So first of all, apologies on there not being an article yesterday. I was in line trying to send it off but apparently with free con wifi the deal is that when everyone is using it, NO ONE CAN REALLY USE IT. So there’s that.
First Off, Let’s Get Some Shiny Feelings Out Of The Way
Firefly. Most people have feelings about it. Personally I tend to have all the feelings because it came into my life when I was a sheltered little small town girl being raised in the church. I was struggling with these crazy intense mental and physical reactions I was having when I met cute girls, and I was also a budding writer who wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted to write. The keyboard was this thrilling and scary new beast I was doing my best to figure out how I would master.
Then I bought Firefly: The Series on the whim and my world opened up. Kaylee had her engines, Zoe toted around her Winchester Special, River was beautiful / innocent / powerful / fucked up and Inara had the female client scene I watched about five times, slack jawed, and then uttered “Holy shit I’m gay.”
I also quickly learned that that was how I wanted to write: about the family you make with only the people you’re surrounded by, where women keep up with the boys and the boys like it that way and where the story is driven by the characters, not the other way around, and the dialogue is smart and defined and the world is lush and it makes you believe and it makes you want to stay. I wanted to write like that. I was more passionate than ever about being a writer and using that to grow into my queerness.
A Campin’ (In Line) We Will Go
So when they announced that the Science Channel was having a Firefly Reunion and that it was being filmed for a team special, I, like many others, knew I had to be there.
Which meant at about 11:30 the night before when I was somewhat drunk and strolling back to my friend’s place and I saw the already staggering line that had formed, I quickly made the decision to sleep in line. I grabbed a cab, hauled ass to the hotel, packed my duffel and returned to an even longer line, relegating me to sitting on the grass with a bunch of others.
But it was alright, because we were all there for pretty much the same thing: Firefly. Not just Firefly though, most of my fellow fans were also interested in the panels that would come on beforehand (Community and Legend of Korra).
“Joss Is Boss!”
Despite the fact that it was drizzling and I was wrapped in only a coat and a blanket, I managed to get some sleep. In fact, I slept through quite possibly the coolest, most touching thing that happened: at around 2:30 in the morning, Joss showed up. He started at the front of the line, taking pictures and signing stuff (from t-shirts, to badges, to someone’s kindle). He went through the entire line, making sure everybody who was awake got something special out of the line-waiting experience (he also stepped over sleeping fans and called them “Lazy.”). Clearly he didn’t have to, but he wanted to, and after I was roused by a “Dude! Wake up! JOSS WAS HERE!” it was great to see the impression he left on everyone. We were there for something that we loved, and in turn the creator wanted to give us some love back. Everyone in line seemed filled with a sense of validation and unity afterwards.
Your Coat Is Kind Of A Brownish Color
Around six, they finally let us into the convention center and we all headed in to use the bathrooms and get dressed. A lot of Firefly shirts, a lot of earth tones and brown coats, many many cunning orange knitted caps, and a peppering of cosplay here and there (lots of Kaylees and male Jaynes, some Rivers and Mals, at least one Zoe, few lesbian Jaynes!). I had a floral dress, some tights, tall moto boots and a brown aviator jacket, which I felt was an homage to the style.
At around nine we were let in, and I found a really good seat just above the middle of the room where I could easily see both the people on stage as well as the massive screens. Community and Korra started, and I will write up about them later as they were both very excellent, but even the people on those panels knew everyone was already focusing on reaching the special event at 12:30.
The Montage Plays, The Crowd Goes Wild
When the time came, the air was electric and I had goosebumps. I felt extremely high as a montage of scenes from the show began while “Sexy and I Know it by LMFAO played and we went nuts. Jeff Jenson, the moderator, quickly came out afterwards and began to introduce the cast and crew, who were all met with great fanfare. As each one stepped onto the stage they all looked extremely surprised by how massive their reception was. At one point, Sean Maher (Dr. Simon Tam) stepped onto the stage, looked around in bewilderment, then committed himself to a particularly well-executed swoon that sent him behind the panel table.
However, when Joss finally emerged on stage the room turned from eager cheers to a passionate, singular roar as we gave him a standing ovation. As we all settled into out seats it was easy to see the entire crew of Serenity couldn’t make it (Jewel Staite, Morena Baccarin, Ron Glass and Gina Torres were not present), but having the others plus Producer Tim Minear and Writer Jose Molina was still wonderful.
“These Are The Finest Meat Puppets I Have Ever Controlled.”
The panel got underway and was more of a retrospective. Clips from pivotal scenes from the show were played and the panel was asked about the show and how it affected them. Nathan Fillion (Mal Reynolds) said he was grateful because Joss was the guy who gave him a chance to be a leading actor when everyone else cast him as ‘the boyfriend who leaves early on’ or the ‘fifth guy’. The very quiet (and teary eyed) Summer Glau explained how she tapped into her 17 year old self when she was playing River Tam.
