Another turn around the sun, another hope for the return of Joss Whedon’s beloved Firefly. This year’s tendril of possibility comes courtesy of a statement made by Fox Broadcasting’s President of Entertainment (what a job title!) David Madden at January’s Television Critics’ Association panel, where TV networks typically reveal the ideas they’re working on for the coming year. According to Rotten Tomatoes:
…Madden said he’d be open to a Firefly reboot if Joss Whedon himself wanted to revisit it. Madden suspects Whedon is now too busy with movies, and he would not consider doing Firefly without Whedon.
Sounds great! Except…I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t?
It’s been more than ten years since Serenity and we’re not exactly starved for plucky spacefaring entertainment these days. (Really the only thing we’re missing is a Star Trek television show, and even that’s rushing to get on the bus before it leaves the station.) In my grumpiest hours, more Big Damn Heroes just feels like Another Damn Thing to pore over. The show’s stars have all moved far beyond the show itself, content to look back upon it fondly, acknowledging that the spark that made Firefly so immediately appealing back in 2002 has come and gone.
But does that mean that sci-fi fans have moved on from wanting more stories with the same themes, the same feeling, as Firefly? For those of us who caught the show the first time around, who gloried in seeing these scrappy, beleaguered spacers win small (and one very big) victories under the heel of a government that gave no shits about them, Firefly feels more relevant than ever. For younger sci-fi fans who are probably, for the first time in their lives, encountering real life institutions that give no shits about them, Firefly could provide an important and hilarious catharsis.
Also: In 2016 I fell crazy in love with Becky Chambers’ new book A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The reason? It’s really really REALLY Firefly in book form.
So really I do want more Firefly, don’t I? I want to jump back into The ‘Verse. I want to see the struggle continue, the signal repeat.
I just don’t need that to be through the crew of Serenity at this point. It’s been over ten years, after all. It’s a big ‘Verse and I’m sure there’s a new ragtag bunch wandering around out there in a ridiculously small but charming junker, trying to stay one step ahead of whatever bull the Alliance is trying to foist upon them now. Maybe there’s a renewed Browncoat uprising? Maybe there’s a spooky, secret-holding Tam who happens to be a key player in it? What’s Zoe and Wash’s young teen kid up to? Did Simon and Kaylee last? How many seasons did the Fruity Oaty Bar Variety Hour churn out? Is Mal out there? Somewhere?
So…yes. Even so many years later: bring back Firefly. But let’s think of Firefly now as less a ridiculously charming crew, and something more akin to Star Trek. A ‘Verse that continues to unfold even when we’re not looking.
Time to look for the next generation?