Guest contributor Nathan May developed an interest in science fiction when he was introduced to Star Wars at age 4. At age 7, he saw his first episode of “Doctor Who” and he’s been fascinated by wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff ever since.
Nathan lives in Richardson, Texas and loves drawing, reading, and acting.
If you were driving around downtown Dallas mid-May, there’s a chance that you did a double take upon seeing the wild outfits donned by the hordes of people on the streets and sidewalks. Many of them were dressed up as monsters or superheroes, others had TARDIS bags or Star Trek t-shirts; but in abundance by far were the quaint orange and yellow hats, complete with ear flaps on the side and pom poms on top. Now, these hats would be a questionable fashion choice even in cold weather, but for all these people to be wearing them during the spring could mean only one thing: Firefly.
This weekend’s Dallas Comic-Con (which was actually held in Dallas this time) saw the glorious cast reunion of the cult hit show Firefly, with all but Alan Tudyk and Morena Baccarin attending. Such a big event drew crazy crowds in from all around, with tons of eager Browncoats excited to get autographs, pictures with the cast, and of course see the sure-to-be legendary experience of the Firefly Q&A panel. With the panel being at 12:00pm, I assumed it would be safe to arrive around 10:30am to get in. Boy, am I glad that I didn’t arrive any later than that. There was a seemingly infinite stream of people lined up to see the cast of their favorite show. I admit, I honestly thought that they would run out of room in the hall and I wouldn’t make it in; there were thousands of people in line, and they only had so many chairs. But the volunteers at the convention this year did a wonderful job (Seriously, props to the volunteers. I dropped my wallet at Christopher Lloyd’s Q&A. They found it and took it straight to the lost and found; all of my money still there) of squeezing people in so that we all got the experience we so deeply desired. Even after the 4,500 seats were filled, they let at the very least 1,000 more people in and allowed them to stand at the back and watch.
It began as they all did, with us watching the same trailers that we had been been sitting through for the entire weekend a few more times, but then we all got a pleasant surprise. Joss Whedon, the creator of Firefly, sent us and the cast a special video message expressing his appreciation and wishing he’d been told this was happening so that he could have attended. It was a really special treat, and an excellent start to the event. Unfortunately, I guess you could say that things sort of fell apart after that.
The cast began strutting out, each member was met with thunderous applause and cheering. Gina Torres (Zoe) walked out, met by further applause and cheering. Anticipation swelled in the hall as we all stood on the tips of our toes, ready to get a good look at Captain Malcolm Reynolds (played by Nathan Fillion). Gina ran to the curtain and with a dramatic jerk she pulled it open, revealing Nathan Fillion. Nathan stepped out and we began to cheer once more, but that cheering quickly turned into screams and gasps as the curtain fell on top of him.
As usual, our captain was able to escape with his life, proceeding to cling to Gina in “fear” after his near death encounter (I doubt there was much real danger, it was mostly just frightening).
After settling down, they began greeting us. They started some fun banter and began telling fun stories. All of the cast was pleasant, but I’m going to say that Nathan, Jewel, and Sean had the most control over the crowd; they were a pleasure to watch and I would’ve gladly listened to them share stories for a week straight. Ron was overjoyed and overwhelmed by the whole thing, and seemed like he was about to crack up the whole time, which was very adorable and fun to watch. Gina and Adam were also charismatic and both cracked some hilarious jokes, but they were the ones who delivered the more meaningful and serious stories and speeches.
On the other hand, Summer Glau seemed to be pretty shy, and said maybe five sentences the whole time. Everyone shared stories of how fans had told them about Firefly saving their lives, but just as Jewel was sharing a heartfelt speech about the show’s impact, the curtains struck once more. This time it was to the left of the panel, reportedly crashing down into some people in the first few rows, but leaving everyone unharmed. The orange shirts ran like crazy trying to fix things as the crowd freaked out. Eventually things calmed down, and the volunteers were able to subdue the curtains’ wild rage.
