Things don't stay dead for long in Joss Whedon's world. That includes the ''Buffy the Vampire Slayer'' and ''Angel'' creator's short-lived Fox sci-fi series, ''Firefly.'' Variety reports that the 2002 show has been resurrected, with its original cast intact, as a big-screen feature. Universal has greenlit the project, called ''Serenity'' after the spaceship where the show took place.
Whedon told Variety that the title change is meant to distance the film from the TV version. ''It was important that people understand that the movie isn't the series,'' he said. ''The movie is bigger, more epic than anything you can do in a series.'' He also said that the movie would be accessible to those who didn't catch the 11 episodes of ''Firefly'' (that is, pretty much everyone). ''You're not going to bring people into a movie if you're explaining all the time what happened before,'' he said. As Whedon cultists know, the show was about a ragtag group of space travelers 500 years in the future. The movie will take place six months after the events of the last episode, centering on two passengers aboard the Serenity who make trouble for the crew. Whedon will direct the movie in June, with an eye toward a 2005 release.