Fox Is “Wide Open” to Bringing Back Firefly, but Some Barriers Remain

Within the world of science fiction television, it seems as though there’s one series above all that most fans would want to see a return to: Joss Whedon’s Firefly. Running in 2002 on Fox with a meager 13 episodes, the series came to an abrupt end, only to gain a fervent fanbase when the series was released on DVD.

At the winter Television Critics Association, the topic of a Firefly revival came up with the inevitable question directed at Fox executives: have they considered a return to the ‘verse? The answer was: yes. And they’re “wide open” on the possibility, “if there’s a way to reinvent it for today so it’s as resonate now as the original was.”

Moreover, it looks as though Fox had considered putting together some sort of revival recently, with Fox President of Entertainment Michael Thorne telling TheWrap that it might have happened, had they not already had a space series on the air: The Orville:

“It had come up before, but we had ‘The Orville’ on the air and it didn’t make sense for us to have, as a broadcast network who is very targeted, to have two space franchises on our air.”

The Wrap points out that The Orville will move over to Hulu for its third season, potentially removing that obstacle. But before Firefly fans start celebrating, it doesn’t look as though anything will happen anytime soon. Joss Whedon is busy with an HBO series, The Nevers, producer Tim Minear is working on Fox’s series 9-1-1, and cast members such as Nathan Fillion are currently leading ABC’s The Rookie.

But Fox isn’t ruling a revival out, noting that the show’s dedicated fanbase is a huge boost, and that they’d need to find the right story. “I would love to see, like, an eight- or 10-episode limited adventure in that universe,” Minear told The Wrap, also noting that it would be difficult to get the entire cast back together. “We have talked about different permutations and how that might work. Do you take two of the characters and put them in a different place and sort of retell a new story with two old characters, with new characters?”

People have talked about that idea before: just a couple of years ago, Fox’s then-President of Entertainment David Madden saying that they’d be open to a reboot “if Joss Whedon himself wanted to revisit it.” Tor.com noted at the time that a good reboot of Firefly would have to go beyond just picking up where the series and film left off, potentially following a new crew set in the same world, much as Star Trek: The Next Generation continued in the tradition of the original Star Trek.

In the drive for content and picking up older shows for new audiences, a revival of Firefly seems almost inevitable. Indeed, there’s been a recent effort to continue the series outside of television, with Boom! Comics relaunching the Firefly comic series, and with Titan Books releasing a handful of tie-in novels approved by Whedon. And, a limited series that returns to the world would be an ideal fit for a streaming platform like Hulu or Disney+. Hopefully, Fox will keep that door wide open while it waits for the stars to align just right.

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