Joss extolled the virtues of the entire cast, but singled out Tim Minear for keeping it the show alive while he was also juggling Buffy and Angel, and Nathan for being the captain on set and making sure the rest of the crew meshed and did their best (it made Nathan tear up). Sean Maher explained how he was won over by the beauty of the concept because Joss explained the entire thing to him himself. Jose Molina was grateful to have written on the show because it was one of the first gigs he had coming out of being a writing assistant for the longest time.
Adam Baldwin (Jayne) talked about the infamous cunning hat so many had on, how it was knitted by a woman in the office, how he fought to wear it for the entire episode and also gave one away (to a very appreciative Kaylee). Alan Tudyk (Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburn) explained how Nathan forced everyone from cast and crew to get to know one another by making up the incredibly competitive game Who Can Learn The Most Names. And during Q & A we learned that is Joss had known the show was being cancelled and had time to wrap it up on TV we would have gotten more Blue Sun, Book and Inara’s backstory, and someone in particular wouldn’t have gotten skewered through the chest with a giant spike (at that point Alan threw both hands in the air and rejoiced).
“Quick! (Sean) Say Something Intelligent!” “I Think You Have A Fever?”
The cast was also incredibly silly the entire time, with obvious hams Alan and Nathan stealing the spotlight as they goofed around. There was no shortage of the two interrupting the panel (and Joss) with their ridiculousness by making faces, quipping, Nathan whipping out his Mal pistol and at one point even acting out ‘Firefly The Radio Show’ in which Mal ordered Wash to the bridge so he could seduce Zoe. Adam Baldwin took his Jayne hat and put it on his mic, and was delighted to find it still worked so he talked into the hat for a short while. Summer also got Sean in trouble by doing something behind the table that caused him to crack up. It turned into a chain reaction of us all laughing at him trying to compose himself and failing miserably, which interrupted Joss who assumed it was Nathan doing something silly, who then ratted out Sean, who at that point burst out laughing and said it was all Summer’s fault. It was so good to see them all close with one another after all these years, as well as hearing they still get together and are working on projects together (Joss just wrapped post on his Shakespearian movie Much Ado About Nothing, which Nathan and Sean are both in as Dogberry and Don John).
“They Are The Biggest Selling Books Of All Time.”
Some small announcements for the ‘Verse also happened. We learned that despite being slightly busy due to directing that epic movie, Joss is still working on getting out more Firefly stories through Darkhorse Comics (it is their best selling title). He and his brother Jed are working on more stories that touch on the backstory of each character like the best selling Shepherd Book comic. However, he also said that they have begun brainstorming some very cool comics that move the story forward in the comics. It was met with a a big round of applause, and my heart felt all tight in my chest because as a comics writer I have been saying for a long ass time comics is the best medium to continue Firefly in.
“Do You Remember The Time When We Were Off The Air For 10 Years And Thousands Of People Showed Up To See Us Anyway?”
The entire time we sat through the panel the most prominent thing that was felt was the appreciation towards the fans. The love in the room was immense. Everyone on the panel deeply thanked us for being there, and talked about how the fan base resurrected the show into the movie (Which Joss considers “One of the finest nervous breakdowns a man has every had.”). More than once Nathan and Joss got choked up and had to compose themselves.
But they saved the best for last. First, the lights dimmed and the clip of the pilot aired where Mal sits Simon down and says the famous “Still flyin'” quote where Simon responds, it’s “not much,” and Mal say’s “It’s enough.”
Our moderator then asked Joss how “Still flyin'” became a mantra to the fan base and what the fans meant to him. His eyes turned red and he got teary to the point of being unable to speak, and then Nathan started crying as well as Joss attempted to compose himself. We filled the gap by making some noise ourselves — everyone stood to give Whedon another standing ovation. Some screamed with joy and appreciation, many yelled “We love you Joss!”, and most of us, including Summer onstage, were reduced to tears with them. Sean and Summer hugged while Adam tapped his heart to show how he felt as we cheered the man on. It was a beautiful moment to be apart of, and after awhile Whedon grabbed the mic and looked at us all and said this:
Only an idiot would actually try to follow that with a sentence. When you come out of a great movie, you feel like you’re in that world. You come out of ‘Brazil,’ and suddenly everything is duct piping and everything’s weird and too much. You come out of certain things, and the world has become that. when you’re telling a story, you’re trying to connect to people in a particular way… The way in which you guys have inhabited this world, this universe, have made you part of it, part of the story. You are living in ‘Firefly.’ When I see you guys, I don’t think the show is off the air. I don’t think there’s a show. I think, that’s what the world is like. I think there are spaceships, there are horses, and our story is alive.