“I’m a leaf on the wind. Watch how I soar.”
Ten years ago today, Firefly fans got to revisit Joss Whedon’s ‘verse one final time with the release of Serenity. To those like me who were still mourning the loss, two years before, of our favorite TV show, the movie represented, here in the real world, one of the big themes of the show: hope. Maybe the movie would be a commercial success. Maybe the hordes of people who never had the chance to find the show would line up in the theaters to see the movie. Maybe those jerks at FOX would be at last proven terribly, horribly wrong, and some other network would capitalize on FOX’s mistake and bring back Firefly.
The movie was well liked by critics. NPR’s Ken Tucker told readers to “go see Joss Whedon’s witty whizbang of an action movie or we will kill a kitten.” My own local critic, the Sacramento Bee’s Jim Lane, said that “[t]he movie is a sci-fi buccaneer swashbuckler; Whedon hits all the obligatory space-opera notes, and he does it with a degree of verbal wit and agile pacing that could teach George Lucas a thing or two,” while the BBC’s Jonathan Trout named it “the blockbuster you’ve been waiting for all year.” The movie holds an 82% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 74/100 Metascore.
Moviegoers, though, were less impressed, and the film flopped at the box office. It cost an estimated $40 million and would only gross just over half that, pulling in only $25 million domestically.
And so everyone involved went on to other things. Nathan Fillion, of course, is now in his eighth season as Richard Castle. Gina Torres is in her sixth season on USA’s Suits. Alan Tudyk seems to pop up just about everywhere, most recently in last week’s Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. After two seasons on Homeland, Morena Baccarin is now entering her second season on Gotham (and recently announced she’s pregnant with a child with Gotham co-star Benjamin McKenzie). Adam Baldwin spent five years on Chuck and now stars on TNT’s The Last Ship, recently renewed for its third season. Jewel Staite spent four years on Stargate: Atlantis and another on The Killing. Sean Maher has been the voice of Dick Grayson on several direct-to-video Batman and Robin movies and is in his second season on Eastsiders. Summer Glau played a Terminator in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, appeared in Whedon’s Dollhouse, and has had steady work guest-starring on other shows including Arrow. Ron Glass spent five years voicing Randy Carmichael in the Rugrats follow-up All Grown Up, and has made a few appearances in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Whedon, of course, went on to direct both Avengers movies.
Even though 2005 marked the end of seeing these characters on screen, Firefly has refused to die, recently spawning board games, posters, two different sets of action figures, an online video game, and even stuffed toys.
And of course, it will always live on in the hearts of those of us who so loved these characters and this universe Whedon created. Try as they might, the suits in Hollywood can’t stop the signal.
Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she’s hurtin’ ‘fore she keens. Makes her a home. – Malcolm Reynolds