The audience questions got off to a hilarious start, with a young child asking “How come adults make such a big deal about Firefly? I don’t get it!” Which was met with roars of laughter, disapproval, and cheering all at once. Gina responded quickly, asking “Can somebody please have her escorted out?” Once the laughter died down, Fillion answered the question: “[Firefly] is so many things to so many people; there’s a little something for everyone. But most of all… There’s me”. After more laughter he apologized for his vanity; he gave a more serious answer about how it’s about a group of people who have always got each other’s backs, he explained “Your parents always have your back, and you won’t realize it till you’re much older” Then with a grin he jokingly added “because you take it for granted because you’re just a pain in the ass.” to which we erupted once more. I just hope the kid didn’t take too much offense to it! But seriously, how cool is it going to be for that kid to tell people when she’s older? I sure wish I could tell folks that Nathan Fillion sassed me in front of thousands of people!
Lots of people were upset that Alan Tudyk wasn’t able to make an appearance at the convention due to his commitments in Australia, but that leaf blowing in the wind found a way to soar into the panel, even if for a brief amount of time. Nathan Fillion called and then Facetimed Alan so that he could say a few words. The connection was fairly terrible, what with him being on the other side of the world and the convention center not getting great reception, but the few confused words that we got to hear Alan mutter were more than satisfying. The cast answered some more questions, giving their opinions on fanart and fan fiction (specifically Simon and Jayne fanfiction) and then they shared their favorite Joss moments.
Jewel and Sean shared a hilarious story about a time when they met up with Joss after a convention in London. I doubt I could do the story any justice by typing it out, but let’s just say it involves them getting drunk, and Joss Whedon in a turban. There was even a woman in the audience who was at the convention where this story took place, and she confirmed how amazing it was.
The next question is one that I think anyone who ever goes to see a member of the Firefly cast should take the advice from. Each cast member told about a question they are tired of being asked. And I have to admit, I didn’t intend to ask anyone a question, but the two I would’ve asked if I wanted to were on this list.
Sean Maher: Don’t ask him about Zac Efron. Apparently someone once asked him how it felt that the career of Zac (who played the young version of Simon Tam in one episode) had eclipsed Sean’s career. I don’t know what kind of a person would ask a question such as this, but I definitely know why Sean wouldn’t want any more of that.
Nathan Fillion: Don’t ask him if there will be more Firefly. If there was going to be more (he made it clear that as far as he knows there will not be more), do you really think he’d be the first to know? And if he was the first to know, do you really think he’d tell you?
Adam Baldwin: This is one of the ones I wanted to ask… Don’t ask him to sing “the song”…
Jewel Staite: This isn’t a question, but Jewel actually really doesn’t like Strawberries, but people give them to her all the time. So don’t give her strawberries.
Ron Glass: And lastly, the other one I would’ve asked about: Don’t ask what the Shepherd’s backstory is, Ron doesn’t know.
A few more questions were asked, such as who they would each cast to play their characters if Firefly was recast, to which Sean replied “Zac Efron”. The panel wrapped up after some more cool moments, with inspiration, more laughs, a shoutout to our troops from Adam, and Nathan talking about a copy of Firefly and Serenity being in the International Space Station. Then they complained about how short the panel was, to which we all agreed, and wrapped up, with warm goodbyes and much love sent from them to us all. I jumped up and hightailed it out of the hall in an attempt to get through the doors before the other 5,000+ people got there and trampled me.
It was an amazing experience, my only regret being that it felt as if it all went by in about 20 minutes instead of an hour. However, schedules are kept for a reason, and if we hadn’t gotten out of the Firefly panel then I wouldn’t have made it to my picture with William Shatner which was immediately afterwards, and I’m sure many other people would’ve missed other events they attended. I’m sure that everyone who went will agree that it was a definitely worthwhile experience and that they had a lovely time. If there’s ever another Firefly reunion that I’m able to make it to, I’ll be sure to attend. I can wholeheartedly recommend that you do so too. Everyone in the cast is hilarious, entertaining, relatable, and gorgeous.
I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.