Joss Whedon's short-lived sci-fi series Firefly has been off the air for seven years, and its feature-film follow-up, Serenity, has been out for four, but the pain of the show's passing still smarts. While Serenity provided much-needed closure, it only made us love/miss Firefly all the more, so when we saw that a behind-the-scenes book of photos, props, artwork and original stories was coming out, we made sure to get ahold of it. Firefly: Still Flying comes out on May 25 from Titan Books, but we've already read it cover to cover. And you know what? We learned some stuff we didn't know about one of our favorite shows ever. Prepare for information upload!
1. There's a New Firefly Movie Coming!
...Kind of. Joss Whedon has given his blessing to a fan film, Browncoats: Redemption, which chronicles the adventures of another transport ship crew in the post-Serenity 'verse. Since the film is not-for-profit, with all proceeds going to charity, they've had to rely on volunteer crew members and free shooting time at Wild West theme parks. This sounds like it could be entertaining in soooo many extremely different ways.
2. Jayne's Dead
In one of four new stories written by former Firefly writers, we visit a cranky old Mal Reynolds, who's turned the Serenity over to Zoe and retired, unable to deal with the attention the events of the movie brought to him. In the story, he finds out that Jayne, who embraced the attention and became a hero millionaire, went to bed drunk with his gun Vera and accidentally shot himself in his sleep. On the bright side, Simon and Kaylee have gotten married and have two brilliant kids. Although we're a little worried that Auntie River is their babysitter...
3. We Almost Got "Bad Horse" Six Years Early
One story idea Whedon had for Firefly was for mutant animals to run rampant on a planet. The plan was that cow DNA -- shipped to distant farm planets to be grown, rather than real cows -- would somehow get corrupted. However, Whedon had pre-emptively assumed the network would make him choose a different, more exciting animal, like a horse. Mutant, man-eating horses running amok? Hopefully, this story idea will feature prominently in any Dr. Horrible sequel.
4. Fillion is a Major Prankster
Not only did Nathan Fillion kidnap the propmaster's toy monkey and send it on an Amelie-style cross-country journey with his parents, he also put hand lotion on the door handle of Jewel Staite's trailer and got ahold of several embarrassing childhood pictures of Alan Tudyk, sticking them on the walls at Wash's wake. Do not turn your back on Nathan Fillion.
5. Their Guns Were Flashlights
The Firefly props department made some new, space-age guns for the show, but many were pre-existing props from L.A. prop rental houses. One such gun, the "Lassiter" (named for Pixar animator John Lasseter) from the episode "Trash," had been around for at least a decade, and was made out of an old, rechargeable flashlight attached to a toy pistol grip.
6. Kaylee and Inara are Besties
Not only do actresses Jewel Staite and Morena Baccarin have the same birthday, Baccarin was also the maid of honor at Staite's wedding. However, to shock people on set, they would often say incredibly mean things to each other. Example: "I am so sick of looking at your face." Yikes.
7. Half the Crew Was From Buffy and Angel
We knew that some of Whedon's established writers transitioned to the new series, but the stunt coordinator? The location manager? Even the stand-in for Fillion and Adam Baldwin had spent three years standing in for David Boreanaz on Angel before getting this gig. We're surprised there was anyone left to run the other shows.
8. Actors Get the Best Souvenirs
When actor Ron Glass left the show, he was given Shepherd Book's Holy Bible, the one that had been personally annotated by Summer Glau in character as River Tam. That's kind of cool, but Adam Baldwin got the best present of all -- the head of his statue from the episode "Jaynestown." Both items were later auctioned off for charity.
9. A Firefly Musical Episode Was Not Implausible
No, Whedon wasn't planning one or anything like that, but the musically inclined showrunner apparently likes to sing on set, and during one break in shooting he started singing the theme from Oklahoma! Immediately, Nathan Fillion, Fillion's stand-in and a half-dozen others joined in, and they sang the whole song through before returning to work. We're imagining a hallucinatory coolant leak on board the Serenity, with feelings expressed through song and, in River's case, interpretive dance.
10. Firefly Has Been Watched in Space
It's only to be expected that there are astronauts who like Firefly; they are, after all, mostly übernerd scientists who love space. But to have actual photographic evidence of "Browncoat" astronaut Steven Swanson and his DVD boxed set floating in zero-G is one giant leap for nerddom.
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