Browncoats, get ready to read about a great Firefly reunion panel. Below is EW.com’s live blog of Science Channel’s Firefly session, which includes how the cult favorite would have ended if creator Joss Whedon knew Fox was set to cancel the show, and a closing question that might be this year’s most emotional moment at the fan convention. Also, see our Firefly reunion photos here.
Let’s take off:
12:44: This is the loudest Ballroom 20 crowd I’ve ever joined and the Firefly team hasn’t even taken the stage yet! About 10,000 people reportedly lined up to get in, with many camping overnight. Whedon himself stopped by in the middle of the night.
12:48: Late start. Cast is introduced. Screaming galore. Smiles, hugs. The whole panel could just be them standing there getting applause.
12:50: EW’s own Jeff Jensen moderates the panel. He asks Joss what it means to be here today. “Means I’m running on fumes, let’s face it,” he jokes. “We always knew from the very beginning we were doing for the right reasons, in the right way, the right way … and had the best cast I ever worked with – and we also have Alan [Tudyk]. Vindication came a long time ago. It goes to a place of transcendence that I cannot describe without becoming a girly-man.”
12:51: Star Nathan Fillion gets the same question: “If I get though this without crying, I’ll look a lot cooler. Nobody would give me a chance to be other than No. 5 guy, the lead girl’s ex. ‘He’s good but we don’t know if he can carry a show.’ Joss Whedon was the guy. He gave me the best character I ever played.”
12:56: “It was a dream come true writing on this show and completely heartbreaking when it went away,” recalls writer Jose Molina.
12:57: Sean Maher recalled learning about his part: “All I had was that Simon speech in the pilot to go on. So I got to hear it all come from this [Whedon’s’] mouth. I’ve never thought of it as a sci-fi show. I don’t know who coined the phrase post-apocalyptic Western but that’s what the show has been for me.”
1:02: Adam Baldwin brings out his knit hat from the show. “Jane was a man of few words but had a lot of props, so I worked a lot with the prop guys.”
1:09: Summer Glau is asked what was the key to her character: “Remembering myself at 17, which was two years before, that was pretty much it,” she says. The question is turned over to Joss and Summer warns him that it’s too late to change anything, she already got the role. “George Lucas could digital [change the character],” he jokes. “I’m not saying we’ve had a meeting.” Then he gets serious: “Summer is so crazy… I would come with her if I want to live.”
1:12: Whedon is asked what made Fillion perfect for the role. “I know no matter what I say he’s going to make a face that will change the context of whatever I say. There was never a moment from the time we met that I did not think he was the captain. And anybody who knows the history of what happened since, up to a party three weeks ago, Nathan is the captain. He makes sure everybody is having the best time and doing their best work – it’s a responsibility for the star of the show that most actors aren’t up to or ignore. When he looks at you and he’s not happy with you – we had a visiting actor who was very disrespectful to the females of the cast. And he got a little taste of what Nathan is like when his loved ones are threatened.”
1:17: Fan question: “What’s your favorite crazy fan story?” “A woman walked up to Whedon and made to speak and broke down into tears,” Fillion said. “I kicked her,” Whedon jokes. Executive producer Tim Minear has a great response: “Remember the time we were off the air for 10 years and thousands of people showed up to see us?”
11:22: News! More Firefly comics coming from Dark Horse. “We’ve figured out how to do some comics moving forward,” Whedon says. “We started talking about it and came up with all sorts of cool s–t.”
1:25: Firefly animated series? “I get it, but for some reason I would be more interested in doing it as a radio show,” Whedon says, which is followed by some improv by Fillion and Tudyk.
1:30: “When Firefly died, I thought it was the worst thing that could possible happen,” Fillion said. “Now I realize the worst thing that could happen is that if it stayed dead” – he gestures to the thousands of people in the crowed. “That it died is okay.”
1:32: A fan asks if any of the cast have ever camped out for anything. Whedon gives an awesome one-word reply: “Camping.”
1:33: A fan asks how Firefly would have ended if Joss had known it was going to be canceled: “I don’t think I would have killed anybody,” Joss says and Tudyk raises his hands in victory. “A film is a different animal and has different needs,” Whedon continues. “We would have learned about the Blue Sun conspiracy, Inara and Shepherd Book.”
1:35: Jensen asks Whedon what the Firefly fans have meant to him. What happens next is one of the most emotional moments I’ve seen at Comic-Con. Whedon struggles, or seems to, for the right words.
Somebody in the crowd yells out, “We love you!”
Whedon hears this, struggles some more.
And the crowd begins to applaud. And stand up. Soon the entire room is giving a roaring ovation. The cast stands too. It’s possibly the most perfect way to end the panel.
Whedon takes the microphone.
“Only an idiot would try to follow that with a sentence,” he says.
That’s precisely what I was thinking, but then Whedon follows with this:
“When you come out of a great movie, you feel like you’re in that world. When you’re telling a story, you’re trying to connect to people in a particular way. It’s about inviting them into a world. The way you’ve inhabited this world, this universe, you have become part of it. When I see you guys, I don’t think the show is off the air. I think there’s spaceships and horses – the story is alive.”
UPDATE: After the panel, the Firefly cast stopped by EW.com’s suite at the Hard Rock for a chat. Check out that interview below:
UPDATE 2: The panel is now online!