" journey, he recounted an insane incident during the filming of "Serenity" that involved a crane while shooting this sequence.

According to Baldwin, someone on the crew had seemingly misplaced a washer that would have helped keep an integral bolt in place, which sent the luma crane smashing onto the highway along with the Panavision camera attached:

"The unexposed — thank god — roll of thousand feet of film went spinning along the highway, and Jack Green, the director of photography, he's like, 'Wait! Wait! Wait! Oh my god is anybody hurt?' nobody was hurt, thank god, 'Okay! Alright! Was that an exposed mag of film!?' No, no, new mag of film, 'Okay great we didn't lose anything. Get the steady camera on there and keep rolling! We're losing the light!'"

It's an insane double whammy that no one was hurt and that all of the footage remained intact. I've been on the other side of making sure raw film stock doesn't catch a glimpse of light, so I can only imagine the absolute terror in Green's voice as he saw it roll down the highway.

"Serenity" is currently streaming on Peacock.