Alan Tudyk And Nathan Fillion Have Differing Thoughts On A Firefly Reboot

"Firefly," created by Joss Whedon -— the once-venerated-now-ousted genre TV guru behind "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and writer/director of two "Avengers" movies — was one of the more peculiar bits of cult phenomena of the early 2000s. The show only ran a single season, and its episodes were broadcast out of order, giving the small audience of interested viewers narrative whiplash. The premise was far too complicated to communicate in such a fashion, and despite some charming characters and fun actors, the show ultimately never stood firm in the eyes of the Nielsen ratings and toppled over in December of 2002. 

After its cancelation — thanks to massive DVD sales — the myth of "Firefly" only grew, and a huge cult audience began to form around it. Catchphrases from the show began to leak into the geek vernacular, and fans gave themselves a nickname: Browncoats. Board games were authored in its honor. Comics were written. "Firefly" became the poster child of quality TV shows that were canceled before their time. By 2005, interest had grown enough that Universal Pictures gave the green light to a "Firefly" feature film called "Serenity." The film, written and directed by Whedon, was intended to be a condensed version of what the second season of "Firefly" was meant to look at. "Serenity" underperformed

Little, however, has discouraged enthused Browncoats from talking about a return of "Firefly" ad infinitum. Every time the cast reunited at a Comic Con or for an EW retrospective photospread, the question will be asked if "Firefly" will return. In a 2015 interview with Esquire, two of the show's stars, Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk, were asked for the 100th time about a return. Fillion felt that "Serenity" closed the book on "Firefly." Tudyk thinks a reboot is still possible. 

Fillion's view

The premise of "Firefly" is difficult to sum up succinctly: In the 24th century, the galaxy just fought in a massive Civil War wherein the scrappy Rebels were overcome by the bureaucratic Alliance. Ex-rebel Mal Reynolds (Fillion) makes a living in the post-war world by smuggling contraband on board his scrappy spacecraft. His crew includes his co-captain, a priest, a tough guy, a horny engineer, a sex worker (sex work is highly respected in this world, although Mal regularly pooh-poohs it), and a snarky pilot named Wash (Tudyk). Additionally, Mal is hosting a shy doctor and his sister aboard after she was rescued from some kind of creepy government laboratory that was enhancing her psychic abilities. The show in general is a sci-fi version of the Old West with some high-tech conspiracy thrown in. 

After 14 episodes of a TV show and a feature film, Fillion feels that he and his fellow cast members said all they need to say. There may be more stories that could be mined from the premise, but they had their shot.

"I honestly don't think that there's going to be another Firefly iteration. I had an amazing time on 'Firefly.' It was the best job I'd ever had. It was a lot of firsts for me, and it was the most incredible collection of people I'd ever had the pleasure to work with. And when it was torn away from me so abruptly, I was quite literally broken-hearted. But I had a chance to go back in the biggest way possible with a major motion picture. We all did. So we were able to have a nice kind of final goodbye. We had closure, which is more than a lot of people with canceled shows can say."

Tudyk's view

Tudyk, meanwhile, seems to think more can be done with the "Firefly" premise. Ironic as his character was one of a handful that didn't live through the events of "Serenity" (and "Firefly is not the kind of sci-fi universe that has access to resurrection tech). Tudyk envisions a revisit wherein Mal is now the age Fillion is and has to be roped back into his former smuggling career. This is not so terrible an idea if one considers "Firefly" to be a western. Returning to a life of Old West gunplay is, after all, the premise of "Tombstone," of "Unforgiven," of multiple classics of the genre. An aged Mal, according to Tudyk, would be a great opening to more. He said: 

"I'm for a Firefly reboot, personally. But it's going to have to be in a while. It's going to take a little time. I like the idea of it in another 10 years or so. We can pick up with Captain Mal, living on a moon somewhere ... You showed me this idea, Nathan. Was it a fan fiction or something? Anyway, it picks up in another 10 years, so Mal's going to be a little bit older. And someone comes knocking on his door and says, 'You're needed.' Really, you just need the Captain. Then he can put the band back together. And you're going to need some young people, because at that point you're going to be old."

Fillion then joked that Tudyk could return as Wash's long-lost twin brother. 

With every passing day, it's less and less likely that "Firefly" will return, since its chances have been hurt all the more by mounting stories of Whedon's bad behavior. But, then, geekdom is persistent. However unlikely, a Disney+ reboot may still be in the cards.