At New York Comic Con the queuing hall leading into the IGN was packed and you could feel the energy of the crowd. This wasn’t over the excitement of The Walking Dead panel taking place and shown on big screens, this was in anticipation for the Firefly 10th Anniversary Special event hosted taking place after. Hosted by Entertainment Weekly’s Kyle Anderson the panel started with cast members Jewel Staite and Sean Maher. Nathan Fillion joined in by phone, but after some audio issues, the actor revealed himself causing the crowd and two actors he joined to burst out in excitement. This was the type of honest spontaneous emotion and reaction that peppered a panel celebrating a show that was canceled after running just 1 season.
And the cancellation was brought up numerous times by Anderson in the beginning much to the playful joking and irritation of the actors on stage. And boy did that topic dominate the first round of discussion. You could tell there was some pouring of salt on wounds, but it’s important to talk about. One wonders how the show would have fared if it had continued longer. That discussion lead into the first clip from the show the panel was there to pitch. The clip was the actors talking about…. cancellation.
The panel really was a pitch for the upcoming Science Channel anniversary event which airs November 11, but watching the actors interact and reactions to questions, you could feel the appreciation and amazement they feel towards the fans of the television show referred to as Browncoats. It was very much a celebration. While Fillion said they know it was a “special experience” and that the show was an “underdog” their validation and proof it was as cool as they thought, was the fandom that followed and coming to packed crowds at convention after convention.
Staite said the day of the cancellation was the first time she’d ever seen creator Joss Whedon angry and clearly shaken. All of the actors praised Whedon working with him made them better at their craft. Maher said there was no script when he came on board and that Whedon’s enthusiasm when they met is what sold him. Staite said she wanted to play River Tam as it was a meatier role but Whedon had a vision for her to play Kaylee. Fillion said he had a deal with 20th Century Fox and was forced upon Whedon. They chatted for 45 minutes and Whedon had ever detail worked out. This sold Fillion on the role and series.
Maher praised Fillion for his leadership on the set saying he really set the tone for the series. Fillion knew everyone’s name and made it a fun experience. Fillion following up in discussing if he’d knew the experience would really be a “family” experience. Fillion, choking up and fighting back tears, responded “you can’t imagine that.”
I’ve never watched Firefly, but the fun those three actors exuded on stage and the warmth and excitement that glowed from the audience, I think I might finally find out what I’ve been missing.