It’s no secret that the titles, characters, and games that are popular at comic conventions aren’t necessarily the same as what the general public is into. Never is this more evident than when you see the reaction the stars of Firefly and Serenity get when they enter a room full of their faithful convention fans. This weekend saw two panels featuring some of the stars of the show play out to big crowds at New York Comic Con. The first wasn’t actually for Firefly at all. On Friday evening, Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion were featured in a panel for the web series, Con Man, which tells the story of an actor who works the convention circuit after starring as the pilot of a spaceship on a short lived cult sci-fi show. Tudyk based it on many of his real life experiences. The two actors then accompanied Gina Torres and Jewel Staite on stage Saturday for a Firefly reunion panel. The two events combined for a great dose of nostalgia and looking forward for fans.
Con Man Among His People at NYCC
After the reception that Con Man received when Tudyk, Fillion, and co-producer PJ Haarsma launched the crowd-funding campaign in March, it should be no surprise that fans jumped at the chance to see the series’ stars at NYCC. Felicia Day, Seth Green, Nolan North, and Allison Haislip joined Tudyk, Fillion, and Haarsma on stage. Personally, I would watch a TV show of just Tudyk and Fillion having trivial conversations. They are that funny together. But in addition to the laughs, Tudyk repeatedly thanked the crowd that included some of the 46,000 people who donated to the Indiegogo campaign that made the show a reality. In an example of how Con Man mirrors Tudyk’s life, a clip from the show had his character recording cowardly lines for a video game. Apparently this was loosely based on when he and Fillion both worked on Halo 3. When discussing their lines after the fact, they discovered that Fillion’s were all brave, macho lines and Tudyk’s were much weaker by comparison.
It’s these experiences that make the show work so well. Plus Tudyk brought in his friends whenever possible. The dynamic for the panel showed that these were more than just costars. The rest of the cast on hand were asked questions about other projects, which makes sense. For a show that plays on going to conventions and meeting fans of past jobs, why would this actual convention be any different? When Fillion’s hit show Castle came up, he and Tudyk joked that they want Tudyk to turn up on the show as a different writer following a different detective. So essentially he wants to play a “Bizarro” Castle. ABC, make that happen.
But no matter which costars came with him, this was Tudyk’s night. Just like Con Man is Tudyk’s show. On several occasions the fans would get up to the microphone to address the panel and compliment Fillion and Castle and his other projects before dismissing him to ask Tudyk a question. This drew quite a few laughs from the audience and the panel. After being a sort of sidekick to Fillion’s Captain Mal on Firefly, there seemed to be some level of justice in that. Con Man is available on Vimeo.
Firefly Cast Get Their ‘Just Desserts’ at Sold Out Panel
Opening up the main stage on Saturday, the Firefly reunion panel met a full crowd at NYCC. It’s been 10 years since Serenity, the movie sequel to Firefly, hit theaters. But fans don’t need a reason to celebrate their favorite space western. Tudyk wasn’t listed as a guest for the panel, but was able to show up for the first part of the discussion before leaving to work on Con Man. Fillion, Torres, and Staite had plenty of fun behind-the-scenes stories to hold the crowd over when he left. From learning that Staite never listened to the cassette tapes with her Chinese dialogue to that one time Tudyk and Torres snuggled up in the bed of their characters while waiting for the crew to set up the scene, there was tons of reminiscing. It was interesting to hear that when the cast first read the script for Serenity they thought writer/director Joss Whedon was killing them all off.
As with any panel that deals predominately with fan questions, the tone of the discussion was quite sporadic. What’s your favorite dessert? (Staite likes a lot of them.) If Mal Reynolds and Han Solo walk into a bar, who walks out? (Fillion says, “everyone else.”) But the most important question is still just a dream. All three cast members who remained at this point said that if somehow a Firefly season two went into production they would all return as full time cast members. They even seemed downright defiant about the possibility of handing the reins to a new cast.
But at this point the closest we’ll get to a season two is either the extended Firefly comic book universe or watching the meta reality of Con Man, which features almost the entire Firefly cast in some capacity. But one thing is for sure; us fans still act like we’re seeing an old friend when a cast member turns up in another TV show or movie. There is only one word to describe seeing this cast together again: “Shiny!”